The Arizona Cardinals naming Jonathan Gannon their head coach closes the 2023 cycle, which means Cincinnati defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, one of the finalists in Arizona, will head back to the Bengals.
While it's a bummer for Anarumo, Bengals defenders are happy to have Big Lou back for another season.
"Selfishly, I'm ecstatic he'll be back, but he'd still make a great head coach," linebacker Logan Wilson texted Geoff Hobson of the team's official website. "Glad to be in his system for another year."
"We're glad to have him back," added defensive end Sam Hubbard via text.
Anarumo has done one of the most underrated coaching jobs in the NFL in recent seasons, morphing the Bengals into a shutdown D. His ability to make second-half adjustments that befuddle quarterbacks is second to none right now.
"He's a players' coach, and guys buy into his system because of that," Wilson said, "which in turn allows guys to play free and effectively."
During the Bengals' last nine games, including playoffs, Anarumo's defense never allowed more than 24 points and held opponents under 20 six times. Cincy has also slowed Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs better than any other Kansas City opponent.
There will be turnover on the Bengals' defense, with a slew of players heading for free agency, particularly in the secondary. Still, the return of Anarumo is huge for Cincy's chances at a third straight division title.