By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) The Bears’ first opponent of the 2013 season is unique in that the Cincinnati Bengals were featured on this year’s edition of HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’.
But did the Bears learn any secrets from the behind-the-scenes TV show?
The show provides some inside looks at individual players and coaches, but it doesn’t show anything schematically that the rest of the NFL doesn’t already know.
That said, I personally came away very impressed with the Bengals’ coaching staff after watching the five-episode series. It’s a group full of experience and potential NFL head coaching candidates — not unlike the Bears’ staff.
In terms of experience as a head coach, Marvin Lewis clearly has an edge over Marc Trestman, who is in his first year as an NFL head coach. But among the assistants, both of these teams may have some the best coaching staffs in the league.
Defensive coordinators Mel Tucker and Mike Zimmer both have great chances of landing head coaching gigs after this season. The same can be said for Bears special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis and Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. Cincinnati also has former Raiders head coach Hue Jackson coaching its running backs, while Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer got some interim head coaching experience last year with the Saints. Both teams also have well respected quarterbacks coaches in Ken Zampese (Bengals) and Matt Cavanaugh (Bears).
The separation between the two coaching staff probably comes deeper down the list with some of the position coaches. That’s where Cincinnati has more experience.
For the Bears, Andy Bischoff (tight ends), Mike Groh (tight ends), Pat Meyer (assistant offensive line) and Tim Tibesar (linebackers) will all be coaching their first NFL game this weekend. Comparatively, here’s a quick look at some of the Bengals’ position coaches:
Offensive line coach Paul Alexander – 20th season with the Bengals
Defensive backs coach Mark Carrier – Eighth season as an NFL coach
Linebackers coach Paul Guenther – Ninth season with the Bengals
Defensive line coach Jay Hayes – 11th season with the Bengals
Tight ends coach Jonathan Hayes – 11th season with the Bengals
It should also be mentioned that special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons is also in his 11th season with the Bengals.
Obviously it helps when your head coach, Marvin Lewis, holds a job for a 11 years, but it’s rare to see assistants stay in the same place for so long. Of course, one can wonder why they haven’t been promoted to bigger and better jobs, but their experience in the same job for so long still speaks to the continuity in Cincinnati. And obviously the Bengals are happy with their work if they’ve been there that long.
That’s not to say some of the Bears’ newer assistants won’t be good coaches. There was a change at head coach, so there’s obviously going to be turnover within the coaching staff.
It’s just interesting to see a team like the Bengals — who haven’t won much, by the way — keep a staff in tact for as long as they have. And I came away impressed with most of them while watching Hard Knocks.
– Who will start at middle linebacker for the Bears Sunday? It looks like both Jon Bostic and D.J. Williams will play.
– Bears GM Phil Emery said eventually rookie Kyle Long will get practice reps at tackle, but he’ll remain at guard for the “foreseeable future”.
– And breathe easy, Tim Tebow won’t be a Bear anytime soon.
The Bears will practice at 11:10 a.m. at Halas Hall. Offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer and quarterback Jay Cutler are scheduled to speak with the media.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.