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Bengals promote linebackers coach Guenther to defensive coordinator

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CINCINNATI (AP)

The Bengals promoted linebackers coach Paul Guenther to defensive coordinator on Thursday, keeping continuity for a unit that finished No. 3 in the NFL last season.

Guenther was promoted a day after the Minnesota Vikings hired Mike Zimmer as their head coach.

It's the second time in two weeks that Cincinnati has replaced a coordinator with an in-house candidate. They elevated running backs coach Hue Jackson to offensive coordinator after Jay Gruden was hired by the Redskins as head coach.

''It's a very unique situation,'' coach Marvin Lewis said.

The Bengals are the first team since the 2006 San Diego Chargers to lose both coordinators to head coaching jobs elsewhere, according to STATS LLC.

Guenther has spent nine seasons on Cincinnati's coach staff, the last two with the linebackers. By promoting from within for both coordinator jobs, the Bengals can maintain continuity in their offensive and defensive systems.

''We're not having to start anything from scratch that way,'' Lewis said.

The Bengals have been to the playoffs each of the last three seasons, the first time they've done that in franchise history. Everybody knows the next challenge: Win a playoff game. Cincinnati has lost in the first round each of the three years, matching an NFL record for futility.

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The Bengals haven't won a playoff game since the 1990 season, a 23-year streak of futility that it tied for sixth-longest in league history. Lewis is 0-5 in the playoffs during his 11 seasons in Cincinnati and has a year left on his contract. Owner Mike Brown is resistant to change, so Lewis was safe even though the Bengals lost to San Diego 27-10 in their opening-round game at Paul Brown Stadium to end another disappointing season.

With two new coordinators, they'll be doing things the same way with different coaches.

''We are changing,'' Lewis said. ''We're going to have a newness about us and that's good because staleness doesn't work.''

Tagged: Bengals, Chiefs, Mike Brown

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