“Selfishly, I’m ecstatic he’s back, but he would still be a great head coach,” linebacker Logan Wilson wrote to Geoff Hobson of the team’s official website. “Glad to be in your system for another year.”
“We’re happy to have him back,” defensive end Sam Hubbard added via text message.
Anarumo has done one of the most underrated coaching jobs in the NFL in recent seasons, turning the Bengals into a D shutdown. His ability to make second-half adjustments that baffle quarterbacks is unparalleled right now.
“He’s a player coach and guys buy into his system because of that,” said Wilson, “which in turn allows players to play freely and effectively.”
During the Bengals’ last nine games, including playoffs, Anarumo’s defense never allowed more than 24 points and kept the opposition below 20 six times. Cincy also slowed down Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs better than any other Kansas City opponent.
There will be turnover on the Bengals defense, with a number of players moving into free agency, particularly in the secondary. Still, Anarumo’s return is huge for Cincy’s chances at a third consecutive division title.