'We love playing for him': Bengals defense praises 'mad scientist' Lou Anarumo

'We love playing for him and he loves coaching us'
Dolphins Bengals Football
Posted at 11:35 PM, Jan 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-28 00:06:46-05

CINCINNATI — Lou Anarumo isn't just the Cincinnati Bengals' defensive coordinator. If you ask Eli Apple, he's a "mad scientist."

The Bengals cornerback praised his coach after the team's impressive playoff win over Buffalo — one in which Cincinnati's defense stifled an explosive Bills offense, allowing only 10 points (the least amount of points scored by Buffalo this season).

That, of course, isn't the first time Anarumo's defense has gotten national attention. His adjustments at halftime during last season's AFC championship seemed to shock superstar Patrick Mahomes, who struggled when the Bengals dropped eight in coverage.

While ESPN's Dianna Russini reported Tuesday that Anarumo hasn't received any requests for a head coaching interview, his players seem happy to keep him for as long as they can.

"We love playing for him and he loves coaching us," cornerback Mike Hilton said.

Hilton specifically mentioned how impressive Anarumo's second-half adjustments are, and said the 56-year-old is always open to hearing his players' ideas.

"Once he figures out what offenses like to do and what they've had success on in the first half, we come in at halftime, Lou makes those adjustments and he trusts us to go out there and execute," Hilton said. "If we come on the sideline and we don't like something, he's quick to adjust to it, but he also trusts what he knows and the scheme he brought over."

But coaching isn't just about schemes. It's about getting everything you can out of the guys on your squad. Safety Jessie Bates III said Anarumo's focus on making the defense a family has helped their success.

"We call our defensive meeting room our living room, so whenever any questions, any gray area type of things come up, we make sure we have those conversations man-to-man," Bates said. "Lou has done a really good job of creating that family-oriented type of vibe around us, so it makes it easy to ... all be on the same page, and it's worked out pretty well for us."

Linebacker Logan Wilson said working with Anarumo for the past three years "has been great" because they've been able to talk about little changes or adjustments within the scheme that are only possible when everyone knows it well.

"He's awesome," Wilson said. "I don't think there's a better guy to play for."

Beating a team with Mahomes and All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce four times in a two-year span won't be easy, but if there's any defense that feels like it can, it's Anarumo's Bengals.