American Football

Getting to know the finalists: Lou Anarumo has an interesting history, but has shown he can get the job done on defense


Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns
Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals seem to be entering the final stretch of their latest head coaching search.

For reference, I have been running Revenge of the Birds since 2016 and this is their third head coach search in that time frame. A seven years and three head coaches seems to be… Not ideal.

Anyway, let’s get to know these head coaches a little better so we can complain properly for when they get hired.

Lou Anarumo, Defensive Coordinator – Cincinnati Bengals

Anarumo’s history is the most interesting.

It is rare to see a 56-year old coach with the experience he has with so little movement in his career.

Anarumo started in 1989 with Wagner College as the running backs coach as a 23-year old.

From there he worked as a grad assistant with Syracuse for two season, then was with the Merchant Marine Academy as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach from 1992-1994. Then he got his first big break getting hired at Harvard as the Assistant Head Coach, Defensive Backs Coach and Special Teams Coordinator from 1995-2000.

This is an important note from a long, long time ago, but we are talking about a 29-year old who was an assistant head coach and special teams coordinator. He was tasked with a lot of responsibility at a young age for five seasons.

He helped Harvard go from 2-8 his first season to 9-1 by 1997 with Head Coach Tim Murphy, who is still there.

He then moved to Marshall, his first true coaching gig as a division one college football coach where he was the defensive backs coach.

In 2000, Marshall was 8-5, he was part of a staff that helped turn the Thundering Herd into a small school power.

From 2001-2003 his three season they were 30-8, and went to and won two Bowl games.

He then made his biggest move, getting hired by Purdue in 2004 to be the defensive backs coach and held the position through 2011.

This was the least successful in terms of record, but I am more interested in who did Anarumo coach?

Bernard Pollard – 2nd round pick

That is it, that is the names of defensive backs drafted during the Anarumo era at Purdue. Which is interesting.

In 2012 Anarumo was hired by the Miami Dolphins as their defensive backs coach, his first NFL gig about 23 years after he started his coaching journey.

So, how did this go?

2012 – 27th in passing yards allowed and sixth in passing TD’s allowed
2013 – 16th in passing yards allowed and third in passing TD’s allowed (Brent Grimes Pro Bow)
2014 – 6th in passing yards allowed and 20th in passing TD’s allowed (Brent Grimes Pro Bowl)
2015 – 21st in passing yards allowed and 25th in passing TD’s allowed (Brent Grimes and Reshad Jones Pro Bowl)
2016 – 15th in passing yards allowed and 25th in passing TD’s allowed
2017 – 16th in passing yards allowed and 23rd in passing TD’s allowed (Reshad Jones Pro Bowl)

Anarumo was then hired by the New York Giants in 2018. The Giants finished 23rd in passing yards allowed but ranked 13th in passing TD’s allowed.

He was then hired by the Cincinnati Bengals to be their defensive coordinator in 2019.

The defense was bad, so were the Bengals finishing 2-14 with the first pick in the draft.

Anarumo’s defenses have to be looked at as how they have developed.

2019 Defensive Rankings:

  • 25th in PPG
  • 28th in turnovers forced
  • 21st in passing yards allowed
  • 17th in passing touchdowns allowed
  • 22nd in interceptions
  • 32 in rushing yards allowed
  • 27th in rushing TD’s allowed
  • 28th in turnovers forced
  • 26th in sacks

2022 Defensive Rankings:

  • 5th in PPG
  • 16th in passing yards allowed
  • 3rd in passing TD’s allowed
  • 18th in interceptions
  • 5th in rushing yards allowed
  • 13th in rushing TD’s allowed
  • 11th in turnovers forced
  • 29th in sacks

Huge improvements in almost every single category outside of sacks. Which isn’t surprising with how little the Bengals have invested in their defensive front.

With more information into Anarumo’s background, what do you think?

You must be logged in to post a comment Login