Frazier won't return
1-5-04, 12:05 p.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON
Head coach Marvin Lewis offered the first surprise of the Bengals’ offseason Wednesday when he announced that defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier won’t be signed to a new contract.
Two days after saying he didn’t anticipate changes at his three coordinator positions, Lewis said the defensive side is open with speculation centering solely on current Bengals assistant Chuck Bresnahan. Bresnahan came to Cincinnati this spring after a four-year run as the Raiders defensive coordinator that included a Super Bowl appearance.
“We are excited about the potential for our defense in 2005, as we had many young players show the ability to become impact performers,” Lewis said. “We are working to put in place the best possible staff for their continued development.
“I credit Leslie for his part in leading the defense to where it is today. But I see this as the time to move to another stage in our team’s evolution. Leslie has been a credit to our organization in every way.”
In Frazier's two seasons, the Bengals defense did make some big-time improvements, moving from No. 28 in the NFL last season to No. 19 this year and forcing their most turnovers in eight years with 36 that included a club-tying five defensive touchdowns. But they also dropped a spot against the rush, from 25 to 26.