Andy Dalton couldn't help but notice the connection when breaking down video of the Dolphins.
“Reminds me of OTAs and minicamp and training camp,” Dalton said with a laugh. “Obviously, there's a lot of similar stuff to what we do here with (Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle) being here for a while.”
This makes for the second consecutive week a former member of the Bengals staff matched up with inside information. Last week, Jaguars offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski, who spent 10 years in that position with the Bengals, attempted to beat his former team. Following a sound 27-10 defeat, score one for the Bengals.
Overcoming Coyle may be more difficult. Much changed from the time Bratkowski left compared to Coyle's connection last season. He witnessed firsthand how teams handled prolific WR A.J. Green and the mindset of current OC Jay Gruden.
Plus, he arrives armed with DE Cameron Wake and an intimidating front seven leading the NFL in rush defense.
“He knows what he likes from Zim, and he's put his own stamp on it,” Gruden said. “He's learned football at a lot of different places. He's a very smart guy, very detailed. He studies his butt off. If we've got a tendency, he'll exploit it.”
For Coyle, the advantages aren't as much scheme-related as his own familiarity with the Bengals players. He views the situation as no different than any other week when any number of coaches or players in the building could offer inside knowledge on an opponent.
“Certain guys might be more familiar with guys on a certain team,” Coyle said. “Obviously, I have a pretty good knowledge of these guys having been there as long as I was. Early in the week, you talk a little bit about that, but then you're into the normal game week preparation.”
Coyle made a name for himself in Cincinnati mentoring the likes of Leon Hall, Johnathan Joseph and Reggie Nelson. They created a pass defense consistently among the best in the NFL. Joseph and Hall were named co-MVPs of the 2009 playoff group.
This year in Miami, Coyle's group ranks 30th in the NFL against the pass. Statistical rankings should probably be taken with a grain of salt at this point in the year, but teams have taken advantage of ineffectiveness in the back end. Most notably, the Dophins have allowed nine passes of 25 yards or more this season, including three of 45 yards or more.
Enter a Bengals passing game living off the big play. Cincinnati has connected on five touchdowns longer than 40 yards already this season. The Bengals ranks sixth in the NFL in yards per play.
The key to carving up Coyle could involve finding holes over top of the zone. Of course, Gruden knows Coyle won't allow the gameplan to play out so smoothly.
“They're going to disguise it,” Gruden said. “He's not going to tip his hand. He's not going to play cover 2 the whole game, and he's not going to fear anyone on our team. He'll give us a good mix, and hopefully we'll counter it.”
Follow Paul Dehner Jr. for Bengals updates on Twitter at @CBSBengals.