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Reactions to Bengals reportedly choosing Zac Taylor as head coach

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Though nothing is official, the Cincinnati Bengals are rumored to have pinpointed their next head man in Rams assistant, Zac Taylor. Is the risky move going to pay off?

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Bengals reportedly choosing Rams assistant Zac Taylor as next head coach

Posted by Cincy Jungle on Thursday, January 10, 2019

As each day passes, the news about the Cincinnati Bengals and their head coaching search gets both narrowed down and more interesting. On Thursday, reports surfaced that the team is ready to name Rams quarterback coach Zac Taylor as their next head coach.

If this is true (it can’t be announced as official until Los Angeles is out of the playoffs), there are a myriad of emotions and reactions to a potential Taylor hire. If anything, it’s a complete 180 from Marvin Lewis as the head coach.

On the negative side, Taylor has never been a head coach at the college or NFL level. He also has very limited experience as an offensive coordinator, being an interim guy with the Dolphins and a year in the position at the University of Cincinnati.

And, as the league is trending towards teams attempting to find the next Sean Payton or Sean McVay, there is bound to be some big swings and misses by clubs. We can’t definitively know that Taylor will be a whiff, but a combination of a lack of experience and a roster that is in flux makes us proceed with caution.

Additionally, we know that Bengals coaches take the position with an in-job handicap, of sorts. The team does not employ a true general manager outside of the owner, nor do they invest heavily in their scouting department. The Cincinnati Enquirer recently caught up with Carson Palmer and he talked about the uphill climb that is working under Mike Brown.

On this week’s Orange and Black Insider Bengals podcast episode, I labeled Taylor in our “one-word game” as “potential”. The payoff in hiring Taylor could be huge, but if he’s in over his head, Cincinnati could tailspin into another pre-Lewis era of football.

On the flip side, fans wanted a forward-thinking, innovative, offensive-minded youngster to take the place of Lewis. Of their external options, Taylor checks more boxes than almost every other candidate they looked at on those fronts.

It also appears as if he will get a large say on who will be on his staff. While you never want to see good people lose their jobs, it is the right move from a business standpoint and when bringing in a new head coach.

It would appear that Taylor, if he is indeed “the guy”, will need a new running backs coach, a tight ends coach and linebackers coach. The rumor mill is spinning that Taylor could bring in his brother, Press Taylor in some capacity, who is currently the quarterbacks coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. He could also reel in Shane Waldron, who is the Rams passing game coordinator and was also considered for this job.

Might he need to rely on more proven guys as the assistant level in his early years? There are some big names floating out there that could help at the coordinator and position coach levels.

The big question though, remains at the quarterback position. What is the future of Andy Dalton and Jeff Driskel? Will Taylor rely on the returns of A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, maybe even Tyler Eifert and then add pieces for those incumbents? It’s possible that Taylor has a plan for Dalton akin to Jared Goff, but we’ll see.

Usually, when a new coach is hired and a veteran quarterback is on the roster, it means a change is coming—whether that’s immediately, or after a “bridge year”. There is no doubt that Dalton and Lewis were connected at the hip, but Taylor may want to bring in “his guy”.

Regardless, the conservative nature of the team and Lewis seems to have been thrown out of the window, should this hire actually materialize. Fans wanted massive change and could be getting that in the young and enigmatic Taylor, but he brings a hyped-up reputation with him to The Queen City.

We’ll definitely bring you more opinions, analysis and breaking news here at Cincy Jungle and on The Orange and Black Insider.

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