The rumors of Zac Taylor becoming the Bengals’ next head coach have, at the very least, ignited a surge amongst Bengals fans everywhere.
After 16 years of Marvin Lewis on the sidelines without a single playoff win to show for it, any change feels like good change. But hiring Taylor is an undeniable risk for a franchise that’s been stuck in the mud for far too long, so skepticism has predictably had a presence since the rumors surfaced.
Let’s look at some of the best reasons why Zac Taylor should be the next head coach for the Bengals.
1. He is an offensive-minded coach who’s learned under AND helped Sean McVay
The obvious point of emphasis may not carry the same weight in reality based off initial hearing, but Taylor’s experiences in the first two years of McVay’s tenure in Los Angeles has to be mentioned. Taylor joined the new-look Rams already with an offensive background, and the hope is that working under McVay has given him more offensive prowess on top of his acumen.
The Bengals offense needs someone who can correctly use all the talent on the team and be creative while doing it. Even though he hasn’t actually (extensively) called plays before, a pairing with the right offensive coordinator could make the Bengals’ offense one of the best in the league.
2. He is a young coach who can transform the team
If the association between Lewis and the Bengals is so ingrained in our minds, imagine how the rest of the league feels.
For all the good that Lewis has done for Cincinnati, the lasting perception of his tenure was the lack of major success, largely due to his refusal of change in more areas than one. Taylor, at the very least, can institute a culture shock throughout the halls of Paul Brown Stadium, which is exactly what needs to transpire if the Bengals were to progress from where they are now.
Lewis got them to this point, and the 35-year old Taylor has the chance to take them further with brand new mindsets and organizational philosophies.
3. He has spent time in Cincinnati
In between his time with the Dolphins and the Rams, Taylor spent a season as the offensive coordinator for the University of Cincinnati. His one year with the Bearcats didn’t end particularly well (there’s only so much you can do at a mid-tier program with Tommy Tuberville as your head coach), but since then, he has expressed his appreciation for the Queen City and willingness to come back. That’s simply anything but a negative.
Finding someone who truly desires coming to work in Cincinnati, and is qualified to do so, is an ideal situation for Bengals’ owner Mike Brown. The added natural motivation to perform well in a home you appreciate doesn’t assure success, but it can’t hurt either.
4. He has quality experience with quarterbacks
Taylor was a quarterback at the University of Nebraska in the mid-2000s and realized very shortly that his future was in coaching football, not playing it at the professional level. After working up to Dolphins as their quarterbacks coach, he helped Ryan Tannehill through his best years that ultimately earned him a second contract. After his season in Cincinnati, he then helped McVay develop Jared Goff to where he is now: an above average quarterback.
The immediate hope for Taylor is that he can help Andy Dalton get back to his aggressive ways of 2015 and unlock the talent of everybody on the team with creative play calling and putting players in the best position to succeed. Beyond Dalton, who really knows? For now, he is their best option, and Taylor is qualified to get the most out of him.