For the past three weeks, most of the news surrounding the Cincinnati Bengals’ coaching staff has been more about who’s getting fired than who’s getting hired.
We know Zac Taylor is the Bengals’ preferred choice to become their next head coach, but there hasn’t been any word regarding who Taylor’s coordinators will be. There is now.
Per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Taylor plans to hire a seasoned defensive coordinator to run his defense, and a fellow young and offensive mind is the favorite to become his offensive coordinator:
Sources said that Raiders quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan, son of legendary offensive line coach Bill Callahan, would be a top choice to serve as an offensive coordinator, while the defensive staff is likely to be considerably more experienced. Taylor would like be able to mirror the model Rams coach Sean (McVay) put in place, landing an accomplished defensive coordinator who himself had prior experience as a head coach. In this case, former Jaguars and Raiders coach Jack Del Rio and former Panthers, Broncos and Bears coach John Fox are very high on his list, with hopes of landing one of them to run his defense.
This makes sense for a number of reasons. McVay has not only been successful in his first two years because his mind for offense is so extraordinary, but he’s also had the luxury of leaning on an elite and battle-tested defensive coordinator in Wade Phillips.
Del Rio and Fox haven’t garnered any known interest around the league for their services this month, as both have spent the last year away from the sidelines of any team. The two have a combined 39 years of coaching experience as a coordinator or head coach in the NFL, and fit the mold of an ideal defensive coordinator hire to a young offensive-minded head coach.
As for Callahan, there’s an obvious family connection that allows us to connect the dots a bit. He’s the son of current Redskins’ offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who is heavily rumored to be joining Taylor’s staff as well under the same position. The younger Callahan has just nine years of NFL coaching experience, with most of that being a quarterbacks coach, like Taylor.
We won’t know who will be calling the plays on offense until both the head coach and offensive coordinator are hired, but we can safely assume that the defensive coordinator will be given free rein over the defense like Phillips has in Los Angeles. Taylor knows he’s been a part of a successful formula for the Rams, and it appears he’s attempting to take advantage of it when it becomes his turn to run the show.