As Zac Taylor and the Los Angeles Rams are now preparing for the Super Bowl, Bengals fans are will have to continue waiting for his hiring to be made official.
For one, it would be nice to have Taylor in Cincinnati focusing on the next season already. But it would also be nice for the Bengals to start replenishing their depleted coaching staff.
While it is nice that Taylor is getting vital playoff experience, some Bengals fans are worried that he might be missing the opportunity to hire his staff.
The concern is understandable. Prime coordinators who have been linked to the Bengals like Todd Monken, Darrell Bevell, and Gary Kubiak are going to other teams. Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, the Bengals have let go of their offensive and defensive coordinators, running backs coach, offensive line coach, and linebackers coach.
From one perspective, it may seem that Taylor is going to be stuck with the NFL’s leftovers by the time he finally gets to hire his own staff.
However, this fear is not as well founded as it seems.
In reality, while it seems like the Bengals are just sitting on their hands waiting for Taylor, they actually have a list of assistants already lined up. Taylor went into his interview with a list of names, but won’t be able to hire anyone until he is officially the head coach.
The Bengals are not losing out on the assistants that they want. If an assistant was promised the job in Cincinnati and if they are a good fit, then they wouldn’t want to go elsewhere. They wouldn’t take a job knowing that they walked away from a better job somewhere else.
The assistants being hired by other organizations are probably not even being considered by Taylor and the Bengals. But even if that was the case, that would still not be a reason to worry.
Having a head coach is significantly more important than having good coordinators, because the head coach will be around much longer than any of his assistants.
For instance, when Marvin Lewis was first hired in 2003, his offensive coordinator was Bob Bratkowski, and his defensive coordinator was Leslie Frazier. While Bratkowski lasted until the 2010 season, Frazier was gone after two years.
In Marvin Lewis’ best season, the 12-4 campaign in 2015, he was on his third offensive coordinator and his fourth defensive coordinator. In Lewis’ 16 years as the Bengals head coach, Lewis had five offensive coordinators and six defensive coordinators. That means that Lewis got three to four years out of each coordinator before they were either fired or hired by another team.
The point is, the Bengals (unofficially) hired Zac Taylor, not Zac Taylor’s staff. Yes, it is important that he finds good coordinators for his first season as a head coach. But it’s more important to have a dependable head coach.
The Bengals don’t just want to find Marvin Lewis 2.0 this offseason. They want to hit a home run that gets them into a Super Bowl someday. That means they have to find the next big name in coaching.
They believe they have found that in Taylor, so it is more important to get him the coordinators he wants, because he will be with the team a long time if everything goes according to plan.
Taylor could be the head coach for the next 16 years for all we know. The offensive and defensive coordinators will not be around for nearly that long. If he is anything like Lewis, he won’t be able to keep any of his coordinators around for more than five or six years at the most.
One mark of his success would be if his coordinators keep getting hired out from under him. That would actually be a good thing, because it would mean that he is developing them and getting the best out of them.
It makes no sense to worry about a position that will be vacated in the next few years anyways. The main thing is that the Bengals have their head coach who will, in theory, be there until he retires. It’s better to get Taylor and let him experience success in the playoffs at the risk of missing out on a few of 2019’s top assistants.
If Taylor is the great head coach that the Bengals think he is, he will find his guys and develop them. The Bengals have to trust that Taylor will assemble the best possible staff.