The Cincinnati Bengals continue to have to play the waiting game, in terms of announcing their official 2019 coaching staff, as the Los Angeles Rams are in the Super Bowl. Zac Taylor, the team’s quarterback coach is with them, though he undoubtedly has to be chomping at the bit to get started with his new role.
Cincy Jungle contributor and Orange and Black Insider co-host, John Sheeran, is in Mobile this week to cover the Senior Bowl. In his time there, Sheeran was able to get the scoop that Cincinnati is plucking Brian Callahan away from the Raiders to become the Bengals’ new offensive coordinator.
While there is concern over the lack of coaching experience from Taylor and Callahan, particularly in high positions, there is a sense of child-like giddiness from Bengals fans. This excitement stems from the fact that the team appears to be heading towards a high-octane offense.
The two new young guns on the staff appear to be linking up with current quarterbacks coach, Alex Van Pelt, who appears to be one of the few holdovers from 2018. So, if you’re keeping count at home, that’s three guys on the staff whose pedigree is not only playing the position at high levels of the game but directly coaching quarterbacks at the NFL level for 16 combined years.
Aaron Rodgers lauded Van Pelt after he left Green Bay for Cincinnati, while Taylor’s reputation as a quarterback whisperer speaks for itself. However, Callahan has also been the position coach in standout statistical seasons for Matthew Stafford and Derek Carr.
With improvements we saw in Andy Dalton’s game under Van Pelt last year, particularly in the early parts of the season, we could see a 2015-like campaign from No. 14 this year.
If Taylor can bring a Rams-like innovation to the Bengals’ offense, many pieces could get involved, immediately putting this offense back on track in 2019. If you remember, when the Bengals were sitting at 5-3 last year before the slew of injuries and subsequent losing streak occurred, Dalton had 17 touchdowns against just eight interceptions and was throwing for an average of almost 263 yards per game.
The team will probably be looking to add a quarterback in this year’s draft, either in Dalton’s eventual replacement, or as a more viable backup option than Jeff Driskel, should there be one of those available. If it happens to be a player like Drew Lock or Daniel Jones, he’ll benefit from learning from Dalton and the triumvirate of quarterback-driven coaches on this staff.
If the plan is for one of those young guys to immediately back Dalton up, they can iron out some of the perceived knocks they have coming into the draft. Learning under Taylor, Callahan and Van Pelt should give them a high chance to eliminate poor habits.
If the plan is indeed to look for Dalton’s replacement in one of the next two draft classes, there should also be hope in the team hitting on the right guy. The expertise of Taylor, Van Pelt and Callahan will provide a think tank, of sorts, when it comes to grabbing a guy that fits into what they’re trying to implement in Cincinnati.
The positive impact might not be overly-noticeable in Week 1, but if the team does add more offensive line help and some more pass-catching depth, we could very well see a reinvigorated Dalton in an L.A.-like offense early in the season. Have a listen to what more John and I had to say about the Callahan hire on this week’s episode of the podcast.
Here are some of the other topics on tap for discussion this week:
- Missouri quarterback Drew Lock has shown some impressive traits in Mobile, including some off of the field.
- Daniel Jones of Duke has had lukewarm reviews early in the Senior Bowl week.
- Which under-the-radar guys are shining down south, and which guys could be decent fits for the Bengals?
- If Jack Del Rio ends up becoming the team’s defensive coordinator, is there cause for concern should he flip the unit to a 3-4-style of play?
- The Bengals need to be cautious about who they take at No. 11 overall, in terms of value.
- Might the new, offensive-minded coaches push the team into bringing in a number of speedy, skill position weapons to replenish the offense in lieu of some of the biggest perceived roster holes?
A huge tip of the cap to John, who joined us in the evening after working this week at the Senior Bowl. Our thanks also to all of our live listeners and to those who submitted questions. You can join us every week when we record each episode live here on Cincy Jungle, or on our YouTube channel.
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