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Bengals mailbag: Jeremy Hill’s shade and Zac Taylor’s post-Super Bowl legacy

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We were asked to give our thoughts on the former Bengals running back dogging his old team, as well as if Cincinnati’s new head coach has his reputation tarnished from the Rams’ poor performance in the Super Bowl.

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It’s officially on to the offseason. Zac Taylor is assembling the rest of his Bengals staff, as the team is focusing on pre-draft workouts and upcoming free agency.

As these events take place and with the NFL Combine and the NFL’s version of March Madness around the corner, we give our take on some popular questions within Bengals Nation.

We don’t want to spend a bunch of time on this first one because frankly, the person shouldn’t be getting much more attention on the subject. But, shortly after the Super Bowl victory by the New England Patriots, the city of Boston once again had a Tuesday parade to celebrate their most recent Lombardi Trophy.

And, one former Bengals player took the opportunity to imbibe some adult beverages and let the insults fly.

Jeremy Hill, who had an enormous fall from grace in Cincinnati after a breakout rookie year in 2014, went on his Instagram account and decided to rip the Bengals and their fans. Apparently, it was three years worth of frustration from everyone reminding him of his crucial fumble against the Steelers in the 2015 Wild Card game.

Hill also followed that picture up with a brief video clip of his chiding of Bengals fans who commented to his IG story. Apparently, he felt the need to get back to the haters.

In Hill’s defense, the Bengals fan base can be ruthless to some targeted players. Aside from likely getting consistent comments on his social media about his massive screw-up in one the team’s biggest games, we have seen examples of this from Cincy faithful before—even if the overall sample size of Who Dey Nation is limited.

If you remember back in Carson Palmer’s defection, news and reasons for his departure were limited. His being fed up with ownership was a constant theme, but then rumors emerged of a group of fans defacing his Cincinnati home after the 2009 playoff loss.

Again, these type of actions typify only the few in the Bengals’ fan base, but as it unfortunately goes in many negative situations, there is guilt by association. Faceless trolls are prevalent on social media these days, so it would seem that Hill had simply had enough of it all.

But, still, I mean, really, Jeremy? This is the team that brought you into the league and drafted you higher than they should have.

It’s the squad who gave you the starting gig in 2015 and 2016, even though productive options were collecting dust behind you, as you established yourself as a glorified goal line back in those seasons. And, while we feel sorry for you for suffering an unfortunate injury this season, but can you really dog your old team after putting up 25 yards the entire season?

Oh, and Dre Kirkpatrick? You’ve re-endeared yourself to the Bengals fan base, even if briefly.

The takeaway and lesson here (if there is one?) — Hill is a young guy who made an immature decision to rub Bengals fans’ noses in the dirt—likely with the assistance of some “liquid courage”.

But, also, don’t use social media to be a “Twitter tough guy” to athletes, public figures or everyday Joes to spew hate. There is enough of that going around by faceless and nameless thugs on multiple platforms and we don’t need anymore of them.

I’ll climb down from my soapbox now. Next.

*****

A prevalent question among the Bengals’ faithful and one we addressed on the podcast was in Taylor’s reputation potentially taking a hit because of the Rams’ putrid offensive performance in Super Bowl LIII. The player Taylor was responsible for directly coaching in the contest, Jared Goff, had a miserable evening.

Is it valid?

Not really. It was this young Rams’ staff/roster first time collectively in the Super Bowl and the nerves were obvious. Oh, and they also went up against the greatest coach/quarterback duo in NFL history.

The New England Chameleons Patriots are the kings of the league and love taking away what their opponent does best. For Los Angeles, that was getting Todd Gurley going in the running game to set up play-action and grab chunk plays.

Gurley only had 35 rushing yards on 10 carries—pointing to the Rams’ desperation late in the game in trying to counter what the Patriots were doing. It also shows how Sean McVay got into his own head and that Gurley may not have been fully healthy from his late-season injury.

Goff was indecisive and skittish most of the game. This was particularly obvious on the missed touchdown to Brandin Cooks that he threw excessively late. Ironically, this was one of the few times that the play-action worked in the game.

Goff’s play and the lack of being able to execute their usual, explosive offense is an indictment on the entire offensive staff and McVay. While Taylor falls into that category, the onus mostly falls on the head coach and quarterback themselves.

There is one troubling thing to note though: this league is under the ownership of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick until they decide to retire. There will be the outlier clubs that occasionally win the big game instead of the boys from Boston, but it doesn’t bode well for the young, unproven, hot-shot guys like Taylor.

The only times the Patriots have not won the Super Bowl has largely been at the hands of Hall of Fame quarterbacks and/or coaches themselves. And when they’re defeated in the Big Game, it’s because the opposing quarterback balls out.

We aren’t saying Taylor can’t become an upper-echelon coach who can raise Andy Dalton’s play to resemble something like the Rams and Goff this season, but...look at the end result.

Patience is a virtue—especially when you’re a Bengals fan.

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