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Bengals hire Zac Taylor as next head coach

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The Bengals have found their next head coach.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s finally done.

The Cincinnati Bengals have reached an agreement with Zac Taylor to become the team’s next head coach, the team announced Monday. The team will officially introduce him in a Tuesday press conference.

Taylor, who was the Los Angeles Rams’ quarterbacks coach this past season, has been poised to be Cincinnati’s next coach for the past month. The Bengals zeroed in on him early in the search for the franchise’s next head coach.

However, the Bengals could not officially hire him until the Rams’ season ended. Taylor and the Rams wound up making it to Super Bowl 53, where they ultimately fell to the New England Patriots.

Once that game ended, it became only a matter of time until Taylor was named Cincinnati’s new coach, replacing Marvin Lewis, who was let go this offseason after a 16-year stint in the Queen City.

Taylor was actually the offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bearcats back in 2016, so he’s very familiar with the Queen City. He spent the last two seasons with the Rams, serving as the team’s wide receivers coach in 2017, then as the quarterbacks coach this past season.

Taylor is viewed as an assistant on the rise who also drew head-coaching interest from the Arizona Cardinals. Rams head coach Sean McVay, viewed as one of the top offensive minds in football, talked about Taylor’s impact during a December interview with The MMQB, specifically noting his impact on third-down offense:

”He’s instrumental in our third-down game-planning. And he doesn’t just agree with everything, he challenges you but in a way that’s very welcoming. Sometimes in the NFL disagreements can be uncomfortable in a staff meeting, but not here. There’s a refreshing security that Zac has in himself. He has great emotional intelligence and awareness for how to communicate in a way that makes peoples’ guards go down. That’s a great trait for a coach to have.”

The Rams’ offense was one of the NFL’s best units in 2018, and they finished No. 1 in third-down offense in the regular season. They were tied with the New Orleans Saints with the second-best third-down offense in the 2019 NFL playoffs.

At just 35 years old, Taylor is a former quarterback who played college ball at Nebraska, where he was the 2006 Big 12 Player of the Year.

After his college career, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought Taylor as an undrafted free agent, but he was waived shortly after, and he ended up playing in the CFL for a season before officially beginning his coaching career.

In 10 years, he’s worked his way up through the college and professional ranks, and he’s now reached his goal of becoming a head coach at the highest level of American football.