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Duke Tobin is putting his reputation on the line with the Zac Taylor hire

According to Bengals owner Mike Brown, de facto general manager Duke Tobin was the main party responsible for the Zac Taylor hire. Whichever way Taylor’s tenure goes, Tobin’s reputation will be judged accordingly.

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After a couple of weeks of stalled out news, many tidbits came in waves this week. Cincinnati officially has their new head coach and they also announced a few hires at the assistant ranks.

So, needless to say, we had a lot to talk about this week on The Orange and Black Insider. One of the particular topics of interest was in Duke Tobin’s attachment to Taylor, and their destinies being intertwined.

Aside from eschewing the giving of the mantle of a “general manager” title, owner Mike Brown recently noted that Tobin was the guy who was instrumental in rounding up candidates, conducting interviews and ultimately found Taylor.


The move not only affirms the trust Tobin has elicited since Mike Brown gave him control of the draft room about a decade ago, but it reflects his growing role in the organization as well as the realization that his film work and league contacts would be invaluable in leading a search.

This says a couple of things: first, the stubborn owner still won’t call someone else aside from himself “General Manager”. Still, common perception is that he holds that position, even though it doesn’t say it on his business card.

But, one has to ask not only just how well of a job Tobin has done. If Dehner, Jr.’s statement holds water (which it should, given majority opinion on the issue), then three of those last five years have been failures, netting a 19-28-1 record from 2016-2018. We could also throw the abject failure of the 2015 draft class at his feet.

With the Taylor hire, though, Tobin is really putting his name on things. And, if it doesn’t work out, even the slow-moving Bengals could make another significant change at “G.M.”.

“Yeah—he’s been here for so long because they wanted to keep the (Marvin) Lewis group intact—he came along with Lewis,” OBI co-host John Sheeran said about Tobin’s job security resting on the Taylor hire. “You talk about job security in general with the Bengals and with those guys in the front office you never really question that. But, if this was entirely or a majority part of a Duke Tobin move, then he was the reason Zac Taylor was so well-liked in interviews.”

“Essentially Duke Tobin does have more power—we’ve kind of known this for the past couple of years,” Sheeran continued. “He had more influence in ‘The War Room’ and influence in bringing in and retaining guys in the offseason in general. But now, this is first opportunity to really reset the franchise and bring in a new voice and leadership...I think they (Brown and the Blackburns) have a great trust and cohesion with Tobin in similar values and approach.”

We both agreed that the Bengals have a triumvirate brain trust in Tobin, as well as Katie and Troy Blackburn, but Brown still has his say to be sure. But, Tobin has definitely hitched his wagon to Taylor and if it ends up breeding a championship(s), he’ll be the unheralded genius.

It will also show the effects of Marvin Lewis on the club these past few years and point to Tobin’s hands being potentially tied a bit. While all indications were that the two worked well together, player development when it came to coaching up some youngsters hasn’t bared a ton of fruit lately.

But, if the Taylor era goes the other way, Tobin may find himself looking for a new job elsewhere.

Also on this week’s episode:

  • Zac Taylor was officially announced as the team’s head coach this week.
  • We give our thoughts on the staff members either rumored to be brought in or those who have already been signed.
  • How hypocritical is Taylor being with the on-boarding of Jim Turner?
  • Jeremy Hill threw some serious shade at Bengals fans this week after being part of the Patriots’ parade festivities, while Dre Kirkpatrick shot back. Does Hill even deserve to talk smack on Cincinnati?
  • Is a proven defensive coordinator as important for the team’s future success as the Taylor hire?
  • Did the poor performance by Jared Goff tarnish the arrival of Taylor in The Queen City?

This and much more! Our thanks to the live listeners and to those who submitted questions, as well as to all of you for downloading the show!

If you’re unable to join us live for here at Cincy Jungle or YouTube every episode, all Orange and Black Insider content is available here on CJ, the Stitcher and Google Play Music apps, our YouTube channel, as well as through Megaphone and, as always, on iTunes! You can tweet us @BengalsOBI or get in touch with us via email at Thanks for listening and go subscribe to our channels!