The Bengals are in Indy to take in the 2019 NFL Combine.
There, new head coach Zac Taylor met with the media to talk about taking over the franchise, his players and more.
Here's a recap of everything Taylor had to say, courtesy of the Pro Football Writers of America and Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
On getting a chance to coach a mix of young players and veterans
Yeah, I think there’s a good mix of veteran players on this team and young first and second year guys on both sides of the ball really. As you evaluate the roster as we have been doing as a coaching staff there are a lot of players that excite you. We’ll continue to add to that group through free agency and the draft but that’s kind of what the process has been right now evaluating all those guys.
On Jessie Bates’ development
Any time you got a young safety that plays at the level he plays that’s exciting. Look for his leadership role to increase as we go forward. There are a lot of
talented guys in that secondary so it will be an exciting group to work with.
On taking things away from explosive offenses like Andy Reid, Matt Nagy and Sean McVay have
It certainly is fun to watch. I think there is a really high creativity level right now in the NFL. That comes from a college influence. I know a lot of teams study those colleges. I know a lot of stuff filters its way up. There’s just a lot of good coaches and a lot of good defensive coaches too out there as you saw throughout the playoffs. I know the articles did get written about the explosive offenses but I really think it balances itself out over the course of time.
The biggest takeaway of working with Sean McVay for two years
Sean is one of the smartest people I have been around . But the way he treats his staff, the way he treats the players. Everyone in the building. He’s got a personal interaction with every single person he encounters. I think everybody knows how good of a football coach he I, but he’s an even better person. That’s my impression being around him the two years I was around him was how he treats everybody and you feel valued. Everybody’s role is very important.
On any thoughts of adding his brother (Press Taylor) to the staff
Adding Press to the staff – I know I’m his brother, but I talk with him more than I talk with any other coach around the league almost on a daily basis. We are very like minded. He’s a very creative person and feels valued there in Philly. He’s in a good place, so that wasn’t a discussion that we had. He is one of the smartest coaches I know. It’s kind of nice having someone in the NFC, not the in AFC that we have to face and be able to bounce things off of as the season geos. He’s got a real bright future in the NFL, so he’s good with where he’s at right now. He treats people the right way, he’s a smart guy. I can’t speak because I’ve never worked with him but he seems to get the most out of the players he’s worked with. He’s got a bright future.
On getting to know the AFC North
That is important. Familiarizing myself with the division the No. 1 goal is to win the division> You have to know that division inside and out. In the offseason we’ll spend some time making sure we know how to attack them when the season approaches. Once the schedule comes out you can spend a little more time because you want to fit in the schedule, but it’s something that will be important to do in the offseason and summer time.
On evaluating the roster
You got to go back, you want to look at the preseason, you want to look at everything these guys put on tape that you can really form an opinion about them and make the best decisions going forward. You look at every rep they’ve taken. There will be some people within the building that have some experience here so you can look at them and Duke and everyone’s input has been valued, but at the same time you want to make your own opinions on people, that process is still ongoing. We want to make sure that we know our roster before we go forward with anything else.
On the offensive and defensive line
You are always looking at ways to make those lines the best. That’s an important part of football is winning up front on offense and getting after the passer on defense and stopping the run. That is something you will look at every single offseason, ways to make it the best it can be, but we got good, quality guys on both sides of the ball that I’m excited to work with.
On how John Ross fits in the Bengals’ new system
I’m excited to work with John. I remember watching him. I was a receiver coach in LA when he was coming out, I remember studying his tape over there in Washington. He’s a very exciting player. He’s a guy you can move around and do a lot of different things with, so he’s got a very bright future with us and very excited to work with him. I know football is important to him, he’s got a lot of traits we are excited to work with. May can’t get around soon enough to be able to get our hands on some of our receivers and see what they can do in this system.
On how the new system can be different for Ross
I prefer not to speak about other offenses he’s been in, but I do know we’ll get the most out of our players. That’s the No. 1 thing on offense and defense. Find what our players do best and put them in position to be able to do that more times than not. Everything I have heard about John is football is important to him, he’s ready and willing, so I can’t wait to get a chance to work with him firsthand.
On if he’s had time to process anything since the Super Bowl
Probably not. You take it one day at a time. There is so much work to get done you just focus on that task at hand. I’m sure there will be a weekend where you take your time and relax, probably when my family moves out. They haven’t moved out yet. We will have a weekend there where we take some time, look back and reflect on everything that has been happening, but right now there’s so much to do that we want to get everything done as quickly as possible. It’s been an exciting process. Nothing has caught me off guard, that it was going to be a lot of hard work, a lot of things asked of you, but it’s been a fun process. Nothing has caught me off guard, that it was gonna be a lot of hard work and a lot of things asked of you. It’s been a fun process because of the people we have in place. Everyone has hit the ground running. Lot of people you can lean on for help. You don’t have to do everything yourself. That’s why you hire good people and good people have already been in that building. It’s been an exciting process to work with everyone involved over these last few weeks.
On evaluating QB
You are just looking at a level of talent. I don’t think it’s as critical of what people have previously thought of what offense they played in college. The important thing is are they going to elevate the level of play of the people around them. Are they ready to lead and be accurate, can they get the ball out on time, are they tough physically and mentally. So if a guy has all those traits and you are willing to invest the time in them to figure out what they do best how they process information and how get the most out of them then all these guys have a shot to succeed. I think it’s less important whether this guy played under center or played in the air raid, just is the guy a fit for what you want out of your starting quarterback. If you can find that guy then find a way to get the most out of them.
On having two good running backs in the playoffs
We got a good group of running backs. And it’s important that those guys are fresh throughout the course of the season so you are always looking for ways for those guys to be strong throughout December and January, whether that is setting the number of carries a guy is going to have or setting play load, that is a conversation we haven’t had yet, but that’s important for any team in the league to make sure your backs are fresh for a run in December.
On what he’s learned from Mike Sherman
My father-in-law gave me my first opportunity in coaching. He really set my foundation for coaching. I learned a lot from him at A&M when I was a tight end coach. He really taught me how to coach, he has always been a sounding board for me every step of the way. Certainly one of the most influential people in my life has been Mike Sherman and I owe a lot to him.
On if he want to bring someone to compete with Andy Dalton
I think it’s important every backup in our building is competing for a job. I think Andy has a really bright future in what we are going to do. He’s had a great career. I’ve always watched him from afar, I have never really interacted with him until I got this job. Andy is going to be very successful. He fits what we want to do. He’s smart. He gets the ball out on time. He’s accurate. He understands what the defenses are presenting to him. So, I’m excited to get a chance to work with him. He’s going to have a bright future here.
On looking at the draft to find a QB to develop
I think you’re always looking for depth at any position and that position is certainly no different. We’ll continue to evaluate these guys going forward.
Thoughts on Jordan Evans and Malik Jefferson
You want good depth at that linebacker position. Those guys are young. They certainly have a lot of ability. So it’s going to be important to get the most out of them going forward. We’ll get a linebacker coach in the building soon to start evaluating those guys. Certainly there is talent on that side of the ball at that position and I’m excited to see what those guys can do.
Thoughts on Dre Kirkpatrick?
There’s a lot of talent there. He’s in the building. I see him walking around the weight room. Good personality. Good talent. Like all those DBs. That’s a really good room back there. I think those guys have played well and will continue to play well. I’m excited to work with Dre and all those guys in that room.
On concerns about the defensive staff getting a late start
I really don’t think so. There’s still a lot of time left. The important thing is evaluating our roster defensively, free agency and the draft. We’ll get the scheme. There might be some long weekends, some extra time put in. It was about getting the right people. You don’t want to make that mistake and rush to hire people who a year from now you’re going to regret. I feel very confident we found the right coaching staff. We’ll have more news on that tomorrow likely. It’s a good group. They’ll be able to get the most out of these players because we do have a lot of playmakers on defense and it’s important we play to their strengths and that’s what we intend to do.