The NFL is an institution that likes to set and follow certain trends. One of the most recent examples of this is in teams clamoring to find the next young, forward-thinking coaches in the mold of, specifically, Sean McVay.
The Cincinnati Bengals went right to the source this offseason, hiring McVay’s quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor from the Rams. There is a major risk to the signing, as Taylor has not been a head coach before, but count his former boss as a guy who thinks Taylor has what it takes to succeed in the league.
“He’s got a great confidence and a leadership and a steady hand,” McVay said to the press at the annual owner’s meeting. “When you spend any time around Zac, you can feel he was that quarterback that was a great leader at Nebraska. His even-keel demeanor and disposition I think is really valuable for your team and what you want to do as a head coach. That’s a great trait he possesses.”
It’s in those qualities that supposedly wowed the Bengals’ front office staff in interviews for the vacant coaching position. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, the Taylor era has not gotten off to the smoothest of starts. Whether it was in his inability to be announced as the coach until February, or in the scrambling of putting his staff together before the slew of pre-draft events, Taylor has been through a trial by fire.
On the coaching search situation, McVay said that Taylor “did a good job” and exuded necessary patience until he hired Lou Anarumo has his defensive coordinator. The current Rams head coach also lauded Anarumo’s coaching prowess.
As for the X’s and O’s aspect of Taylor’s resume, McVay also had some more flattering words for his former pupil. As expected, the two men had a very good working relationship and both were responsible for one of the best offenses we’ve seen in recent seasons.
“He was really influential in what we were doing the last couple of years,” McVay said. “I learned from his as much as he’ll say he learned from me. It was a mutual respect.”
Aside from being a head coach for the first time, Taylor’s stint in Cincinnati will also see him calling the plays for the Bengals’ offense. To say that he will have his hands full of responsibilities right away is an understatement.
Though, if we’re going by the words of the NFL’s current wunderkind, it sounds like Taylor has the personality traits and history of success to re-capture it in The Queen City.