The Bengals lost their offensive line coach Frank Pollack this offseason after letting Marvin Lewis go. This left a hole at an all-important position for Zac Taylor to fill, which he did by hiring Jim Turner.
Turner’s past is well documented as he was fired from the Dolphins following the bullying and harassment of Johnathan Martin. Katherine Terrell of ESPN caught up with the new offensive line coach about his coaching style:
“Here’s what I know. I’m an Irish Catholic from Boston. I was a lieutenant in the Marine Corps. A lot of what I grew up with in my home and a lot of what I experienced in my time through college and coaching and the military, I use humor a lot to make my point,” Turner told Terrell. “When you’re talking to a group of men, you really have to see what’s the situation? Who are you speaking to?
“When I’m standing in a room filled with Marines, it can be harsh and it can be direct as to what you want them to do. You need to make your points. I don’t see the NFL, speaking to an offensive line in the NFL, as much different. And so there are some things said sometimes that wouldn’t come out right if the average citizen walking down the street were to listen to it. Unfortunately, some of the things that I said and some of the things I did with my players had to come out. And so, moving forward, I just have to be smarter about what I do when I try to use entertainment to motivate the players.”
This is at least a start in the right direction. However, apologizing for the actions themselves becoming public and not apologizing for performing and condoning said actions isn’t the preferable course of action here. It is at least good that he admits he can’t participate with stuff like that anymore regardless of the reason.
Hazing and/or joking between players and coaches isn’t anything new in traditional football culture, and rarely does it become public knowledge like it did in Miami. Regardless, it still was troubling how Johnathan Martin was treated by fellow players. The fact that Turner fueled and encouraged some of that, is and was disturbing.
This is all magnified because of how much Taylor emphasized character as the foundation to his tenure as head coach. This hire at such a critical position for the Bengals has been questionable, but all we are left with is to wait and see if it pays off.
It should also be noted that Turner seems very motivated to do a great job for Taylor.
“I didn’t leave [Texas A&M] for any other reason, I told him that, I said, there’s only one reason I’m leaving and that’s because Zac got this job. If another NFL job presented itself and I didn’t know those people as well, I wouldn’t have left. There really was no reason to leave other than this.”
That is probably the most encouraging thing Turner could have said. Time will tell if he will do Taylor proud. If he does turnaround Cincinnati’s offensive line, it is safe to say fans will probably be more open to him. That’s just the way things work in the NFL.