One thing the Bengals do a little differently than most teams is they rely on their coaches to help contribute when the draft rolls around. They also have one of the smallest scouting departments in the NFL. They only have eight dedicated scouts, and that is after they expanded the department last year.
This has been an advantage in past seasons as Marvin Lewis has been around for 16 seasons, so the vision of the team hasn’t changed drastically. It made it easy to look for the players to fit that vision.
This season created a big hurdle as not only did Zac Taylor take over as head coach, but just about every positional coach has changed as well. The defensive coaches are especially behind the eight-ball as they have to become familiar with the Bengals’ roster as well as look at some tape on possible draft picks.
It is easy to see how this could create some complications, but Duke Tobin, the Bengals director of player personnel, told Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he doesn’t see it being that hard of a transition.
“It’ll be a new group of guys and we’ll have to gel and we’ll have to figure out how we see players, and maybe we’re seeing them the same way and just talking about them differently and so forth,” Tobin told Dehner Jr.. “There will be a learning curve a little bit with some of the position coaches. Zac and I have been aligned from the start on what we’re looking for and how we want our team to look, so I don’t anticipate any issues there.”
Of course one of the noteworthy things to come out since Taylor was hired is how close he and Tobin have worked together. They have seemed inseparable at times, and that kind of chemistry has really helped smooth out any bumps that this transition may have caused.
“We speak daily, hourly almost, making sure our communication is in line and we’re all on the same page,” Taylor said. “Working with Duke and his staff has been exceptional thus far and we’re still early in the process. I really think the chemistry has been there and will continue to be there going forward … Our conversations have been great, we’re on the same page, communication is key between personnel and coaching staff. So far that’s been outstanding.”
If any fans are holding out hope about switching head coaches, that should help ease their worries. It seems like Taylor and Tobin are on the same page, and that is honestly half the battle of building a successful NFL team. You need the guy who is bringing in the players to know what guys your coach wants/needs to make his system work, or at least what players he can work with.
We as fans are going into uncharted waters for the first time in a very long time. We have no idea how different the strategy will be to building this team will be come draft time. The Bengals 11th overall pick might as well be a wild card as far as fans should be concerned.
Cincinnati has obvious needs at linebacker and offensive line, but the fact is Taylor’s coaches have no ties to anyone in the Bengals locker room. If a player falls to them at a position they may not need to address instantly, it wouldn’t be that much of a surprise to see them pull the trigger.
One thing we know now is that Cincinnati won’t have any issues with not seeing eye to eye on the players being brought in to compete.