Most people have probably gone through the honeymoon stage of a relationship. That period of time where you first start seeing someone you’re interested in, and everything they do just infatuates you.
From the way they smile, laugh or maybe just their fresh perspective on life that changes yours. Then finally comes the moment when you both can finally talk the specifics of your NFL schemes.
Okay, maybe what the Bengals and new head coach Zac Taylor are going through is a little different. The excitement from both sides is very clear though. Taylor once again showed he has no problem being able to speak in front of a room of people when he held his first press conference after meeting with the team for the first time. He did emphasize that although this was the first time the two sides have been able to talk specifics, there is still plenty of work ahead.
“You think about [addressing the team for the first time] a lot. In the grand scheme of things, it matters very little because we’re trying to build each and every day. So tomorrow’s team meeting is just as important as this team meeting. I’d be lying if I said you don’t think about that first time in front of the players and what your message is going to be. What’s important is that we keep stacking every single day and every single day that the players gain information we want to relay to them. Every team meeting is as good as the last one.”
If there is one thing Taylor will be able to do during his time with the Bengals, it is say the right thing. It may come across as coach speak to most people, but as a fresh new exciting voice, he will be able to get away with it better than a coach who had been around for say more than 15 seasons.
That isn’t to say all of Taylor’s press conference was committed to just referring to how excited the building was for this day. He also wasn’t afraid to touch on one of the more pressing issues facing new, younger coaches, phone breaks.
“I wouldn’t say [coaches giving players phone breaks and conducting shorter meetings] happened just recently. I think it’s gotten more attention recently. That’s been important to me in places I’ve been for years now. I don’t have a long attention span. If I sit in a meeting with you all for more than 30 minutes, I lose my focus a little bit. I’ll try to keep this brief (laughs). I look at my phone as much as anyone. Nowadays, after 30 minutes, minds start to wander. So if you want the information that you spent a lot of time trying to package to be effective, if you want it to really hit home, then you can’t expect to keep anybody — adults, players, whatever — in one setting for a long time. You have to try to focus that in and give them breaks when necessary.”
When asked if he’d give players phone breaks, Taylor had this to say:
“I wouldn’t call it a cell phone break. But if they want leave the meeting and look at their cell phone, it’s fine by me. To me, it’s just a break.”
There you have it. Ring the millennial riot alarm.
Of course, that is just a joke. Honestly if anyone is going to be able to relate to how to hold these players’ attentions, it is probably the coach that is as ingrained in the smartphone era as his players.
Taylor was also asked about the whole Mark Walton situation, and how the team handled parting ways with the running back.
“It’s hard anytime you deal with a player who’s put a lot of work into their career. The unfortunate thing about these situations sometimes is that you don’t really get a chance to know the player when you’re a new head coach. There’s a human element to this stuff, but we want things done a certain way, and we’re appreciative of the players that are here in the building and doing things the right way. That’s our expectation here at the Bengals.”
Pretty much a perfect response to a situation like that. He didn’t go out of his way to criticize the player, but he was still able to reinforce that he understands how much these players work (which you can bet didn’t go unnoticed by the players still in the building) as well as instilling the culture he has tried to preach since being hired.
Of course, his comments on the Bengals new slogan “It’s About Us” (which I’m told has nothing to do with the NBC show This Is Us or the new Jordan Peele movie “Us”) really shows how a new coach may be able to come in and get something from the final few seasons this era of Bengals football has left.
“All that matters is what’s inside these walls. There are so many distractions, so many different things going on outside these walls that can distract you and divert you away from what’s really important. I just want to make sure that our players and coaches understand that as we take care of business inside these walls, we’re going to be able achieve the things we want to achieve.”
What was your favorite part of Taylor’s opening press conference?