When I see head coaching rankings, I need to stop being shocked when Zac Taylor is in the bottom five or at the bottom of the barrel altogether. A rookie head coach trying to prove himself in a league that’s quick to give coaches a short leash deserves better than last.
Coming from Los Angeles, Taylor helped engineer one of the league’s best offenses last season. He was one of many non-players that helped take Jared Goff’s game to the next level, making him one of the league’s best quarterbacks.
However, analysts clearly aren’t expecting him to thrive in Cincinnati. He’s oftentimes at the bottom of the league in these rankings and is also at times the lowest of the six first-time head coaches in the NFL.
When mentioning rookie coaches, columnist Steve Ruiz of USA Today’s For The Win was brief to say the least. Here’s the only mention of Taylor in the entire 2,000-plus word article.
“And Matt LaFleur and Zac Taylor go to the bottom because the best thing they got going for them is that they know Sean McVay.”
It’s difficult to blame Ruiz for giving Taylor the lowest spot, but when teams like Miami and Arizona who are clearly less talented than Cincinnati are also under rookie leadership, it is shocking to say the least.
This type of ranking isn’t new to Taylor though.
He’s been blasted as one of the worst head coaches by just about every major media outlet. Sporting News has Taylor at 31. Patrick Daugherty of NBC Sports’ Rotoworld has Taylor at the bottom of the league. The majority of media’s rankings don’t have Taylor sniffing the top-20.
Many of these high-trafficked articles cite the same reasons for Taylor’s low rankings: Inexperience.
His jumping from quarterback coach to NFL head coach is unprecedented by most measures. However, aside from that jump, Taylor, at large, doesn’t have a single ounce of head coaching experience.
That right there gives every analyst a reason to doubt his ability to lead a team. That being said, we’ve only seen and heard good thing about Taylor so far, but Cincinnati is a city that expects results.
And, to be fair, until the last three seasons, Lewis was delivering a winning team. Now, it’s Taylor’s chance to renew that winning culture around the beloved Bengals, and if he doesn’t, you can hang on to the fact that he won’t be here 15 more years for him to get it done.