There was no fanfare after the season for Zac Taylor returning as the head coach. In fact it seemed like it was just assumed that Taylor would be returning, but should it have been such a forgone conclusion that he receive a second season?
There are a large portion of fans who probably checked out this season when the team was 0-8 or worse, and I can understand them not understanding why Taylor should return. This team looked helpless outside of their Week 1 loss to the Seahawks. The defense couldn’t stop anyone, Joe Mixon couldn’t get going and the offense as a whole struggled to consistently convert third downs.
In short, they looked like how an 0-8 team should look. However, the second half of the season we saw some life from this team. You could make the argument that had Cincinnati not benched Andy Dalton for Ryan Finley following the bye week, they could’ve had a couple more wins on the year. A once helpless defense was playing well, and Mixon actually had space to maneuver.
Without that improvement in the second half of the season, it seems like Taylor’s employment would be far less secure right now, but was it really enough to warrant a second season? In today’s NFL it isn’t uncommon for franchises to cut their losses on a failed coaching staff after a single season. Why would Taylor’s situation be that different?
The Bengals, for one, obviously don’t like succumbing to the knee-jerk reactions that many other franchises do. However, the biggest reason is probably the state of the roster Taylor endured in 2019. This was largely the same roster that went 6-10 the season before, but you have to look closer at that. In 2018 Cincinnati started off 4-1, then they only won two of their final 11 games. Taylor took over a roster that ended the prior season on a 2-9 record, and he never had A.J. Green step foot on the field outside of the team’s first training camp practice.
The point we are getting to is this offseason wasn’t spent trying to overhaul a roster. It was meant to see if a fresh set of coaches could save a closing window on the Dalton era Bengals, and the resounding answer was no. If Taylor was hired to instantly turn this team around or else be fired, he would’ve been a fool to take the job. Still, 2-14 is 2-14, those don’t grant you any sort of confidence going forward.
Many fans will point to Marvin Lewis’ 16 season term with the team as support to Taylor sticking around, but Lewis’ went 8-8 his first two seasons before a playoff season in 2005. This was coming off the worst decade of Bengals football ever in the 90’s. There was a reason Mike Brown was so afraid to fire Lewis.
Taylor starting of 2-14 probably shortens his leash way more than many on the outside may think. Lewis earned his long leash by at least being mediocre. Taylor may get the benefit of the doubt for what could be Joe Burrow’s rookie season, but if he doesn’t at least have a winning season by year 3, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Taylor’s seat be legitimately hot.
At the end of the day, none of use want to see the Bengals at the bottom of the league, and the fact is Taylor led that sinking ship. Do you think he deserves a second season?
Do you approve of Zac Taylor getting a second season as the head coach?
This poll is closed
Yes, the end of the season inspired faith in him moving forward
No, 2-14 or any record resulting in being the worst team in the NFL is unacceptable
Yes, but I am worried about him going forward after this season
I’m unsure about him considering the circumstances with the roster this season