When the Bengals hired Zac Taylor last season, one thing became clear very quickly: the people he trusted most were people who had been in his circles.
Some important hires that Taylor made in Cincinnati, like Jim Turner and Lou Anarumo, were controversial and even a little puzzling.
Despite Turner’s reputation for being a bully, Taylor vouched for him because he had worked with him before. When Anarumo’s defense was last in the league in many categories, Taylor deflected blame away from him. Taylor trusted him because of their time together in Miami.
There is another coach out there that Taylor has worked with before that he should try to bring in.
The Rams parted ways with their defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips, on Monday.
Phillips and Taylor joined Sean McVay’s staff at the same time in 2017, and worked on the Rams’ sidelines for two years.
Before that, Phillips was the defensive coordinator for the Broncos, who won the Super Bowl with their defense in 2015. That Broncos team drew comparisons to the 1985, and was one of the league’s best in recent memory.
What would Phillips bring with him? Over 40 years of coaching experience, including time as a defensive line coach, linebackers coach, defensive coordinator, and head coach. He has a career 82-64 record over six stints as a head coach, including five playoff berths. As an assistant, he has coached in three Super Bowls, winning one.
Phillips has the kind of experience that the Bengals’ coaching staff lacks. When Taylor started, he was a first-time head coach assisted by two first-time coordinators. Taylor could use someone who has experience not only as a head coach, but in different levels of an NFL staff.
Taylor will probably keep Anarumo around, so don’t expect Phillips to become the Bengals new defense coordinator. However, a job like “special assistant” would be a good fit for Phillips.
Alternatively, the Bengals are in need of a linebackers coach as of Monday afternoon. Phillips could take over a position that is in desperate need of repair.
The position doesn’t really matter, though. The Bengals should bring him in for his experience and his coaching ability. He could help Anarumo, or even be insurance incase the Bengals need to part ways with him.
Taylor shouldn’t pass on Phillips. If the opportunity is there, he should do everything he can to bring another former associate to Cincinnati.