There was a lot of concern when Bengals quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt was named offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns.
It makes sense. In what everyone hopes is a franchise-altering move, the Bengals are about to draft Joe Burrow with the first-overall pick. It certainly seems like a terrible time to lose your quarterbacks coach.
Van Pelt was highly respected in the league, which is obviously how he got the coordinator job in Cleveland. It certainly would have been nice to have him around, but make no mistake, the quarterbacks coach will not be Burrow’s primary coach.
A year ago, the Cardinals selected quarterback Kyler Murray with the first overall pick. Although Tom Clements is their pass game coordinator and quarterbacks coach, the offense belonged to head coach Kliff Kingsbury and he personally coached Murray.
I have no doubt that this is the plan in Cincinnati as well.
Zac Taylor is an offensive coach who played and coached the quarterback position. His coaching career is riding on Burrow’s success. Although offensive coordinator Brian Callahan and new quarterbacks coach Dan Pitcher will play a role, Taylor will continue to call the plays and personally coach Burrow.
At the end of the day, it hurts losing Van Pelt, but not as bad as people think. There’s a reason why Taylor and the Bengals allowed Van Pelt to take the promotion four hours up I-71. When Van Pelt was kept on the staff last year, they had the succession plan in place in case this exact opportunity came up. Why was Pitcher hired so quickly? Contingency plans are more prevalent in NFL franchises than most realize.
All along it was going to be Taylor who was primarily responsible for Burrow’s development, and Pitcher has been prepped to take over Van Pelt’s job if he ever needed to do so.