The Bengals coaching staff may not have made any changes to their coordinators, but they did make waves by replacing almost all of their assistant coaches. One change that many eyes will be on is Troy Walters being promoted to being in charge of a young wide receiver group that could very well add plenty of new names this offseason.
Walters isn’t worried about that right now because he thinks he already has a very talented duo with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd going into next season.
“I love the way they want to get better. The way they come to work attacking each day,” Walters told Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. “They understand there are things in their games they can improve to help make them elite. That’s what we’re going to work on this year is making sure we take care of some of the little things, the detail, the technique, to get them into the elite receivers of the league.”
Walters has seen that mind set and attention to detail up close. When he played in the NFL, he bounced around to a few different teams, but fortunately for him he always seemed to be playing behind some of the best receivers of his era. He has seen Randy Moss, Chris Carter, Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison, Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald all prepare day in and day out. He has seen up close what made those players special.
“They had the dog in them. They wanted to be the best,” Walters says. “A lot of people say that. But their actions, what they did in practice each day, reflected that. They were competitors no matter the situation … They wanted to be the best and they went out every day to show that and it translated on Sundays. That was the mindset of each of those guys.”
Having someone like Walters in place will be very important as Higgins enters his second season in the NFL. His rookie season was a very successful one that fell just short of being a 1,000 yard season due to an injury in the final game. Walters notes that his hamstring injury didn’t just pop up in Week 17, though. The rookie fighting through that injury for weeks is the kind of thing that makes him think the best is yet to come for Higgins.
“But he fought through it. He’s a competitor. You love to see that in your guys,” Walters says of Higgins. “He left some plays out there with some contested deep balls he wishes he had back. We’ll continue to work on that, but when you look how he made it to the 16th game and he never hit a rookie wall, it was very impressive.”
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor just couldn’t be happier to give someone like Walter, who he has Texas Tech ties to, a chance like this in the NFL. Walters’ college coaching credentials and professional experience speak for themselves in Taylor’s eyes, and after a year of being eased back into professional coaching the call was an easy one to make.
Bengals fans will be hoping that Walters can say that he helped coached a Hall of Fame caliber wide receiver by the time he is done in Cincinnati to add to his very experienced list.