2021 may very well prove to be the most important year of Zac Taylor’s coaching career.
At least, if he wants to remain a head coach, that is.
After winning just six games over his first two seasons as a head coach at any level, Taylor needs a big showing this fall if he wants to remain in his current position with the Cincinnati Bengals.
And frankly, if Taylor has another debacle of a season and gets fired, he may never again get another chance as an NFL head coach.
So yeah, a lot is riding on this season for Taylor, and pretty much everyone knows it.
Even Bengals great Anthony Muñoz, who’s often one of the most positive voices when it comes to Bengals football, admits that Taylor is probably on the hot seat this season.
During a Thursday ESPN Radio appearance (via AllBengals’ James Rapien), Muñoz spoke on why Taylor finally feels the heat to win.
“I would think he is on the hot seat because he has his own guys now. I mentioned very few guys from the old regime are still here,” Muñoz said. “Maybe with a little change in management. You have Katie and Troy Blackburn I think taking a little more control. Mike Brown’s still there, but maybe their attitudes are a little different with getting rid of guys a little sooner. I would have a tendency with the expectations of the fans, the community, that might put a little pressure on them.”
Of course, there have been some very untimely injuries that likely cost Taylor several wins at the very least. The A.J. Green injury that cost him all of a 2019 season that saw the Bengals lose eight one-score games was likely the difference between 2-14 and a record that had five or more wins.
Last year, the injuries to Joe Burrow and Joe Mixon, not to mention the training camp injury to Geno Atkins that hamstrung him throughout 2020, almost certainly cost Taylor several more wins.
That said, you have to be better than 6-25-1, no matter who’s hurt.
Now it’s time for Taylor to win, or else his days as an NFL head coach are numbered.