Cincinnati Bengals: Reasons to be excited as Zac Taylor’s first season begins
By Larry Spicer
The preseason is complete and the Zac Taylor era now truly begins. The wait for the regular season is finally over and there are plenty of reasons for optimism in regards to the Cincinnati Bengals.
After a long offseason, the NFL’s regular season kickoff week is upon us. It seems like a lifetime ago that Zac Taylor was named head coach of the Bengals. Week 1 is the first meaningful test. There is plenty of excitement to go around for Bengals fans. However, there are also a lot of questions.
The biggest question is can Taylor lead Cincinnati to that elusive first playoff win since the 1990 season. There are plenty of reasons to believe that he can. That being said, it is likely going to take some time. Still, if the NFL is anything, it is unpredictable. The Bengals do have talent and are capable of winning nine or maybe even ten games this year, but they could just as easily be picking first in April.
With everyone’s record sitting at 0-0, now is a good time to look at not only those reasons why Taylor is the right guy to take the franchise to places Marvin Lewis never could, but also why the Queen City can get excited about its football team again.
A new offense
By now, Every Bengals fan knows Taylor comes from the Los Angeles Rams’ high powered offensive system. What exactly is this offense? At its core, it is a west coast offense that moves receivers around. and puts a heavy reliance on the run game as well as play action. In many ways, the roots are reminiscent of the old Sam Wyche offense during the Bengals hay day with Boomer Esiason at quarterback. That in itself should be enough to intrigue much of the fanbase.
There are also other influences from west coast masterminds like Mike Shanahan and Bill Callahan. Offensive coordinator Brian Callahan is the son of the latter. In terms of results, proximity to greatness guarantees nothing for a new staff, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
A new philosophy
Gone are the days of over the hill veterans getting most of the snaps just because of familiarity or of draft status. With Coach Taylor the best players are going to play. Young players are actually going to get a shot to show what they can do. How refreshing is that? Guys like Trey Hopkins and Damion Willis are getting a chance to start because they earned it on the field. This would have never been possible with the last regime.
Again, this team is not devoid of talent. There are young players on the roster that should be future Pro Bowlers. Guys like Tyler Boyd, Jessie Bates, William Jackson, Carl Lawson and Joe Mixon have shown they are capable of making plays.
John Ross still has a shot at making noise. The new coaching staff has stuck by the former first rounder. Sam Hubbard, Germaine Pratt, Willis, Michael Jordan and even Billy Price can all provide a solid foundation for the future of this franchise. There are plenty of young pieces to go along with established vets on this roster to provide optimism that the Bengals can get things turned around. Even though we won’t see him until 2020, rookie Jonah Williams also falls into that pool of young talent.
This organization has given us plenty of reasons to be pessimistic over the years. That being said, there is a lot to be excited for, and it is okay to be hopeful about the future of the Bengals. So, get ready for some football. Regardless of this year’s record, just enjoy the process and watch this team grow. That is easier said than done, but who knows what may happen? We may be witnessing the beginning of something great. Stranger things have happened.