Zac Taylor has to impress in the 2020 season to keep his job

Cincinnati Bengals, Zac Taylor (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals, Zac Taylor (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /

Coming off of a 2-14 season in his first year as head coach, Zac Taylor has a lot to prove in 2020 if he is going to get a third season with the Bengals.

Enthusiasm was high heading into the Cincinnati Bengals’ 2019 season. After 16 years, Marvin Lewis was finally out as head coach, replaced by Los Angeles Rams’ quarterback coach Zac Taylor. With a new face at the helm of the coaching staff, fans were eager to see how the Bengals would look. Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan. Cincinnati ended the year with a 2-14 record, the worst in the entire NFL.

Though fans are generally still supportive of Taylor, he must prove worthy of that support in 2020. In a fast-paced league, coaches must produce quick results. Look at Taylor’s mentor, Sean McVay. The Rams’ head coach has held their head coach position for three years and in that time, has had great results. With three winning seasons, two playoff appearances, a trip to the Super Bowl, and an overall record of 33-15, McVay has done big things early in his career.

Taylor needs to prove he can coach at a high level in 2020, or the Bengals will have to move on. The stakes are too high for Cincinnati to waste their time on a below-average to bad coach. For that reason, Taylor will find himself under a microscope in the upcoming season.

Why the stakes are so high for Zac Taylor

Stakes are so high for the Bengals due to the transformation of the team over the 2020 offseason. For the first time in recent memory, the front office actively tried to improve in free agency, where they were one of the top spenders in the entire league. If the Bengals are going to go out of character and dish out big bucks to outside free agents, they must have a competent head coach to use them.

Most importantly, Joe Burrow’s development is crucial for the Bengals, and they can’t waste time. Burrow was selected with the first overall pick in the draft, a pick that is considered by many to be the most valuable asset in all of professional sports.

Cincinnati needs Burrow to perform to their expectations, or it could set the franchise back for years to come. The young signal-caller only has so many years in his career, and the Bengals need to make the most out of every season if they think he can make them a contender. If Taylor gives any doubts that he can’t take Burrow to the level he needs to get to, his time in Cincinnati will be short-lived.

How Zac Taylor can keep his job

It’s not all doom and gloom for Taylor, though. There are a few things he can do to maintain a positive standing in the eyes of the Bengals’ organization.

First of all, he needs to win at least six games. It’s a very specific number to hold him to, but it’s not an unreasonable goal for him. With all the assets the Bengals brought in through the draft and free agency, a four-game improvement is not out of the realm of possibility. In fact, a four game improvement should be considered the Bengals’ floor, not their ceiling. If Taylor can’t get to this number, it might be time for a new head coach in the Queen City.

Being in the AFC North, one of the toughest divisions in football, Taylor must prove he can hang with the Bengals’ rivals. Unlike his predecessor Lewis, he must show an ability to beat the Steelers. With the Browns an up and coming team, the second-year coach must steal a win against his Ohio counterparts. The Ravens may be the best team in the league, so he shouldn’t expect a win there. To show he can compete in the division, he must nab a win against both Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

In addition to win requirements, the team has to show improvement in a few areas on the field. First, the passing game must improve with Burrow. Taylor was brought in as a QB guru and if he can’t make his new franchise quarterback look good, that’s a bad sign.

Additionally, after showing faith in the notoriously bad offensive line this offseason, it must improve this year. If he willingly chose to subject Burrow to a bad offensive line, his judgment will be in question. For Taylor to remain head coach, he has to show he can do what he was hired for: build a strong offense.


Taylor is a popular head coach in Cincinnati, despite his shortcomings to this point. His honesty in press conferences causes him to be loved by fans. His ability to control a locker room has made him popular with his players. His offensive mind gets him kudos from analysts. However, he has to show he deserves the praise he gets.

After spending big money in free agency and drafting a franchise quarterback in the draft, the stakes are too high for the Bengals to take many more chances on an unproven coach. This is Zac Taylor’s year to prove he’s the coach to take Cincinnati to the promised land. If he can’t, there are plenty of talented coaches out there who will be itching to coach the Bengals’ new quarterback.

Next. Tyler Boyd speaks out against Joe Burrow criticism. dark