With a 3-18-1 record, Zac Taylor’s seat should be getting hot. If the Bengals move on, the next coach should have a defensive pedigree.
Marvin Lewis got 16 years. However, there was an immediate improvement when Lewis got to Cincinnati. For better or worse, that bought him a lot of goodwill and time with ownership.
Taylor inherited a six-win team. He has won three games in well over a year. He does not have the luxury Lewis did. At this point, it is reasonable to speculate about what the Bengals should look for in Taylor’s possible replacement.
Why it has to be a defensive mind for the Bengals
Teams have leaned strongly towards offensive assistants as head coaches in recent years. Taylor’s hire fit that trend. However, league trends should be irrelevant in head coaching searches. The only thing that should matter is getting the right guy for the team at the time.
Most of those that follow the Bengals would agree that the current coaching staff is, at best, below average, and, at worst, incompetent. Despite that, if you take out the Baltimore game, the Bengals are averaging over 25 points per game. Cincinnati’s offensive personnel is good enough to give the team a chance most weeks, regardless of coaching. There is no shame in getting rag-dolled by Baltimore either.
There are several issues with this team. However, Joe Burrow has an 85 quarterback rating and more touchdown passes than interceptions. As a whole, the offense is producing well in spite of the coaching. Apart from the offensive line, that side of the ball doesn’t need much work.
Should they end up looking for one this offseason, the Bengals need a head coach who will come in, instill discipline, and clean up the defense. If Cincinnati scores 27 points like they did last Sunday, that needs to be enough to win most of the time. It was a loss last week and scoring 30 points wasn’t enough at Cleveland in Week two either.
Possible Candidates for the Bengals
It may be too early to name names. Even so, if you subscribe to this line of thinking, Buccaneer’s defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh jump to mind. Bowles in particular won’t excite the fan base.
However, his unremarkable head coaching stint with the Jets did include a ten-win season. We are now learning that many of the issues he was blamed for in his New York firing weren’t his fault.
The Bucs defense shut down Aaron Rodgers last Sunday. The unit is playing well enough to earn Bowles another head-coaching shot. He has also been in the league long enough to know he should leave the offensive talent in the hands of a capable coordinator.
Whenever the next head coaching search comes, the Bengals need to make it about getting the right guy, not the flashy young assistant who will “bring energy” and excite the fan base.