Bengals: Debunking the excuses being made for Zac Taylor
Zac Taylor’s 3-19-1 record as Bengals head coach has him squarely on the hot seat in the minds of many, but some say he needs more time.
As bad as Zac Taylor’s time with the Cincinnati Bengals has been from a record standpoint, there is still a line of thinking that he is the right guy to turn the franchise around. Let’s look at some of the arguments being made in that regard and why they are flawed.
“Marvin Lewis got 16 years. Thus, Zac Taylor will get plenty of time”
Yes, Marvin Lewis was in Cincinnati too long and the Brown family does tend to give their head coaches time, but they have made a move quickly before when things were really bad.
Prior to the Lewis era, Dick LeBeau was fired after posting just eight wins in two full seasons as the non-interim head coach. The Brown family still calls the shots. Taylor needs a miracle to reach eight total wins by the end of this year.
“It is the defense, the Bengals just need a new coordinator”
Considering Cincinnati has lost three games when scoring 27 or more points this year, a defensive coordinator change is in order at or before the end of the season. However, Taylor hired current defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo. How can anyone feel good about him making another hire?
Even though his unit has been closer to serviceable in recent weeks, the same logic applies to offensive line coach Jim Turner. Coaches don’t always get mulligans when they hire the wrong assistants.
“The close losses will turn into wins soon”
Eight of 14 Bengals losses last year were by one possession. An offseason of the staff learning from mistakes should have at least somewhat corrected that. Despite Joe Burrow’s herculean efforts, four of five losses this year have been in one-score games. It is still about untimely penalties and busted coverages.
Cincinnati is the same team they were last year. That cannot be the case coming off a two-win season. The only difference is a younger, flashier, and more gifted quarterback.
“Cincinnati has had lots of injuries”
Every other team is dealing with injuries too. George Kittle, Nick Bosa, Jimmy Garoppolo, Debo Samuel, and others have all missed or are missing time for the 49ers. They still have a winning record as we near the season’s halfway point. Kyle Shanahan is more experienced than Taylor, but only by a year or two.
Matt Rhule is a rookie head coach who has kept Carolina in the race without Christian McCaffrey. It is on the coach and his staff to figure out how to put up wins with the pieces that are available to them. Cincinnati hasn’t been able to do that.
How Zac Taylor can turn the tide
From the minute he was hired by the Bengals, Taylor has constantly stressed building a culture in Cincinnati. His players have seemed to buy-in for the most part. Still, at some point, you have to start winning, or you aren’t building anything.
After the next two games, the schedule is pretty manageable for the Bengals. Taylor needs to stockpile some wins. If he doesn’t, he will go down as one of the least successful head coaches in NFL history.