As the Cincinnati Bengals enter the final stretch of the season, Zac Taylor should test offensive coordinator Brian Callahan’s play-calling ability.
The Cincinnati Bengals found out the hard way just how much of their offensive success relied on the talented arm of Joe Burrow. In their first full game without the stellar LSU product, Zac Taylor’s offense generated just 155 yards (3.4 yards per attempt) and 10 points. Simply put, that kind of production won’t cut it.
In all fairness, it’s a steep drop off between the starter and the backup for any team. However, both Brandon Allen and Ryan Finley are Taylor’s guys, so there isn’t much room for excuses in that regard.
Other NFL franchises have suffered the loss of their starting quarterback, but have managed to hold the fort down without them. Just two weeks ago, the Carolina Panthers were able to generate 374 yards of offense and score 20 points without Teddy Bridgewater under center. They actually came away victorious with a quarterback they pulled from the XFL ranks.
The New Orleans Saints have been able to hang onto the first place of their division, despite missing future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Drew Brees. Heck, their backup quarterback, Taysom Hill, has been doing it almost entirely on the ground.
The success of other franchises demonstrates that no matter how big the talent gap is between Burrow and his backups, a supposed offensive guru should be able to scheme up a plan to put more points on the board, especially against the New York Giants.
Something clearly has to change down the stretch if the Bengals are going to make it to the finish line. All options should be on the table, and that includes testing the play-calling abilities of Brian Callahan.
The benefits of handing the reigns to Brian Callahan
Since taking over for the Bengals, Zac Taylor has insisted on calling the plays. Outside of a fiery stretch led by Joe Burrow, that has worked to the demise of the team.
The red-zone play-calling has been particularly underwhelming. So far this season, Cincinnati ranks 26th in converting their trips to the money zone into touchdowns. Last season was even worse, as they ranked 30th in the statistic.
At this point, what does the club have to lose by allowing Brian Callahan to call the shots offensively? They certainly can’t look worse on that side of the ball than they did in week 12.
To start off, Callahan doesn’t even have to call an entire game. Hand him the play-calling sheet for a single drive. If it works, let him handle the entire quarter, and figure it out from there.
Prior to his stint in the Queen City, Callahan was regarded as one of the most intriguing quarterback coaches in the league. He helped Matthew Stafford put up impressive numbers with the Lions and was interviewed by a number of teams before landing with the Raiders.
The 36-year-old coach has shown plenty of promise and could just surprise the football landscape if handed the reigns. There’s a solid argument that Taylor shouldn’t be calling the plays moving forward, and the Bengals should see if they already have his replacement in that regard on staff.