Bengals: What Monday night shocker does or doesn’t mean for Zac Taylor

Head coach Zac Taylor of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Head coach Zac Taylor of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

Zac Taylor’s Cincinnati Bengals shocked the football world by beating a playoff-bound Steelers team, shaking up where the head coach stands.

We were all reminded that anything truly can happen in the NFL with Cincinnati’s Monday night upset of Pittsburgh behind third-string quarterback Ryan Finley. It was bigger for Bengals head coach Zac Taylor than anybody. This likely helped him secure his immediate future as head coach. However, the jury remains out on him long term.

The entire organization needed this win

The Bengals have been the butt of many jokes during Taylor’s tenure. It isn’t exactly unfair with just four wins in the last two years prior to Monday Night. Taylor has insisted his team was close to turning it around all along. Those claims are met with fewer eye rolls after Monday night.

Bengals ownership is notoriously patient with coaches. Thus, despite many fans calling for it, there haven’t been many rumblings that Taylor would actually be dismissed at season’s end. Frankly, it was and still is a fair question to ask. However, given the organization he coaches for, Taylor is now pretty much a lock to return in 2021, for better or worse.

The players and coaches never stopped working. It has to feel good to see the work pay off in such a meaningful way. Even so, Taylor’s team appeared to quit on him last week against Dallas. He deserves immense credit for getting his players to turn in their best outing of the year after that. But…

Zac Taylor’s leash should still be short in 2021

Let’s not go crazy folks. There is still plenty of merit to the suggestion that Taylor isn’t the guy to turn Cincinnati back into a playoff contender. Bill Parcells once said, “you are what your record says you are.” This is especially true for head coaches. The only thing good about Taylor’s 5-24-1 record is it is better than the 4-24-1 record he had as head coach prior to Monday.

Beating the Steelers shows that the Taylor era isn’t a lost cause just yet. However, if 2021 has the vast majority of Bengals fans focusing on the draft by the middle of October for a third straight year, Taylor must be shown the door.

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