Zac Taylor was originally thought to be brought back for a third year with the Bengals, but reports are emerging that suggest that might not be the case.
After the Cincinnati Bengals went on an unlikely two-game winning streak late in the season, the consensus among the NFL landscape was that head coach Zac Taylor had done enough to return for a third year at the helm. That line of thinking was further backed up by a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who stated that the 37-year-old coach was expected to be brought back.
However, Rapoport’s report came out prior to Cincinnati’s embarrassing blowout defeat at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens. Since then, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has put out a report suggesting Taylor’s job may not be as safe as once thought.
News of assistant coaches being let go have already begun spilling out of the Queen City, but Florio had this to say in regard to Taylor,
"“In Cincinnati, a definite “we’ll see” vibe has emerged this weekend. Although NFL Media has reported that Zac Taylor is expected to return, there’s a rumor making that rounds that Taylor could be out.”"
If the front office indeed entered this weekend with a true “we’ll see” mentality, as Florio suggests, then it’s hard to imagine the Bengals would keep him around after such a disappointing defeat to a divisional rival. That’s a big if, however.
It seems more likely than not that Zac Taylor will be retained
Despite Florio’s report, it seems unlikely that the Bengals will have a change of heart and move on from Zac Taylor because of their week 17 defeat. Cincinnati has been blown out a number of times this year, and one more to the Ravens probably doesn’t move the needle in the grand scheme of things.
Not to mention, Taylor didn’t sound like a coach on the way out in his final post-game press conference of the year. When asked about changes he’d make to his coaching staff, he stated that they’ll get into that topic in the upcoming week. Not exactly the response you’d expect from a coach who was uncertain of his future.
Although, that’s not to say the front office hasn’t had a sudden change of heart. While it’s not like them to pull the plug so soon and pay a coach who isn’t in the building, neither was spending big money in free agency. The dynamic among the decision-makers isn’t as clear-cut as it once was.
Simply put, there are too many varying reports out there to really get a gauge on how the Bengals will proceed. It’s a thought process they will certainly keep hush-hush.
However, based on their past tendencies, if you had to bet, it’d be safer to place your money on Taylor’s return to the sidelines of Paul Brown Stadium next season. WhoDey Nation should have answers to their burning questions soon enough.