Cincinnati Bengals: Zac Taylor was wrong to call the guard battle “fun”

Cincinnati Bengals, Zac Taylor (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals, Zac Taylor (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Hopefully, Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor was using just coach speak. Maybe he is just tired of talking about the offensive line. Perhaps he already knows what is going to happen, but he does not want to announce it.

That has to be it, right?

Or maybe, just maybe, he really believes what he said. If that is the case, that is not good.

Recently in his week two OTAs press conference, Taylor stated the roster battle at the guard position is going to be “fun.”

Fun! Fun? Read the room coach. Nothing fun is going on as it pertains to the offensive line here in Cincinnati. The plan to “fix” or at least “improve” the offensive line should have been clear, uncut, pure. Anything short of that is going to tank the BOLCONF stock (Bengals offensive line confidence).

What exactly would “fun” look like?

  • Fun would be to see an unexpected name rise up and take a spot away from someone through a dominant preseason performance. D’Ante Smith, with his ideal tackle frame playing so well that he takes a starting position would be fun.
  • “Fun” would be watching mountainous Trey Hill not budge against massive defensive tackles and push for a starting role at center while Trey Hopkins is out.
  • Fun is believing in your plan and executing it to perfection though free agency and the draft.
  • The ultimate fun is drafting a guy that you see playing a position he has not played and knowing more than everyone else and being right about it.
  • Fun is nailing the draft.
  • Thinking about the numbers Joe Burrow could put up in this offense is fun.
  • Fun would be another CJ Uzomah press conference.

All of that would be “fun.”

Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor should have phrased things better when discussing the guard battle.

Former Bengals offensive lineman, current radio broadcaster and host of “Dave Lapham In The Trenches,” Dave Lapham, when speaking on the second week of OTAs had this to say about the current state of the Bengals offensive line:

"Watching the offensive line, there’s a real battle going on. I think really the only places that are pretty solid is you got Jonah Williams at the left tackle position. You have Riley Reiff at the right tackle spot."

I have to say, that does not sound encouraging. There should be more than two “pretty solid” positions set along the offensive line right now.

Lapham goes on to say…

"But the guard spot is wide open. And I mean wide open. They’re rotating all kinds of bodies in there. Michael Jordan, Adeniji at the left guard position. At the right guard position, you know, Quinton Spain is rolling in there. But every single person that has been drafted or signed as a college free agent or picked up in free agency, everybody is getting a shot at the guard spot."

No, this does not sound like fun, especially when you drafted a tackle in the second round of the draft expecting him to become the starting right guard.

What is not fun is doubt when it comes to the offensive line. Sure, competition breeds excellence. But being so excellent that there is no competition is even better.

When the Bengals drafted Jonah Williams to play left tackle, there was no fun involved. He was the starting left tackle, full stop. Here he is, now develop him.

There was no mention from the team about moving him to another spot or having him compete for the job. That is more “fun” than what seems to be happening now.

Recently, Leigh Oleszczak of Stripe Hype wrote about the unsureness surrounding the guard position.

"The Bengals offensive line has to be better in 2021 and while the tackles get more of the attention, the guard position has more eye balls on it as of now because of the uncertainty."

Nailed it!

She goes on to write:

"There are a lore of unknowns for this group as we enter the summer sessions and the Bengals are going to find their starting group by trial and error."

Again, exactly right!

This all sounds like fun at Kings Island after having finished that last slice of LaRosa’s pizza that your kid did not want just before jumping on the Beast. Fans do not need this type of fun. Uncertainty surrounding the offensive line at this point is not fun, but rather precarious. It is unsettling.

Fans, Burrow, and Joe Mixon need reassurance.

Was Taylor’s “fun” comment a throw away line? Possibly.

Is this a parsing of words? Surely.

An overreaction to a June press conference? Absolutely.

Next. 5 Bengals Who Can Make a Splash in Preseason. dark

Right up until it is September and there are still two spots up for grabs along the offensive line. That would be quite unfun.