The Cincinnati Bengals entered the 2023 season with Super Bowl aspirations. Sadly, they didn't make the playoffs despite having such lofty expectations before the regular season began. Naturally, people will blame Zac Taylor for the Bengals' lackluster season but that hardly seems fair.
People probably aren't realistically discussing the Bengals firing Taylor but I'm sure there are people out there who think it's time for the two to part ways. Here's why that'd be silly.
Still got the team to 9-8 despite injuries
When Joe Burrow went down in Week 11 for the rest of the season, it felt as though the Bengals would maybe win a few more games and get a top-10 draft pick. After Week 12's loss to Pittsburgh where Jake Browning looked abysmal, that looked like it'd be reality.
However, from then on, Zac Taylor did what a playcaller should do for their backup quarterback: Call plays that they can handle. In that Week 12 game, Taylor was still calling plays as if Burrow were still the quarterback but that wasn't the case. From Week 13 on, he called plays that he felt Browning could handle and it paid off.
At one point, the Bengals were 8-6 and in the playoffs. While the wheels fell off in the final few weeks, not all of that can be blamed on Taylor. Injuries were a massive problem for Cincinnati this season and he can hardly control that.
Even with all of the injuries, this team persevered and still managed to finish with a winning record. That's pretty impressive.
Back-to-back AFC Championship appearances
The Bengals have proven to be a loyal team over the years so as soon as the team reached a Super Bowl under him, that pretty much guaranteed him at least three or four more years assuming the team wasn't an embarrassment during that time. The following year, the Bengals got back to the AFC title game and narrowly missed out on a second straight Super Bowl appearance.
While Taylor's first two years at the helm didn't go well, by year three, the Bengals were in the Super Bowl and the following year they were in the AFC title game again. No, year five didn't go according to plan but Burrow getting injured is a big reason why that was the case.
Taylor might not be everyone's favorite coach but he's done something in Cincinnati that no head coach had been able to do since Sam Wyche, which was get the team to a Super Bowl. He's not going anywhere nor should he.