2. Zac Taylor (2019-Present)
This will be controversial to many Bengals fans, especially the new ones, but there are a few reasons why Marvin Lewis remains a better coach than Zac Taylor. Now, this isn’t going to be a reaming of Taylor, he’s not a bad coach. He does have a long way to go though.
As stated before a coach is only as good as his quarterback. A great coach can be saddled with a bad quarterback and won’t win (just look at the Patriots in 2023). Taylor’s first season as head coach was with Andy Dalton past his prime.
The Bengals went 2-14 earning them the first overall pick in the 2020 draft. With a thank you from fans, the Bengals and Dalton parted ways and Taylor and Co. drafted Joe Burrow out of LSU. Burrow struggled but looked promising until Week 11 when he tore his ACL and MCL.
Going into the 2021 season expectations weren’t high, but Taylor and Burrow earned Cincinnati their first playoff win in 30 years and a trip to the Super Bowl. It was an improbable run that put Cincy in the contenders' circle for years to come.
However, despite all that success, Taylor has struggled when he does not have Burrow. He also struggles when Burrow isn’t 100% as evidenced by early in the 2023 season. Taylor's play calling is more than frustrating.
Burrow at 100% is good enough to overcome Taylor's cute playcalling. He creates second chances and flies over defenses hitting Ja'Marr Chase deep. The offense was abysmal when his calf was hurting him and he couldn’t do the things that make him successful.
Burrow has elevated Taylor, not the other way around.