As expected, former Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor has landed the Bengals head coaching job.
The news comes as no surprise. It was initially reported early last month, but the Bengals could not hire Taylor until the Rams’ postseason was over. Now that it ended with the Rams' 13-3 loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII, the 35-year-old former Nebraska quarterback can officially take the reins in Cincinnati.
Taylor draws immediate comparisons to his previous boss, Rams head coach Sean McVay, because of his age and his offensive approach.
McVay is such a hot coach that several teams have attempted to hire the “next Sean McVay” this year. That's why Taylor joins the ranks of other potentially meteoric risers in an unusual coaching cycle that has also seen Kliff Kingsbury
, Matt LaFleur and Freddie Kitchens all land jobs despite lacking extensive experience as a coordinator.
Taylor's leap will be just as great, if not greater, considering he's spent the last two seasons with the Rams as a position coach (wide receivers in 2017 and quarterbacks in 2018) and is 35 years old. He has served as an OC in an interim role back in 2015 as part of interim head coach Dan Campbell
's staff in Miami. He then moved to the collegiate ranks to take the same position at the University
It's still an exciting hire for Cincinnati because it's a head coach not named Marvin Lewis, who parted ways with the Bengals after 16 seasons at the helm. It took Cincinnati a lot to make a change, but Taylor stands to potentially invigorate a franchise that felt stale in recent seasons and still has enough offensive talent to produce some immediate success.
With Taylor overseeing Jared Goff
, the Rams went 13-3 and ranked fifth in the NFL this season with 282 passing yards per game.
Meanwhile, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden told reporters at the Senior Bowl that Brian Callahan was leaving his staff to become the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati.
Callahan was hired as the Raiders quarterbacks coach last offseason, after stints with the Lions and Broncos. Of course, Taylor will likely call plays, but it could be a first step toward a family reunion for Callahan. There have been reports that Taylor also wants to bring Brian’s father, longtime NFL assistant Bill Callahan in as well. Callahan is working for Washington at the moment.
For what it's worth, A.J. Green
, surgery on his right foot after a season-ending toe injury, told reporters late last month that he doesn’t know much about Taylor, but said he was “very excited” about the possibilities (as everyone is when they hire someone who knows McVay).
“We’ve got a new spark, made some changes. It’s going to be fun,” Green said. “It will definitely be a big change, more change than I’m used to. Coach Lewis has been here my first eight years. It’s all I know. It’s going to be tough not having him. But it’s that spark we needed I guess, so we’ll see how it goes.”
For what it's worth, Green should be able to participate in it, since his recovery was expected to be a four-month process.