Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay has taken the NFL by storm—sort of. The young head coach has had a lot of success very early on in his career, inheriting a generally bad team, albeit with one how had just drafted a first-overall quarterback, taking them to the playoffs in each of his first two seasons, including to the Super Bowl, albeit in defeat, this past year.
The league has unofficially acknowledged him as the future archetype of NFL coaches, which has ignited the search for ‘the next McVay’, with a few coaches already getting jobs as head coaches in part due to their connections with him.
That includes new Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor, who has been on McVay’s staff for the past two years, including this past season as Jared Goff’s quarterbacks coach. But while he frequently talks about what he has learned from McVay and what he wants to adapt into his own style, he insists that he is not going to try to be him.
“If I try to be Sean McVay, I’m going to fail. To be quite honest with you, we’re different people”, he admitted. “I’ve learned a lot from him, but I’m going to be Zac Taylor and do the best I can my way. And not my way, it’s the Cincinnati Bengals way, right? Everyone’s on the same page and we’re going to get the most out of everybody here”.
“Sean is a very dynamic personality”, Taylor said. “He walks in front of a room and he energizes that room. And that’s Sean’s personality. I’m a little more reserved”, he admitted. “So I’m not going to try to be Sean. Sean is spectacular in his own way and I’m going to do it the way I feel most comfortable with and has got me to this point”.
McVay is inheriting a team that has posted a losing record for three straight years, but which is largely the same team that went the postseason in five straight years from 2011 through 2015. Injuries were involved in some of the recent struggles, but there was also believe that Marvin Lewis’ approach and message had grown stagnant.
Taylor may prove to be a seismic shift for the Bengals, an extremely offensive-minded coach after better than a decade and a half of Lewis’ defensive focus. He even took over the defensive playcalling in the middle of his final season after firing his defensive coordinator.
Taylor, meanwhile, has said that he will be calling his own plays on offense. He will be the third consecutive head coach hired by an AFC North team given that responsibility, as Freddie Kitchens will also do so for the Cleveland Browns, and Hue Jackson also called his plays in his first two seasons with the Browns.