It can’t be easy working for the Cincinnati Bengals sometimes. Even during their recent period of success, which saw them reach to playoffs in six straight seasons—something I believe only the New England Patriots have done recently—the criticism was always that they couldn’t win in the playoffs (and to be fair, they didn’t).
This offseason, with second-year head coach Zac Taylor holding the first-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, a number of people from all over the map have swooped in to take shots at the organization, often singling out owner Mike Brown and casting doubt on whether or not he is even overly interested in seeing the franchise that he owns win games and be successful.
Over the past four seasons since that run of postseason appearances, they have consistently fielded losing records. They won at least six games in the first three years, but then bottomed out at 2-14 last season in Taylor’s first year on the job. And now he’s been tasked with responding to the criticism.
“You wouldn’t be coaching in this league if you weren’t committed to winning. I think that’s a little bit of a silly narrative there, because we’re doing everything we can to be a championship-caliber team”, he told reporters back at the Combine. “If you come in our building, and you feel the energy from our scouting department, our coaches, our players, you would have no question about that. I think the players that get a chance to spend time with the players we have on our roster and this coaching staff will know that people want to be on board with and there are great days ahead for the Bengals”.
The primary motivation behind these public ‘attacks’, if you would like to call them that, was because of outsiders not wanting to see LSU quarterback Joe Burrow go to a place where they felt he would be wasting his career in an organization that will not do whatever it can to surround him with a winning team.
That only fueled speculation over whether or not Burrow would in any way attempt to get the Bengals not to draft him, or to demand a trade if they did. While he was too vague in his initial answers, he did finally make it clear during the Combine that if Cincinnati drafted him, he would be their quarterback.