Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor has unquestionably done a great job of reviving his early reputation as a leader over the past two years. Or at least his franchise quarterback, Joe Burrow, has done it for him. Either way, he’s suddenly a success. He has two division titles in that time and two conference finals appearances, five playoff victories, and he nearly claimed a Super Bowl title.
Now five years into his head coaching career, he still has an overall losing record because of how poorly his first three seasons went, but that’s bound to flip in 2023 and beyond. Still 39 years old, he’s got plenty of coaching left in front of him and he’s hoping he’s able to do that in Cincinnati…until the day he dies.
“They’re gonna have to carry me out of here in a casket”, he told HuskersOnline in an interview last week. “I love it. Just specifically in Cincinnati. It’s a really good fit for my family and myself. Just with myself and the other coaches and ownership and Duke Tobin. I can’t imagine myself anywhere else, so they’ll have to kick me out of here”.
Taylor’s first job in the NFL came in 2012 as an assistant quarterbacks coach for the Miami Dolphins. He was promoted to quarterbacks coach the following year and briefly served as interim offensive coordinator at the end of the 2015 season before taking a coordinator job in college for the Cincinnati Bearcats.
After one year out of the league, he hooked up with Sean McVay’s staff, spending two seasons with the Los Angeles Rams. He was the assistant wide receivers coach in 2017 before serving as quarterbacks coach to Jared Goff in 2018.
The Rams made the Super Bowl that season but lost to the New England Patriots. And then lost their quarterbacks coach to the Bengals as their new head coach. But Los Angeles and McVay would claim their sought-after Super Bowl title at the end of the 2021 season by defeating Taylor’s Bengals on a last-minute game-winning drive.
But Los Angeles posted a losing record this past season while the Bengals finished 12-4 and reached the conference finals for a second year in a row. They did fall short of the eventual champion Kansas City Chiefs, the game ending on a last-minute field goal aided by a very untimely and very avoidable penalty.
But how many teams are better positioned to make another run at the Super Bowl in 2023, or really the next few seasons generally? Yes, they need to get Burrow signed, but they’ve been positioning themselves to do that since they drafted him.
They have one of the most complete rosters in the league, at least entering the offseason. They have some key free agents to consider, but they should have little difficulty fielding a title-contending 53 by the time September rolls around, barring health. No wonder Taylor won’t give up the chair.