Zac Taylor has been hired as the new head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals and Taylor’s first important task is to fill out his assistant coaching staff. Brian Callahan will be the offensive coordinator coming over from the Oakland Raiders, the interesting nugget is that Taylor stated he will be the play caller, which is no surprise for the former Nebraska quarterback. Let’s see how well Taylor can manage a game being a first-time head coach along with calling plays.
Taylor’s staff is beginning to take shape, special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons has been retained from the Marvin Lewis regime. The quarterbacks coach will be Alex Van Pelt, wide receivers coach will be Bob Bicknell, James Casey will be tight ends coach and cornerbacks coach will be Daronte Jones.
Here are the key positional coaches that will make or break Taylor’s staff. Offensive and defensive coordinators along with both offensive and defensive line coaches. To win in football you must have elite offensive and defensive lines added with great coaches to develop linemen on both sides of the ball. The Bengals will need to improve on offense from the No. 26 ranked attack and they need to figure something out on defense as they ranked dead last in the NFL in yards allowed.
Insert Jim Turner who was a part of the culture and former offensive line coach for the Miami Dolphins that fostered “bully gate” with Richie Incognito bullying Jonathan Martin. Turner has also been accused of sexist presentations at a women’s event at Texas A&M where Turner coached at the time. A checkered past that does not seem to be a good hire even though Taylor says Turner is a man of good character and trusts Turner after working with Turner at A&M and the University of Cincinnati. The Bengals recently let go former offensive line coach Frank Pollack who helped orchestrate the dominant Dallas Cowboys offensive line. Hopefully the media are wrong, but it does seem this was a fail at offensive line coach.
Taylor needs to hire an elite defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. Since Taylor is a former quarterback whose expertise lies on offense it will be imperative for Taylor to find veteran defensive coaches that Taylor can trust to run the defensive side of the ball, especially on gameday with Taylor being so consumed with offensive play calling duties for the first time head coach.
If Taylor finds the right coaches there is no reason why this talented Cincinnati team can’t win a playoff game next season.