Mike Brown is trying to change but it’s hard for a zebra to change it’s stripes. Mike Brown needs to let general manager Duke Tobin spend big money for free agents outside of Cincinnati. Most Bengals fans including myself would tell you the franchise needed a change ever since the 2015 playoff meltdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers (that I just happened to be in attendance for at Paul Brown Stadium). Marvin Lewis’ message had become stale and enabling. His favorite players translated to players felt comfortable and there was no competition.
After a disenchanting 6-10 finish for the 2018 season and plummeting attendance, Mike Brown had to get rid Marvin Lewis as head coach. Brown finally made a bold move giving Tobin the blessing to find a new head coach. Insert the young innovative offensive mind in Zac Taylor from the Sean McVay’s coaching tree. Marvin Lewis patrolled Cincinnati’s sidelines for nearly two decades, 16 seasons to be exact. The NFL is a copycat league, Lewis was a defensive minded coach. The current trend in the NFL is high scoring spread offenses that college football offensive schematics have influenced.
Taylor is a former quarterback who played for University of Nebraska who came up through the coaching ranks through the Miami Dolphins, University of Cincinnati Bearcats and a short stint with Texas A&M, finally finishing up in Los Angeles under Sean McVay’s tutelage which made Taylor a hot commodity in NFL head coaching searches. Taylor, a 35-year-old offensive guru, will be calling the plays on on Cincinnati’s sideline. With Taylor being tied up with the offensive side of the ball it was important for Taylor and the Bengals to follow the McVay’s blueprint and hire an experienced defensive coordinator with head coaching experience to compensate for Taylor’s lack of experience as a head coach.
Taylor got a late start filling out his coaching staff due to a Super Bowl run on Sean McVay’s staff as the quarterbacks coach, the concern in Cincinnati was not of Taylor’s choices for the offensive coaching staff, but on the defensive side of the ball. After a drawn out search for a defensive coordinator Taylor passed on Jack Del Rio in favor of Lou Anarumo. This hire did not check the head coaching experience box, with Anarumo not having any prior head coaching experience. Taylor countered with a “key hire” of Mark Duffner, senior defensive assistan, an experienced former head coach I can remember as head coach of the Maryland Terrapins when I was living in Maryland. Duffner also has coaching stops in Jacksonville, Green Bay, Miami and Tampa Bay. Duffner, a 65-year-old, brings the veteran experience to help galvanize the Bengals coaching on the defensive side of the ball.
The key to any team is ownership, in Los Angeles Sean McVay has billionaire Stan Kroenke whom is willing to pay for big name free agents to put the Rams over the top. Insert Mike Brown, I referenced earlier it’s hard for a zebra to change it’s stripes and for Brown, yes, you hired a new innovative offensive minded head coach in Taylor, but like Bill Parcells said years ago, “I can’t build a winner if you aren’t going to allow me to buy the groceries.” Will Mike Brown continue to run the Bengals like a family business, or let daughter Katie and son-in-law Troy Blackburn along with Tobin start running the Bengals like a first-class organization? That decision will make or break Taylor’s era in Cincinnati, Ohio with the Bengals.