Finally official: Zac Taylor announced as 2019 Cincinnati Bengals head coach

Fletcher Page
Cincinnati Enquirer

As expected, the Cincinnati Bengals officially announced Zac Taylor will become the 10th head coach in franchise history. 

The confirmation came Monday after weeks of speculation and tip-toeing around the inevitable. Taylor, the former Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach, became the Bengals' choice last month following an interview in advance of the NFC Wildcard Playoff Round, a week after the team parted ways with long-time coach Marvin Lewis. 

“I am happy and fortunate to join the Cincinnati Bengals as head coach,” Taylor said in a statement. “This is a great organization with good people and a rich history, and I am excited to get started. I am looking to add to that history by setting high standards, and holding everyone here accountable to those standards. There is a lot of work to do, and this is Day 1. We’re going to attack every day with enthusiasm to get this team ready to go.”

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His task is to snap the league's longest playoff win drought, dating back 28 years to Jan. 6, 1991. 

“Zac is a bright coach with an offensive mind and background, which is important to have in today’s NFL,” said Bengals president Mike Brown. “And he’s young. He embraces new ideas and new ways to do things, which will be a good thing for us. I believe our team will be exciting and fun to watch with him at the helm.”

Per NFL rules, the announcement had to wait until after the Rams season ended. That happened Sunday in the Super Bowl when the Patriots defense stifled quarterback Jared Goff and the Rams offense in a 13-3 victory. 

"It’s tough," Taylor told The Enquirer after the game. "That’s a good team. Good defense. Sometimes things just won’t go your way and you try to solve it throughout the game, it just wasn’t our night tonight."

The move puts the Bengals on the same track as many teams around the league. Taylor, 35, is an up-and-coming offensive mind yet to prove himself at any level as a head coach. Of the eight coaches hired by teams this offseason, six have an offensive background, with four of those having never led a team at the professional level. Taylor's inexperience extends in that he served as offensive coordinator and called plays only in an interim basis for a few months with the Miami Dolphins in 2015 and for one season in '16 at the University of Cincinnati. 

But he comes to the Bengals from the Sean McVay tree.

McVay, the youngest coach in the league and youngest ever to lead a team to the Super Bowl (he turned 33 last month), turned the Rams into an offensive powerhouse and threat to win the title in just two seasons on the job. Taylor was on staff for the turnaround (the Rams went 4-12 the season before McVay arrived in 2016), serving as assistant wide receivers coach in 2017 and helping Goff emerge as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL this season. 

Goff set career highs with 32 passing touchdowns, 4688 yards passing and a 64.9 percent completion rate. His 8.4 yards per pass attempt ranked fourth in the league. 

The Bengals hope Taylor brings McVay's high-powered offense with him. But Taylor said he learned more about what it takes to lead a team from McVay during his time in Los Angeles. 

“Non-football, the way that he treats people,” said Taylor last week in Atlanta. “That way that he treats every person in the building and affects them and motivates them. You want to take your game to a higher level because of the way he treats you and the respect he gives you. You always feel valued. Any time you have a leader at the top of your organization that makes the people feel valued, you get the best out of everybody.”

Jon Gruden said last month at the Senior Bowl that Brian Callahan was leaving his spot as Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach to become the Bengals offensive coordinator. It has been reported special teams coodinator Darrin Simmons, quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, safeties coach Robert Livingston, cornerbacks coach Daronte Jones and wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell will remain as holdovers from Lewis' staff. 

The Bengals will pick 11th overall in this year's NFL Draft and, according to director of player personnel Duke Tobin, could select as many as 11 times.