Dan Orlovsky says if he could pick an under-25 player in the NFL, it would be Justin Herbert (1:15)
Can’t blame the Cincinnati Bengals coach for finally slipping a bit of cynicism after a fifth straight loss, this one routed 30-7 by the Dallas Cowboys in December 13 Instead, Taylor chuckled lightly at his post-match press conference, shook his head, and assured his virtual audience that yes, optimism still existed.
Taylor’s cheerful disposition has been unwavering despite a 4-24-1 coaching record in two seasons.This is a hallmark not only of his coaching style, but of his overall demeanor
This optimism is tested by reality Starting with their clash against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football (8:15 pm ET, ESPN), the Bengals will need a surprise in their last three games to avoid Another Two-Winning Season A losing ending will raise the big question surrounding Taylor: Does he deserve a third season at Cincinnati?
But winning could be easier than shaking Taylor, 37, over his belief and belief in what the team do
“It may be hard for people to believe given our history of winning and losing, but there will be incredible days ahead and I will remember those days,” Taylor said the day after the loss. cowboys “I think a lot of people will forget about them when we play for championships and play for division titles and you see great things on the pitch from our guys.”
In Cincinnati, that idea could be as far-fetched as replacing the Brent Spence Bridge or the Bengals building an indoor practice facility The franchise hasn’t won a playoff game since January 1991 or reached the playoffs since 2015
The Bengals hired Taylor, whose previous best NFL experience was as an interim offensive coordinator with the Miami Dolphins for five games in 2015, with the vision the 35-year-old could change all of that.
Taylor’s penchant for finding the silver lining in everything is a default, even during a 2-10-1 campaign and a season-ending knee injury to rookie quarterback Joe Burrow It’s a trait the former Nebraska quarterback learned from his parents, but especially his mother, Julie
“She always told me I was going to win the Heisman Trophy and be the first choice in the draft,” said Taylor, who was not drafted and has never played in a professional game. “She was lying to me, but I think she really believed it”
This optimism was evident in his first season as the head of the Cincinnati rebuilding project When Taylor, who is also the offensive player, spoke of pieces that didn’t work in 2019, he didn’t often sought to know why they had failed Instead, he saw the design for what it could be – a block here, a run there and suddenly a 2-yard loss becomes a big play or a touchdown.
Even on a day when nothing happened against Dallas in Week 15, that hasn’t changed With nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Cincinnati had a touchdown in the run canceled by a waiting penalty The score could have reduced the Bengals’ deficit to six Instead, the player got stuck after a failed fourth attempt
Are you ready for football? Play for FREE and answer Monday night gaming questions every week Take your pick
Taylor spoke of the missed opportunity for the squad to show how close they were It was another example of the young coach looking into what happened in another loss
Bengals defensive tackle Christian Covington, who was acquired in a trade just before the start of the season, said Taylor’s outlook could be “calming” and “uplifting” for a year, no one thought that would also be bad
“Whatever the results of our games, he has always been there to be that support, to be the optimistic voice we need in times of uncertainty and in times of defeat that we have had to go through,” Covington said
Bengals safety Jessie Bates, a 2018 second-round selection who could be the Bengals’ first pick to make the Pro Bowl since Tyler Eifert (2013), said Taylor’s post in recent weeks has highlighted the importance of high-character guys in the locker room This was a major point of Taylor’s first full offseason in Cincinnati
“Unfortunately it didn’t match in wins because we have good guys in the locker room,” said Bates “But I think one of the key parts of creating the right environment here is to having good guys He just keeps preaching how close we really are “
But there comes a time when reality is impossible to ignore As Bates pointed out, good teams are able to overcome difficulties and win games
Taylor has the worst winning percentage of any coach in Bengals history Cincinnati has played 15 games decided by eight points or less The Bengals have lost 13 – by far the most in the NFL during that time, according to ESPN Stats and Information
Last offseason, the Bengals front office poured out the most money ever in free agency to improve the defensive tackle list DJ Reader ($ 53 million) and cornerback Trae Waynes ($ 42 million) are among several key players who have spent most of the season in the reserve injured Since Burrow was injured in Week 11, the Bengals haven’t scored more than one offensive touchdown in a game and are ranked last in points per game (103) and yards per game (220)
There has been no indication from the front office regarding Taylor’s status But it is essential that he has a strong ally at Burrow, who has shown promise before his injury
The show will air live at 7:30 p.m. ET every Sunday during the season and will be available on demand weekly until late Wednesday night Watch on ESPN
“I think we have a really good thing going on,” Burrow said on Oct 28 of the relationship with Taylor and the offensive coaches “We’re going to keep building on it and start winning a few games but Zac is a coach awesome I’m delighted to be with him “
If Taylor makes it through 2021, he will have to find a way to reconcile his optimism with undeniable results.It’s a self-assessment process that requires brutal honesty
“You have to be critical of yourself,” Taylor said. “You have to be critical of some things that you really believe strongly in”
But for Taylor, that doesn’t include a grim outlook Despite all the defeats and terror that have surrounded the Bengals for decades, Taylor remains optimistic about the future
Ebene News – USA – “He’s not a character”: Two-win reality for Bengals doesn’t match Zac’s optimism Taylor