Dan Pitcher appeared on multiple teams’ OC interview lists, but the Bengals have long viewed him as their coordinator-in-waiting. With Brian Callahan landing the Titans’ HC job, the Bengals will execute that succession plan.
Cincinnati will indeed elevate Pitcher to become its next OC, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports. Pitcher has been with the team longer than Callahan, and the Marvin Lewis-era addition will now become Zac Taylor‘s right-hand man on offense. The move is now official.
This hire is not as important as some of the other OC changes we will see this offseason. Taylor remains the Bengals’ play-caller, a role he has held since arriving in 2019. But this obviously elevates Pitcher’s stature and gives Taylor a new lead assistant on this side of the ball. Pitcher, 37, has been with the Bengals since 2016 and has been in place as QBs coach since 2020, a rather important year for this franchise.
After Pitcher worked as the Bengals’ assistant QBs coach in Andy Dalton‘s final Ohio season, Taylor elevated him to QBs coach during the offseason that featured the Joe Burrow investment. The Taylor-Callahan-Pitcher trio has helped Burrow become one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, and the former Heisman recipient is exiting this season as the league’s highest-paid player. While Burrow suffered an injury that altered the Bengals’ season, the Bengals’ Wednesday decision will ensure continuity.
Burrow does not have the career achievements of Ken Anderson or Boomer Esiason yet, but his trajectory points toward becoming the best QB in Bengals history. Pitcher being Burrow’s position coach throughout his career has boosted his stock within the organization and in other NFL facilities. Jake Browning‘s run of competent play — after spending his first four years without taking a regular-season snap — also worked in Pitcher’s favor. Browning finished his season having completed an NFL-best 70.4% of his passes, albeit on 243 attempts. Recently promoted from the third-string level, Browning finished with 8.0 yards per attempt this season as well.
The Buccaneers interviewed Pitcher for their OC post last year, and while they hired Dave Canales, Pitcher had bowed out of the interview process early after signing a Bengals extension. That likely came with an understanding he would be Callahan’s replacement. The Saints and Patriots had interviewed Pitcher this year. A Raiders meeting loomed, with the Saints having scheduled a second interview. The outside suitors will need to adjust their lists accordingly.
Charting Pitcher’s progress from the Lewis-Dalton years to now is interesting, given where the Bengals have gone since Burrow began his ascent. This also moves Pitcher into position to be considered for head coaching jobs come 2025. For now, he will attempt to help the Bengals recapture the form that had them as the Chiefs’ top AFC challenger prior to the Burrow setback.