Zac Taylor

Bengals Sign Zac Taylor To Extension

Zac Taylor is going to stay awhile. On Wednesday morning, the Bengals announced a brand new extension for their head coach that will take him through the 2026 season. 

[RELATED: Burrow Avoids Serious Injury]

Zac has come into the league and worked to develop the foundations for a winning program that can be successful over time,” said Bengals president Mike Brown. “The fruits of Zac’s efforts were seen this year, and Zac is well-regarded by our players and coaches. I know the effort and passion Zac brings to the building and to our team, and I am pleased by his approach. And I think the city of Cincinnati sees him the way the players and I do. He’s brought excitement to the town and deserves credit and recognition for that.”

The news comes as no surprise, following the Bengals’ Super Bowl appearance. After years of disappointing finishes, the Bengals are clearly on the right track with Taylor at the helm. Of course, the last two years were a different story. Taylor’s teams went 6-25-1 between 2019 and 2020, but the franchise’s decision to stick by him has paid off.

If I coached in any other organization in football, I probably wouldn’t be here right now in my third year. That’s the truth,” Taylor said during the postseason.

Taylor, 38, became one of the youngest coaches in Super Bowl history this year. With Joe Burrow under center and Offensive Rookie of the Year Ja’Marr Chase at wide receiver, Taylor’s Bengals will head into 2022 as an early championship favorite. Meanwhile, more extensions are expected for coaches including wide receivers coach Troy Walters, D-line coach Marion Hobby, tight ends coach James Casey, DC Lou Anarumo, and OC Brian Callahan.

AFC Coaching Notes: Bengals, Broncos, Texans, Jaguars

While Super Bowl LVI didn’t go the way the Bengals wanted, their 2021 postseason run demonstrated that they are set to be a force in the AFC for years to come. One of the results of their success is not only an expected contract extension for head coach Zac Taylor, but a number of assistants on his staff as well.

As Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network writes, the list of coaches receiving new deals includes at least five names. On the offensive side of the ball, wide receivers coach Troy Walters is listed; he jumped into coaching almost immediately after an eight-year playing career, and has worked with the Bengals’ wideouts since joining the team in 2020. The other offensive assistant is tight ends coach James Casey, who has coached that position (after playing it himself in the NFL) since 2017. He has been in Cincinnati for the past three seasons.

Defensively, new deals are forthcoming for linebackers coach Al Golden and defensive line coach Marion Hobby. The former has been coaching since 1993, between the college and NFL ranks, including the last two years with the Bengals. The latter is equally experienced, and coached the position in Cincinnati this year, after four seasons doing the same in Jacksonville and Miami. Wilson adds that strength and conditioning coach Joey Boese is the final name on the list.

Here are some other coaching notes from around the AFC:

  • Nathaniel Hackett‘s new staff continues to take shape in Denver. Wilson tweets that Tyrone Wheatley is the new running backs coach. He has previously coached the position at four colleges, including Michigan, as well as the Bills and Jaguars. He was most recently the head coach at Morgan State.
  • The other offensive addition in Denver is Jake Moreland, who is taking over as tight ends coach, according to 9News’ Mike Klis (Twitter link). The 45-year-old’s first NFL coaching gig came with the Jets this past season, serving as an assistant offensive line coach. Klis notes that his background is the same as fellow newcomer Ben Steele.
  • Defensively, the Broncos are adding Bert Watts to their staff. He was most recently the associate head coach at Auburn, but he also held the titles of special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach. The latter will be his purview in Denver, where he was an assistant in 2012 (Twitter link via ESPN’s Dan Graziano).
  • The Texans have made an interesting hire on their offensive staff. Wilson tweets that Ted White, who was a quarterback during the days of NFL Europe, and also in the CFL, has been hired as an offensive assistant. His coaching career includes stints at five college programs, and most recently in the XFL, with a background in working with QBs.
  • Graziano tweets that Jacques Cesaire is coming to Houston as their defensive line coach. The former Charger defensive end began coaching in San Diego in 2015, also spending two years with the Bills as an assistant at that same position.
  • Finally, Deshea Townsend is being hired by the Jaguars, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). This comes as a surprise, since he was expected to join the Vikings’ staff, but changed course due to a perceived sense he’ll get a “bigger role within the defense” in Jacksonville (Twitter link via Chris Tomasson of The St. Paul Pioneer Press). He has previously worked with cornerbacks with five different teams, including four in the NFL, Chicago being the most recent.

Sean McVay, Zac Taylor In Line For Extensions; Latest On Rams’ Coaching Staff

Rams HC Sean McVay and Bengals HC Zac Taylor, who will be squaring off in Super Bowl LVI tonight, will be in line for contract extensions this offseason, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter).

We had already heard that Cincinnati was planning a new deal for Taylor, who has only one year left on his contract. Schefter does, however, remind us that Taylor — the former McVay disciple — is presently the lowest-paid head coach in the NFL, with a $3.75MM annual salary (Twitter link). Obviously, that will change soon.

McVay, meanwhile, was recently the subject of some idle speculation that he was contemplating leaving the coaching ranks, but he has put those rumors to bed. He is under contract through 2023 as a result of the extension he signed in 2019, a deal that elevated him from one of the league’s lowest-paid head coaches to a salary that, per Joe Rivera of the Sporting News, is believed to be in the $8.5MM ballpark. Another extension might mean an eight-figure annual income for McVay.

The 36-year-old head coach has compiled a 55-26 regular season record, three NFC West titles, and two NFC championships during his five-year run. The success that he and his clubs have enjoyed have made other teams anxious to poach his staffers, and that has happened again in 2022, with OC Kevin O’Connell set to become head coach of the Vikings and secondary coach/passing game coordinator Ejiro Evero heading to Denver to become the Broncos’ defensive coordinator.

As Schefter reports in a full-length piece, O’Connell is likely to bring Rams tight ends coach/passing game coordinator Wes Phillips with him to Minnesota to serve as the Vikes’ offensive coordinator or passing game coordinator. Schefter names Kentucky OC Liam Coen — a Rams staffer from 2018-20 — as a “prime candidate” to replace O’Connell, though RB coach Thomas Brown could also garner consideration for the soon-to-be-vacant OC job. Yet another candidate is Greg Olson, who spent the last four seasons as the Raiders’ OC but who was the Rams’ QB coach in 2017, McVay’s first season as HC.

Whether it’s to become Los Angeles’ new OC or to reprise his role as QB coach, Olson is expected to rejoin McVay’s staff in 2022.

Bengals Planning Zac Taylor Extension

In charge of one of the longest-odds Super Bowl entrants in NFL history, Zac Taylor has transformed his career this season. The third-year Bengals HC has gone from the hot seat to extension candidate.

The Bengals are indeed preparing to give their young coach a new contract, with Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com reporting the surprise Super Bowl team is planning to extend Taylor soon after Sunday’s game.

The ex-Sean McVay disciple was 6-25-1 as a head coach coming into this season and had only a partial year of NFL OC work (with the 2015 Dolphins) under his belt. Rumors about Taylor’s firing emerged, but Mike Brown opted to keep his play-caller for a third season. Taylor’s offense took a significant step forward, and Joe Burrow‘s ACL recovery went historically well — despite the burgeoning-superstar quarterback leading the NFL in sacks taken — to the point the Bengals have reached the third Super Bowl in franchise history.

Taylor’s offense features Burrow and near-lock Offensive Rookie of the Year winner Ja’Marr Chase, with Tee Higgins taking a step forward as well. Burrow and his skill-position troops compensated for Cincinnati’s below-average O-line, which the AFC champions will surely aim to bolster in the offseason. Cincinnati’s offense ranked seventh in scoring this season — the team’s highest mark since 2015.

At 38, Taylor is one of the youngest coaches in Super Bowl history. The Bengals, of course, have a track record of patience with their head coaches. Most notably, Brown gave Marvin Lewis 16 seasons — far more than most expected — after the latter turned the team around in the 2000s.

Cincinnati is also planning to keep most of Taylor’s staff. Extensions are in the works for several assistants, per Wilson, who notes wide receivers coach Troy Walters, linebackers coach Al Golden, D-line coach Marion Hobby and tight ends coach James Casey are among those set to receive new deals. Re-ups for DC Lou Anarumo and OC Brian Callahan should be expected as well. Each received moderate interest on this year’s coaching carousel, with Anarumo interviewing with the Giants and Callahan with the Broncos — former employers for each — and no other teams.

Poll: Who Will Be First Head Coach To Lose Their Job?

We know, we know…it’s probably a bit early to speculate about the job security of NFL head coaches. However, let’s not forget Bum Phillips‘ famous (supposed) quote: “There’s two kinds of coaches, them that’s fired and them that’s gonna be fired.”

[RELATED: The Longest-Tenured Head Coaches In The NFL]

Even with the start of the NFL season more than a month away, a handful of head coaches already find themselves on the hot seat. Nowadays, it isn’t all that hard to determine which head coaches are at risk of losing their jobs. You can pretty much remove the 12 first- and second-year coaches, and you can definitely remove the successful, long-term coaches (the likes of Bill Belichick, Sean Payton, etc.).

That leaves about 15 coaches with at least two years of tenure but fewer than eight years of tenure (yes, we chose eight to shoehorn Andy Reid into the “definitively safe” section but not the likes of Mike Zimmer). Have those coaches had successful teams? You can remove them from the list. Have those coaches continually shown improvement? You can probably remove them from the list, too. Have those coaches’ teams disappointed or underwhelmed, especially recently? Ding ding ding…those are the coaches on the hot seat.

As we all know, those on the hot seat either redeem themselves and save their jobs or…ultimately get canned. So, that brings us to today’s question: which head coach will be fired first? We used Bovada’s top-three options below, but we’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Matt Nagy, Bears

Following a 12-4 campaign to begin his coaching career, Nagy found his seat getting a bit warm following a disappointing 8-8 campaign in 2019. The former Chiefs offensive coordinator didn’t do a whole lot to inspire confidence in 2020. The team finished 8-8 for a second-straight season, and the former QB whisperer found his passing offense ranking in the bottom-half of the NFL in most categories.

The Bears finally bailed on Mitchell Trubisky this past offseason, and they added a pair of QBs to replace him: veteran Andy Dalton and first-round pick Justin Fields. With a solid defense that’s in win-now mode, Nagy will have to get something out of one of these signal-callers if he hopes to retain his job. Considering Dalton’s recent play and Fields’ inexperience, things are looking bleak.

Zac Taylor, Bengals

It’s easy to put an asterisk on the Bengals’ 2020 campaign following the season-ending injury to Joe Burrow, but there’s no denying that Taylor’s staff has now collected an ugly 6-25-1 record through two seasons. There’s really nowhere to go but up for the head coach, but even if the Bengals improve their record in 2021, the team would still have to pass the smell test. Specifically, we should expect the offensive guru to guide Burrow and the rest of the offense to at least an above-average performance, and it’d be encouraging if the defense was able to show some progress after finishing as one of the worst units in the league in 2020.

As we saw with Marvin Lewis, the Bengals organization values continuity. It’s hard to envision the team not giving Taylor at least another full season, but if the team is unable to show any improvement over 2020, then the 38-year-old could find himself without a job.

Vic Fangio, Broncos

There are a number of things working against Fangio and his future in Denver. For starters, he hasn’t done a whole lot during his two seasons at the helm, leading the team to a 12-20 record. Making it worse, the team took a clear step back in 2020, and with a questionable roster on paper, it’s hard to envision the Broncos getting a whole lot better in 2021.

Next, GM George Paton was only recently hired, so he surely won’t be feeling pressure throughout the 2021 season. However, a disappointing campaign could change things. In that hypothetical, you can bet the executive would be looking to right the ship immediately, and that would probably start with the head coach.

The final factor is the uncertain status of Broncos ownership. If the team is ultimately sold, the new owners would presumably be looking to clean house, at least from an on-field perspective. That means Fangio would surely be handed his walking papers, even if the team did show some progress in 2021.

For reference, the next four head coaches listed by Bovada are Jon Gruden (Raiders), Mike Zimmer (Vikings), Matt LaFleur (Packers), and Mike McCarthy (Cowboys). Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Joe Burrow Expects To Be Ready For Week 1 Of 2021 Season

The Bengals ended the 2020 campaign on a sour note, a 38-3 blowout loss to the division-rival Ravens. Despite the defeat and the team’s 4-11-1 record, there were some bright spots, most notably the performance of rookie signal-caller Joe Burrow.

Burrow suffered a torn ACL and MCL in Cincinnati’s Week 11 loss to Washington, and he also sustained damage to his meniscus and PCL. Despite the gravity of the injury, Burrow expects to be ready for Week 1 of the 2021 season, as Ben Baby of ESPN.com details.

Speaking to the media for the first time since the injury, Burrow — who underwent surgery on December 2 — says he is past the worst part of his rehab. When asked about his prospects for the start of next season, the 24-year-old passer said, “I think I’ll be ready. I think it’ll be just fine.”

That’s obviously good news for Bengals fans, who are hoping their club can return to competitiveness in a talented AFC North. Reports from November indicated that Burrow was expected to return to action “right around” the start of the 2021 season, but given the extensiveness of the knee damage, there will continue to be concern about Burrow’s availability until he puts on the pads.

With a healthy Burrow in the fold, there is reason for optimism in the Queen City. The former LSU standout, along with RB Joe Mixon and wideouts Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, represent a strong core of skill-position talent, and full seasons from defensive players like D.J. Reader and Trae Waynes would also be a big help. There is still plenty of work to do along the offensive line and in the front seven, but there is at least a foundation to build upon.

There were some rumors that head coach Zac Taylor may not be given the chance to return for a third year at the helm, but team president Mike Brown quickly put an end to those rumblings earlier this week. Burrow, for one, is happy to see his HC return.

“I think Zac is going to be a great coach for a long time,” he said. “I’m happy to be in the position that I’m in and to help build this organization, but it’s going to be on Zac’s back. He’s the leader of what we’re trying to do, and he’s awesome.”

Bengals To Keep Zac Taylor 

The Bengals will bring back Zac Taylor. On Monday, team president Mike Brown announced that the head coach will get a third season at the helm.

Our fans wanted a fresh new direction two years ago, and that is what we aimed to do in hiring a bright, energetic head coach in Zac Taylor,” Brown said in a statement. “We remain bullish on the foundation Zac is building, and we look forward to next year giving our fans the winning results we all want. In Zac’s two years, we have added many new starters and contributors through the draft, we have invested heavily in free agency, and we have acquired a talented young quarterback with a bright future.”

This season we faced challenges with injuries at key positions and missed opportunities. I am proud of our football team for fighting hard through adversity. That adversity and hard work will help us next season. We’ll enter the offseason looking to shore up our weaknesses and amplify the strengths of our talented young core. We are not discouraged, but instead feel motivated and confident that next year will reap the benefits of the work that has been done to date. We must capitalize on the opportunities in front of us. Next year we will earn our stripes.”

Taylor hasn’t had an easy two years in Cincinnati, but there was some encouraging progress in 2020. Despite closing out the year 4-11-1 with a lopsided loss to the Ravens, rookie Joe Burrow looked sharp before his season-ending injury. It’s also worth noting that they’ve been plagued by injuries across the board. On offense, they lost running back Joe Mixon and left tackle Jonah Williams. And, on the other side of the ball, defensive tackle D.J. Reader and cornerback Trae Waynes finished the year on IR.

The Bengals won’t be seeking a new head coach, but plenty of clubs will be. As of this writing, the vacancy list includes the Lions, Falcons, Texans, Jets, Jaguars, and Chargers.

Zac Taylor Not Necessarily Safe?

The Bengals had some momentum with two straight upset victories the past two weeks, and the Ravens promptly vanquished that with a blowout win on Sunday. We had heard a few weeks ago that head coach Zac Taylor was likely to return for a third season, but that’s apparently not set in stone. 

Taylor “may not be as safe as some believe,” Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com writes. Florio adds “there’s a rumor making that rounds that Taylor could be out.” As for what Cincy could be plotting, Florio highlights the potential reunion between Joe Burrow and his college passing guru Joe Brady, who is now the OC in Carolina. Florio think that the Bengals could be spurred to make the plunge if they fear another team will hire Brady this cycle.

Taylor is now 6-25-1 in his first two seasons as coach, and while circumstances obviously haven’t been ideal it’s still hard to defend that record. Cincinnati went after him due to his association with Sean McVay after he spent a couple years on the Rams’ staff as an assistant. The 37-year-old had never been a head coach at any level before getting hired to replace Marvin Lewis.

As Florio points out, one thing working in Taylor’s favor is Bengals brass’ usual conservative nature when it comes to firing coaches. After all, they did keep Lewis around for 16 seasons, and the fact that he’d likely have millions coming his way could be what saves Taylor for another year. If he does stick around, he’ll need a major leap from Burrow and the rest of the team to buy him a fourth season.

Of course, there’s no guarantee Burrow is ready for Week 1 next year after tearing his ACL and damaging other ligaments, so it could be a tough job for whoever is roaming the sidelines in 2021. We should know more about Taylor’s status tomorrow.

Bengals Likely To Keep Zac Taylor For 2021?

Although Zac Taylor‘s 4-23-1 record as Bengals head coach represents one of the worst all-time marks for a coach to start his career, he may not be in jeopardy of losing his job.

Not much buzz has emerged about Taylor being on the hot seat, according to Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano of ESPN.com. Unsurprisingly, Joe Burrow looms at the center of this discussion.

Rumors prior to the Bengals using the No. 1 overall pick centered around the Ohio native being uncertain about the Cincinnati franchise. Despite the severe knee injury the former LSU superstar suffered, Burrow has expressed fondness for his Bengals situation and the franchise’s future, per Fowler and Graziano.

It also does not hurt the Bengals are known for their patience. This was best displayed through Marvin Lewis lasting 16 years as Cincinnati’s head coach without winning a playoff game and David Shula winning 19 games in four-plus seasons. However, the Bengals did fire Dick LeBeau after two-plus seasons, bringing in Lewis. Should Taylor earn a third season, it would stand to reason his seat would be scorching-hot come 2021.

Burrow’s 10-game QBR figure ranks 24th, and the 2019 Heisman winner was in the running for Offensive Rookie of the Year prior to going down. The Bengals, however, have ranked 30th and 29th in points scored under Taylor, who came to Cincinnati with limited play-calling experience. And among coaches who have coached since the 2019 season, Taylor’s four wins rank last. But he may benefit from multiple factors and receive a third year.

Longest-Tenured Head Coaches In The NFL

Things move fast in today’s NFL and the old adage of “coaches are hired to be fired” has seemingly never been more true. For the most part, teams change their coaches like they change their underwear. 

A head coach can take his team to the Super Bowl, or win the Super Bowl, or win multiple Super Bowls, but they’re never immune to scrutiny. Just ask Tom Coughlin, who captured his second ring with the Giants after the 2011 season, only to receive his pink slip after the 2015 campaign.

There are also exceptions. Just look at Bill Belichick, who just wrapped up his 20th season at the helm in New England. You’ll also see a few others on this list, but, for the most part, most of today’s NFL head coaches are relatively new to their respective clubs. And, history dictates that many of them will be elsewhere when we check in on this list in 2022.

Over one-third (12) of the NFL’s head coaches have coached no more than one season with their respective teams. Meanwhile, less than half (15) have been with their current clubs for more than three years. It seems like just yesterday that the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury, right? It sort of was – Kingsbury signed on with the Cardinals in January of 2019. Today, he’s practically a veteran.

Here’s the list of the current head coaches in the NFL, ordered by tenure, along with their respective start dates:

  1. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000
  2. Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints): January 18, 2006
  3. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007
  4. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008
  5. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks): January 9, 2010
  6. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013
  7. Bill O’Brien (Houston Texans): January 2, 2014
  8. Mike Zimmer (Minnesota Vikings): January 15, 2014
  9. Dan Quinn (Atlanta Falcons): February 2, 2015
  10. Doug Pederson (Philadelphia Eagles): January 18, 2016
  11. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017
  12. Doug Marrone (Jacksonville Jaguars): December 19, 2016 (interim; permanent since 2017)
  13. Anthony Lynn (Los Angeles Chargers): January 12, 2017
  14. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017
  15. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017
  16. Matt Nagy (Chicago Bears): January 7, 2018
  17. Matt Patricia (Detroit Lions): February 5, 2018
  18. Frank Reich (Indianapolis Colts): February 11, 2018
  19. Jon Gruden (Las Vegas Raiders): January 6, 2018
  20. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans): January 20, 2018
  21. Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona Cardinals): January 8, 2019
  22. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019
  23. Vic Fangio (Denver Broncos): January 10, 2019
  24. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019
  25. Brian Flores (Miami Dolphins): February 4, 2019
  26. Adam Gase (New York Jets): January 11, 2019
  27. Bruce Arians (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 8, 2019
  28. Ron Rivera (Washington Redskins): January 1, 2020
  29. Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers): January 7, 2020
  30. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  31. Joe Judge (New York Giants): January 8, 2020
  32. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020