Don’t look now, but the Cincinnati Bengals are currently one of the feel-good stories of the 2021 season, having opened their new campaign at an impressive and unexpected 3-1. The Bengals are just one win away from matching their 2020 total, and three wins away from equalizing their combined win total over their past two seasons.
Zac Taylor has fielded a Bengals team that is showing terrific growth through the first quarter of the new year. Head coaches often discuss the importance of finding ways to win, and that's exactly what Taylor's team is doing, having pulled out a three-point overtime victory in Week 1, and more recently reigning victorious over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night in last-second and breathtaking fashion.
That's not to say the Bengals are simply squeaking out victories. The Pittsburgh Steelers have their issues, but it was still noteworthy to watch Cincinnati march into Heinz Field and thoroughly dominate one of their oldest foes to the tune of 24-10 in Week 3.
Taylor entered the season with a lot to prove to his bosses and Cincinnati’s fan base. The time to deliver a winning product was quite literally now or never. This is an ever-changing business, and Taylor's job currently appears safer than ever before, although his mission is not yet complete. If the Bengals fail to build upon their current momentum by squandering away the early-season advantage they've earned themselves, the finger will almost undoubtedly be pointed at Taylor, and he'll likely find himself on the unemployment line in January. But there's no point in dealing with "what ifs" while Taylor has the Bengals winning games and performing in admirable fashion.
Taylor's appointment as Cincinnati's head honcho was initially met with widespread negativity, with many critics labeling it as an undeserving hire that was simply rooted in his closeness with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay. At the time, every team in the league wanted a piece of that McVay magic, and Taylor seemed to benefit from his working relationship with McVay with a rapid-fire rise through the coaching ranks. The early results were poor and beyond any Bengals fan's worst nightmare. Taylor crawled to a nightmarish 6-25-1 record during his first two years as Cincinnati’s head coach and many wondered if he'd even receive a third opportunity.
General manager Duke Tobin along with his ownership group choose to stay patient by rewarding Taylor with what many deemed to be one final opportunity in 2021, and the 38-year-old Taylor is rewarding their composure by delivering an exciting, and more importantly, winning product on the field.
- Feb 03, 2023
- Feb 02, 2023