Zac Taylor
refer to caption
Taylor with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2019
Cincinnati Bengals
Position:Head coach
Personal information
Born: (1983-05-10) May 10, 1983 (age 39)
Norman, Oklahoma
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High school:Norman (Norman, Oklahoma)
College:Wake Forest (2002–2003)
Butler CC (2004)
Nebraska (2005–2006)
Undrafted:2007
Career history
As a player:
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
As Player
Head coaching record
Regular season:23–36–1 (.392)
Postseason:3–1 (.750)
Career:26–37–1 (.414)
Coaching stats at PFR

Zachary William Taylor[1] (born May 10, 1983) is an American football coach who is the head coach for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL). Beginning his NFL career as an offensive assistant, he was the quarterbacks coach for the Los Angeles Rams when they made a Super Bowl appearance in Super Bowl LIII. Taylor was named Cincinnati's head coach the following season in 2019, where he went 6–25–1 in his first two years. In 2021, he led the Bengals to their first playoff win since 1990, ending the longest active drought in the four major North American sports, en route to an appearance in Super Bowl LVI, the franchise's first since 1988.[2]

College career

Early collegiate career

Despite Taylor's record-setting career at Norman High School in Norman, Oklahoma, few colleges recruited him. Even his hometown school, the Oklahoma Sooners, passed him over. In 2002, he signed with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, where he redshirted his first year and filled in as a backup position the next, completing the only pass he attempted in those two years. From there he transferred to Butler Community College in Kansas, where he had a breakout season, leading Butler to the NJCAA championship game and earning second-team NJCAA All-American honors.

Nebraska

After his 2004 season Taylor looked at multiple NCAA Division I schools, including Memphis, Marshall and Nebraska. Nebraska had abandoned their long standing running/option offense for an entirely new, West Coast offense led by newly appointed coach Bill Callahan. The Huskers had a rebuilding season in 2004, going 5–6 and missing a bowl bid for the first time since 1968. His recruitment late in the 2004–05 off-season by the Huskers was described as a "lucky break" due to the Huskers' lack of quarterbacks at the time.

Taylor had a rough start, statistically speaking, in his 2005 year at Nebraska, completing 39 of 89 passes for 399 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions in his first three games. In his fourth game however, Taylor had a breakout day against Iowa State, throwing for a school record 431 yards on 36 of 55 passing with two touchdowns. The 36 completions was also a school record at the time.[3] He would struggle again five weeks later throwing for only 117 yards against Kansas as the Cornhuskers lost to the Jayhawks for the first time in 37 years. He would have up and down performances throughout the season, ending in a 30–3 win against Colorado where he threw 392 yards,[4] and a come-from-behind 32–28 win against the Michigan Wolverines in the Alamo Bowl, where he threw a Nebraska bowl record 3 touchdown passes.[5] Taylor broke the school record for passing yards in a season with 2,653 yards on 55.1% of his passes being complete.

In his 2006 opener against Louisiana Tech, Taylor showed significant improvement over his season-opener the previous year, completing 22 of 33 attempts for 287 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.[6] The game after, against Nicholls State, Taylor once again showed his precision in passing the ball, finishing 19 of 23 for 202 yards and a new career-best in four touchdown passes.[7]

Taylor led the Nebraska Cornhuskers to a record of 9–3 with an appearance in the 2006 Big 12 Championship Game, facing off against the Oklahoma Sooners.[8][9] Taylor passed for 2,789 yards and 24 touchdown passes during the regular season and earned Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year.

Statistics

NCAA College Statistics
Season Games Passing Rushing
GP GS Record Cmp Att Yds Pct TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
2002 0 0
Redshirt
Redshirted
2003 3 0 0–0 1 1 3 100.0 0 0 125.2 3 9 3.0 0
Butler Grizzlies
2004 10 10 10–0 172 274 2,682 62.8 27 8 171.7 26 -60 -2.3 0
Nebraska Cornhuskers
2005 12 12 8–4 237 430 2,653 55.1 19 12 115.9 76 -41 -0.5 1
2006 14 14 9–5 233 391 3,197 59.6 26 8 146.1 60 -32 -0.5 1
Totals 29 26 17–9 470 821 5,850 57.2 45 20 130.3 139 -64 -0.5 2

Playing career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump
6 ft 2+38 in
(1.89 m)
216 lb
(98 kg)
32 in
(0.81 m)
9 in
(0.23 m)
5.06 s 1.67 s 2.84 s 4.60 s 7.39 s 30.5 in
(0.77 m)
9 ft 2 in
(2.79 m)
All values from NFL Combine[10][11]

Taylor went undrafted in the 2007 NFL Draft. He was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but was cut, according to Taylor, as he was packing to leave for training camp.[12] Taylor then went to Canada and joined the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the CFL. He spent the season on the team's practice roster, but did not return for the 2008 season. The Blue Bombers lost the 95th Grey Cup that season.[13]

Coaching career

Texas A&M

Returning from Canada, Taylor became a graduate assistant and then tight ends coach at Texas A&M, serving four years under head coach Mike Sherman, his mentor and father-in-law.[14][15]

Miami Dolphins

On January 30, 2012, Taylor was named assistant quarterbacks coach for the NFL's Miami Dolphins. [16] On November 30, 2015, he was promoted to the team's interim offensive coordinator, after the firing of the previous offensive coordinator, Bill Lazor. During the five games Taylor served as offensive coordinator, the Dolphins went 2–3 and averaged 17 points per game,[17] a slight regress from their per-game average under Lazor, though Interim Coach Dan Campbell still had positive things to say of Taylor's performance.[18]

University of Cincinnati

In January 2016, Taylor was hired by University of Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Tommy Tuberville to be the Bearcats' offensive coordinator. According to Taylor, Jim Turner, who had been an offensive line coach for the Dolphins, was the one who connected him with Tuberville.[17] Taylor was seen as a "rising star in the coaching ranks" by the Bearcats, thanks to his experience in the NFL and his job developing Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Under Taylor's mentoring Tannehill became only the second Miami quarterback with multiple 3,000-yard seasons, as well as totaling the third-most passing yards for a quarterback in his first four seasons in NFL history, with 15,460.[19]

Los Angeles Rams

In 2017, Taylor was hired by Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay as assistant wide receivers coach. In 2018, he was promoted to quarterbacks coach.[12] That season, Taylor coached quarterback Jared Goff to the NFC Championship and an appearance in Super Bowl LIII on February 3, 2019.

Cincinnati Bengals

2019 season

On February 4, 2019, Taylor was hired as head coach by the Cincinnati Bengals.[20] He lost in his coaching debut to the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 21–20. He and the Bengals lost their next ten games, posting an 0–11 record, the worst start to a season in franchise history.[21] Starting quarterback Andy Dalton was benched ahead of a Week 10 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.[22] Rookie Ryan Finley started the next three weeks, but after being ineffective, Dalton was renamed the starter before the Week 13 game against the New York Jets. By beating the Jets 22–6, Taylor recorded his first win as the Bengals' coach and snapped a franchise-record thirteen-game losing streak dating back to the previous season.[23] The following week, the Bengals lost to the Cleveland Browns in Taylor's first head-to-head matchup against the division rivals by a score of 27–19.[24] After a Week 16, 38–35 loss to the Miami Dolphins in overtime, the 1–14 Bengals secured the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.[25] Taylor and the Bengals finished the season 2–14 following a 33–23 win over the Browns in Week 17, matching a franchise-worst record set in 2002.[26]

2020 season

Taylor went into the 2020 season with first-overall pick Joe Burrow as the team's starting quarterback.[27] It was also the first time since 2010 the Bengals season began and Andy Dalton wasn't on the roster, having been signed by the Dallas Cowboys in the offseason. On September 13, 2020, the Bengals lost their first game of the season to the Los Angeles Chargers by a score of 16–13.[28] Taylor and the Bengals saw their first win of the season in a week four 33–25 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars.[29] A subsequent week five loss to the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 27–3, which Taylor called an offensive drive and field goal in the final seconds to prevent a shut out, dropped Taylor's road record with the Bengals to 0–11–1.[30] During week seven, Taylor and the Bengals had a 34–31 lead against the Cleveland Browns with one minute left, but lost by a score of 37–34 following a touchdown drive by the Browns. It was the fifth time this season the Bengals lost a game despite having a lead during the fourth quarter.[31] The following week, however, the Bengals pulled off a major upset win against the Tennessee Titans by a score of 31–20.[32]

During a Week 11 game against the Washington Football Team, Burrow suffered a season-ending leg injury. With Finley playing the rest of the game, Taylor and the Bengals went on to lose 20–9.[33] The Bengals' next win would be a Week 15 Monday Night Football matchup against the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers. With Finley at quarterback, the Bengals went on to defeat the Steelers 27–17. It was also Finley's first start of the season after Brandon Allen was elevated from the practice squad to be the starter following Burrow's injury.[34] The Bengals went on to win the following week against the Houston Texans by a score of 37–31 with Allen as quarterback. It was the first road win of Taylor's tenure with the Bengals (the team's first since 2018) and also the first winning streak of Taylor's head coaching career.[35] The Bengals finished with a 4–11–1 record, marking the third straight season the Bengals finished 4th and last in the AFC North. The following day, Bengals owner Mike Brown confirmed Taylor would return as head coach for the 2021 season.[36]

2021 season

Taylor began his third season with a healthy Joe Burrow under center, having recovered from his leg injury the previous year. Facing the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1, the Bengals won on a last second field goal in overtime by rookie kicker Evan McPherson. Facing the 3–1 Green Bay Packers at home in Week 5, Taylor and his Bengals scored a game-tying touchdown with 3:27 to play at 22–22. Packers kicker Mason Crosby missed 3 field goals in a 4-minute span, including a go-ahead 36-yarder with 2:12 to play, a 51-yard game-winner as time expired, and a 40-yard game-winner as Burrow threw an interception on the first play of overtime. Unfortunately, McPherson missed two tries as well, including a 57-yarder with 0:26 to play in regulation, and a 49-yarder in overtime after Crosby's third miss. The Packers drove down the field one last time and Crosby scored on a 49-yard try with 1:55 left in overtime to drop the Bengals to 3–2.[37] In a Week 16 matchup against the Ravens, the Bengals defeated them 41–21, giving them their first winning season since 2015.[38] The following week, Taylor helped secure the Bengals' first AFC North division title since 2015 when they defeated the Kansas City Chiefs. Taylor then led the Bengals to their first playoff win since the 1990 season after they beat the Las Vegas Raiders 26–19 in the Wild Card Round.[39] In the Divisional Round, the Bengals beat the top-seeded Tennessee Titans 19–16 for their first road playoff win in franchise history and advanced to their first AFC Championship Game since 1988.[40][41] In the AFC Championship Game, the Bengals defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 27–24 in overtime to reach their first Super Bowl since Super Bowl XXIII.[42] In Super Bowl LVI, the Bengals lost 23–20 to the Los Angeles Rams. Following the conclusion of the season, Taylor signed a contract extension through 2026. While the details weren't disclosed, prior to the extension, Taylor's $3.5 million annual salary was the lowest amongst the 32 head coaches in the NFL.[43]

Head coaching record

Team Regular season Postseason
Year Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
CIN 2019 2 14 0 .125 4th in AFC North
CIN 2020 4 11 1 .281 4th in AFC North
CIN 2021 10 7 0 .588 1st in AFC North 3 1 .750 Lost to Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI
CIN 2022 7 4 0 .636 TBD in AFC North TBD
Total 23 36 1 .389 3 1 .750

Personal life

In 2008, Taylor married Sarah Sherman, daughter of former Green Bay Packers' head coach Mike Sherman.[1][12] They have four children together.[44]

Taylor has three siblings, including Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Press Taylor. Their father, Sherwood, was a defensive back and captain for Oklahoma and head coach Barry Switzer from 1977 to 1979.[45]

References

  1. ^ a b "Sherman, Taylor". Norman Transcript. Norman, Oklahoma. January 10, 2008. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
  2. ^ "Cincinnati Bengals Team Encyclopedia". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 3, 2022.
  3. ^ "Taylor Sets Passing Records in Double-OT Win". ESPN.com. ESPN. Associated Press. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  4. ^ "Taylor Tosses 2 TDs as Huskers Dominate Buffs". ESPN.com. ESPN. Associated Press. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  5. ^ "Nebraska Erases 11-Point Deficit to Win Alamo Bowl". ESPN.com. ESPN. Associated Press. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  6. ^ "Nebraska Amasses 584 Yards of Offense in Rout". ESPN.com. ESPN. Associated Press. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  7. ^ "Taylor (4 TDs), No. 21 Nebraska Sharp on Eve of USC Showdown". ESPN.com. ESPN. Associated Press. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  8. ^ "2006 Nebraska Cornhuskers Schedule and Results". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved February 3, 2022.
  9. ^ "Oklahoma vs Nebraska Box Score, December 2, 2006". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved February 3, 2022.
  10. ^ "Zac Taylor 2007 NFL Draft Profile". insider.espn.com. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  11. ^ "Zac Taylor, Combine Results, QB - Nebraska". nflcombineresults.com. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  12. ^ a b c Benoit, Andy (December 6, 2018). "The Brothers Taylor Are Coaching's Next Big Thing". SI.com. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  13. ^ "2007-11-25 Game Tracker - Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1471)". CFL.ca. Retrieved February 3, 2022.
  14. ^ Rosenthal, Brian (July 2, 2008). "Now with Texas A&M, former Husker Taylor still roots for NU". Lincoln Journal Star. Archived from the original on October 6, 2008. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  15. ^ Organ, Mike (January 18, 2022). "Zac Taylor spent 8 seasons trying to make Ryan Tannehill better. Did he learn enough to stop him?". The Tennessean. Retrieved February 14, 2022.
  16. ^ Hirshfield, Adam (November 29, 2015). "5 things you need to know about Zac Taylor, Dolphins' new O-coordinator". PalmBeachPost.com. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  17. ^ a b Sipple, Steven M. (January 22, 2016). "Zac Taylor's Rise in Coaching Worth Watching". Lincoln Journal Star. The Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  18. ^ Jackson, Barry (December 31, 2015). "Miami Dolphins Coordinators Didn't Improve Units". MiamiHerald.com. Miami Herald. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  19. ^ "Zac Taylor Bio". University of Cincinnati Official Athletic Site. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  20. ^ "Zac Taylor Named 10th Bengals Head Coach". Bengals.com. February 4, 2019. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  21. ^ Fay, John (November 24, 2019). "At 0-11, Cincinnati Bengals off to worst start in franchise history". USA Today. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  22. ^ Breech, John (October 30, 2019). "Andy Dalton calls out Bengals over timing of benching, was hoping to get traded before deadline". CBSSports.com. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
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  25. ^ Alper, Josh (December 22, 2019). "Zac Taylor: Thoughts on No. 1 pick are for the offseason". ProFootballTalk. NBC Sports. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  26. ^ Dragon, Tyler (December 29, 2019). "Cincinnati Bengals defeat Cleveland Browns in season finale". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  27. ^ Crawford, Brad (August 31, 2020). "Reaction after Bengals name Joe Burrow Week 1 starter". 247Sports. Retrieved February 3, 2022.
  28. ^ Rapien, James (September 14, 2020). "Joe Burrow his own harshest critic following Bengals' loss to Chargers". SI.com. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  29. ^ Smith, Michael David (October 4, 2020). "Bengals beat Jaguars for first win of Joe Burrow era". ProFootballTalk. NBC Sports. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  30. ^ Zembrodt, Nicole (October 12, 2020). "Bengals Defense Keeps Lamar Jackson and the Ravens' Offense In-Check". SI.com. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  31. ^ "Hurting Baker Mayfield, Browns score late, outduel Bengals". Trib Live/AP. Associated Press. October 25, 2020. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  32. ^ Manchester, Nick (November 1, 2020). "Bengals stun Titans, win 31-20". Cincy Jungle. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  33. ^ Baby, Ben (November 22, 2020). "Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow carted off, says, 'See ya next year'". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  34. ^ Manchester, Nick (December 21, 2020). "Bengals shock Steelers, win 27-17 on Monday Night Football". Cincy Jungle. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  35. ^ Dragon, Tyler (December 28, 2020). "First road win since 2018 'significant' for Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  36. ^ Florio, Mike (January 4, 2021). "Bengals announce Zac Taylor will return". ProFootballTalk. Retrieved February 3, 2022.
  37. ^ "2021 Cincinnati Bengals Statistics & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 3, 2022.
  38. ^ Baby, Ben (December 26, 2021). "Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow's 525 passing yards shatters team record, gives Bengals blowout win over Baltimore Ravens". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  39. ^ "Wild Card - Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals - January 15th, 2022". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 3, 2022.
  40. ^ Rapien, James (January 2, 2022). "Look: Joe Burrow Celebrates AFC North Win With 'King in the North' Post". Sports Illustrated.
  41. ^ "Divisional Round - Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans - January 22nd, 2022". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 3, 2022.
  42. ^ "AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs - January 30th, 2022". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 3, 2022.
  43. ^ Hobson, Geoff. "Zac Taylor Signs Contract Extension". Cincinnati Bengals.
  44. ^ "Zac Taylor's Wife Sarah Sherman Is A Mother of Four Kids, Blogger". ILuminaryWorth. January 7, 2022. Retrieved February 3, 2022.
  45. ^ Christopherson, Brian (September 2, 2005). "Raising a Husker, 9/3: Zac Taylor". Lincoln Journal Star. The Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved September 16, 2016.