Quarterbaks coach Zac Taylor is seen on the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Michigan USA, on Sunday, December 2, 2018. (Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

Cincinnati Bengals: 7 things to know about Zac Taylor

Zac Taylor is expected to be named the next head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals. 

That can’t happen until the Los Angeles Rams, his current employer, are knocked out of the playoffs, but it does not preclude fans from wanting to know more about the young coach. 

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Here are seven things to know about him: 

1. Taylor was a record-setting quarterback at Nebraska. 

A native of Norman, Okla., and the son of a former Sooner, Taylor was the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year in 2006. 

Taylor left school with records (since broken) for passing yards in a game (431), in a season (3,197 in ’06) and a career (5,850). 

2. He broke into the coaching profession at Texas A&M. 

Taylor was part of the offseason program with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and spent time with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL before starting his coaching career as a graduate assistant for his father-in-law, Mike Sherman, at Texas A&M. 

After four years in College Station, Taylor followed Sherman to the Miami Dolphins, where Sherman became offensive coordinator and Taylor worked with quarterbacks. 

3. Taylor spent four seasons coaching for the Dolphins. 

Once they got to Miami, Sherman and Taylor mentored former Aggie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was the No. 8 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. 

Tannehill has put up big passing yardage totals but is yet to make his first Pro Bowl. 

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In the four years he played for Taylor, Tannehill posted numbers similar to those Andy Dalton produced in his first four seasons (according to Pro-Football-Reference.com). 

Dalton, a second-round pick of the Bengals in 2011, and Tannehill had identical QB ratings of 85.2 while Dalton averaged slightly more yards per attempt (7.0 to 6.9) and had higher touchdown and interception percentages (1.5 to 1.4 and 1.0 to 0.8, respectively) in their first four seasons in the NFL. 

4. Taylor also spent a year in the Queen City. 

He was the offensive coordinator at the University of Cincinnati in 2016 

The Bearcats went 4-8 and had one of the worst offenses in the country, though how much Taylor had to work with is highly questionable as this was the final season of Tommy Tuberville’s forgettable run as UC head coach. 

The Bearcats also struggled to score points the following season after Luke Fickell replaced Tuberville. 

5. Taylor’s star has risen along with Sean McVay. 

McVay, the Dayton native who has taken the league by storm since ascending to head coach in Los Angeles last season, hired Taylor as an assistant receivers coach in 2017. 

Young receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp thrived in their first year under McVay and Taylor, combining for 118 catches for 1,650 yards while running back Todd Gurley added another 788 yards receiving for one of the league’s top offenses. 

Taylor moved to quarterbacks coach this season and oversaw third-year signal-caller Jared Goff finish eighth in the league in QB rating (101.1) and earn his second Pro Bowl bid. 

6. He won’t be the youngest Bengals head coach. 

Although Taylor turns 36 in May, he will not be the youngest head coach in franchise history if he does land the job. 

That will still be Dave Shula, who was 32 when he was hired in 1992. 

Shula was fired in 1996 after going 19-52

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7. His younger brother is also an NFL coach. 

Press Taylor, who turns 31 on Jan. 13, is the quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. 

He played college football at Marshall and coached for two seasons at Tulsa before landing in Philadelphia in 2013, where he worked for Chip Kelly and was retained by Doug Pederson. 

The younger Taylor was the assistant quarterbacks coach last season when the Eagles — behind young star-in-the-making Carson Wentz and surprise Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles — won it all before being promoted this past season. 

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