PHOENIX - Giants head coach Pat Shurmur had to lead Zac Taylor to Tuesday's NFL coaches media breakfast through the Arizona Biltmore's Byzantine hallways, but once in front of a small dish of fruit the new Bengals head coach knew his way around the questions from a smattering of local beat scribes and a knot of curious national reporters:
- He's planning on Andy Dalton being his quarterback for the long haul. But, he may be only 35, yet he's been around enough NFL drafts to say that no position is off the table for the Bengals with the 11th pick in next month's gathering.
- This week's re-signing of cornerback Darqueze Dennard and the expected signing of Giants backup defensive end/tackle Kerry Wynn are thought to be the last deals before the draft. But Taylor said he never wants to say never because "we look at the wire every day."
- After living in a Cincinnati hotel room with his wife and four kids for the last month, he's buckling down for that April 15 check-out date, which comes about a week after the Bengals open their off-season workouts on April 9 and a week before the voluntary veteran minicamp. He confirmed he still has his sanity, but wouldn't get specific about how they'll line up at linebacker. He did say he talked to starting WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict when they released him last Thursday.
"Tez was great," Taylor said. "It's a chance for everyone to get a fresh start."
- It sounds like he's talked to most of the team elders (yes, Geno Atkins speaks) either at Paul Brown Stadium or by phone.
"I'm still reaching out to guys," he said.
- He reiterated the Bengals are going to start installing their new offensive scheme by emphasizing the importance of the running game and while he thinks Joe Mixon is a sturdy producer in the Todd Gurley mold from his Rams' days, Taylor wants all his backs to be fresh for the December run.