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Quick Hits: Zac "The QB Whisperer' Taylor As Joe Burrow Becomes An NFL Standard; Kicking Around New Rules And Proposals


ORLANDO, Fla. _ Because of the immediate, torrid impact of Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow had on the NFL, head coach Zac Taylor has become sort of a quarterback whisperer during the past few annual NFL meetings.

Monday was one of those days during the AFC head coaches' media breakfast as the NFC scribes covering quarterback-needy teams invaded.

The man from Washington, picking second, wanted to know how to develop a rookie quarterback.

"Making sure he has a true understanding of the intent of what you're trying to do is a great starting point. That's the one thing I always appreciated about Joe is if he didn't understand how we were coaching it, what we were saying, he was going to ask," Taylor said. "I think the key element for a young quarterback is to make sure you ask those questions … For me, one thing I took away from that, don't call it if they don't like it or don't understand it. Don't do it. Come back to it later. That communication is a key element.

"It was easier for us. We had the No. 1 pick and we felt like we had the best guy. The things I loved about Joe was his ability to show up in big moments and LSU was in a lot of big moments. But on top of that he had tremendous accuracy from scramble ability … Can throw on the move. Keeps his eyes down field. He's tough. His players respect him. Really high football IQ. Understanding protections is a big part of this league and that's something a lot of people don't get to see all the time because of how intricate that is … We're fortunate to have a guy that can take on the brunt of that."

Now it's to the point where Taylor is not only being asked about rookies, but about second-year starting quarterbacks. Like Jordan Love, playing for Taylor's friend Matt LaFleur.

It will be recalled that Burrow in his second season came within 40 seconds of winning it all and was named to the Pro Bowl while leading the NFL in completion percentage and yards per attempt.

"They've got an idea of the speed of it and the different pressures I can get. Different styles different coordinators bring. What the division felt like," Taylor said. "I hate to talk about other teams. You learn from your experience and you get an opportunity to study other guys. I think it's always a little better learning from your own experience and the challenges that you have personally. From afar I was really impressed with Matt and Jordan … A head coach I enjoy watching because it makes sense what they do. As a byproduct of that you watch the quarterback. I was really impressed with the job he did as a full-time starter for the first time. We saw that in training camp when we practiced against those guys."

TACKLE BAN: The owners unanimously approved banning the hip-drop tackle Monday, but they didn't use Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson as the poster child for it.

In a twist of irony, the video the NFL showed what the penalty looks like had two clips of Bengals getting hip-dropped. One cost tight end Drew Sample the last 15 games of the 2022 season when he got cut down in Dallas with a torn MCL and PCL. The other one may have cost the Bengals an AFC title when wide receiver Tyler Boyd went down early in the 2022 conference championship game in Kansas City.

But it was Wilson who got ripped coast-to-coast for his Nov. 16 prime-time tackle on Ravens tight end Mark Andrews that cost Andrews the last six regular-season games of the season. Andrews came back to play in the postseason and on Monday the league indicated that Wilson's tackle would not be flagged under the ban.

"(That play) isn't on the video," said competition committee chairman Rich McKay.

McKay pushed back against the NFL Players Association's complaint that the ban is confusing. He pointed to the three elements that make it a hip-drop.

"You got to see him grab him," McKay said of the video. "You got to see him control them. You got to see him swivel himself up in the air and you got to see him go unweighted."

McKay says it is the unweighted motion of the tackler's body coming down and trapping the ball carrier that makes the swivel dangerous. He also indicated there could be circumstances where it's not called during the game, but a fine letter would be sent.

SLANTS AND SCREENS: The new kickoff proposal that would revive returns didn't get voted on Monday after ownership heard coaches and general managers discuss it. It sounds like it will be voted on in the last hours of the meeting on Tuesday before the estimated 1 p.m. adjournment.

McKay wants it passed now and not at the May meeting because there are enough changes that require an approach to roster building in free agency now in play and the April 25-27 draft. Zac Taylor says the question is just exactly what is the impact.

"What style of players do you need?" Taylor asked. "The special teams coaches have researched different models in different leagues. It's something that will evolve. If it were to pass, it's something where we'll have to learn from our experiences as we go through it. What are the different body types, the different things you're looking for on the roster?" …

When Texans head coach Demeco Ryans shook Joe Mixon's hand to welcome him to Houston last week, he was surprised how big the 6-2, 220-pound Mixon appeared. He thinks the Bengals and Texans both ended up with effective backs after the dust of free agency cleared and the Texans signed Mixon to a three-year deal while the Bengals inked the Colts' Zack Moss for two.

"(Mixon is) consistent, durable. He definitely plays the style of ball I like to see," Ryans said. "Physical, punishing. He's also pretty good in the passing game as well. He's an all-around complete back." …

The owners also approved a rule that allows a third challenge following one successful challenge. In years past, teams had to be successful on two challenges to receive a third … They also ruled if there is a double foul during a down in which there is a change or changes of possession, one of the penalties does not go away …

Wide receivers and running backs now have to wear safety caps on their helmets during contact practices, joining pretty much everybody else but quarterbacks and kickers …