The Bengals today named Zac Taylor as the 10th head coach in team history.
Taylor, 35, leaves the L.A. Rams, for whom he served as an assistant coach the past two seasons, including as quarterbacks coach in 2018. The Rams won the NFC West this season with a 13-3 regular-season record and advanced to Super Bowl LIII against the New England Patriots.
“I am happy and fortunate to join the Cincinnati Bengals as head coach,” Taylor said. “This is a great organization with good people and a rich history, and I am excited to get started. I am looking to add to that history by setting high standards, and holding everyone here accountable to those standards. There is a lot of work to do, and this is day one. We’re going to attack every day with enthusiasm to get this team ready to go.”
Prior to joining the Rams, Taylor was an assistant coach with the Miami Dolphins from 2012-15, including a stint as interim offensive coordinator for the team’s final five games of ’15. In 2016, he was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Cincinnati. He joined the Rams in 2017 as assistant wide receivers coach, then was named QBs coach in ’18.
Taylor played football collegiately at the University of Nebraska. He was the starting QB for the Cornhuskers from 2005-06 and was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year in ’06.
“Zac is a bright coach with an offensive mind and background, which is important to have in today’s NFL,” said Bengals president Mike Brown. “And he’s young. He embraces new ideas and new ways to do things, which will be a good thing for us. I believe our team will be exciting and fun to watch with him at the helm.”
Taylor succeeds Marvin Lewis, who served as Bengals head coach from 2003-18.
The Bengals will introduce Taylor to media in a news conference at Paul Brown Stadium on Tuesday.
ZAC TAYLOR BIOGRAPHY
Zac Taylor has been named the 10th head coach in Cincinnati Bengals history.
Taylor comes to Cincinnati after two seasons with the L.A. Rams, where he served as assistant wide receivers coach in 2017 and quarterbacks coach in ’18.
In 2018, Taylor helped guide Rams QB Jared Goff to career highs in every major passing category — completions (364), attempts (561), passing yards (4688), passing TDs (32), completion percentage (64.9), yards per attempt (8.36) and passer rating (101.1). Goff ranked fourth in the NFL in passing yards and eighth in passer rating. The Rams’ QB play was a key component to their offense, which finished the regular season ranked second in the NFL in total net yards (421.1 per game), fifth in net passing yards (281.7), second in scoring (32.9), first in first downs (401) and fifth in third-down percentage (45.0). Los Angeles won the NFC West with a 13-3 regular-season record and advanced to Super Bowl LIII against the New England Patriots.
In 2017, Taylor helped oversee an emerging Rams passing offense that ranked 10th in the NFL in pass yards per game (239.4). Taylor directed the Rams’ young receiving corps, headed by rookie Cooper Kupp, who finished the season with 62 catches, a team-high 869 receiving yards and five TDs. Kupp (869 yards), TE Gerald Everett (244) and WR Josh Reynolds (104) — all rookies — helped the Rams finish with the third-most receiving yards among rookie pass catchers.
Prior to his time with the Rams, Taylor had a one-year stint in the college ranks, serving as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Cincinnati in 2016. Taylor served under head coach Tommy Tuberville.
Taylor broke into NFL coaching in 2012 with the Miami Dolphins as assistant quarterbacks coach. He was elevated to quarterbacks coach from 2013-15. He spent the final five games of 2015 as the Dolphins’ interim offensive coordinator and primary play-caller, after the team made coaching staff changes in late November.
During his time in Miami, Taylor was instrumental in the development of QB Ryan Tannehill, the team’s first-round draft pick in 2012:
- Tannehill’s 15,460 passing yards in his first four seasons are the third-most among all quarterbacks in NFL history in their first four seasons, behind only Peyton Manning (1998-2001; 16,418) and Hall of Famer Dan Marino (1983-86; 16,177).
- In 2015, the year in which Taylor spent the last five games of the season calling Miami’s offensive plays, Tannehill completed 363 of 586 passes for a career-high 4208 yards, 24 touchdowns and a passer rating of 88.7.
- In 2014, Tannehill tossed a career-high 27 touchdown passes, the sixth-most in Dolphins history and the most since Marino threw 30 in 1994. Tannehill also set career highs in completion percentage (66.4) and a passer rating (92.8), and his 392 completions were a franchise record, surpassing Marino’s 385 in 1994.
- In 2013, Tannehill threw for 3912 yards. His 7207 passing yards through his first two seasons were the fifth-most by any quarterback over the course of their first two seasons in NFL history.
- And in 2012, Taylor’s first season as an NFL coach, Tannehill set team rookie records for total passing yards (3294), attempts (484) and completions (282), and he became the first rookie quarterback in Dolphins history to start all of the team’s games.
Taylor’s coaching career began at Texas A&M University, where he served as offensive graduate assistant and tight ends coach under head coach Mike Sherman from 2008-11. The Aggies shared the Big 12 South Championship in 2010 and played in three bowl games during Taylor’s time in College Station.
As a player, Taylor began his collegiate career at Wake Forest (2002-03), before transferring to Butler County Community College in Kansas (’04) and then playing his final two seasons (’05-06) at the University of Nebraska. Taylor had a decorated career with the Cornhuskers, setting numerous school records and passing for a combined 5850 yards and 45 touchdowns. In his senior season of 2006, Taylor was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year after passing for 3197 total yards and leading the Cornhuskers to a 9-3 record, an appearance in the Big 12 Championship Game and a berth in the Cotton Bowl. He was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 2017.
Taylor joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a college free agent in 2007, but he was waived prior to the start of training camp and never saw NFL action. Later that year, he joined the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League, where he spent one season (did not play).
His father, Sherwood, was a defensive back and captain at the University of Oklahoma, playing under Sooners head coach Barry Switzer from 1976-79. Sherwood Taylor later served as an assistant coach at Oklahoma and Kansas State University. Taylor’s brother, Press, played quarterback at Marshall University and is currently quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Taylor was born on May 10, 1983, in Norman, Okla., where he was raised and later attended Norman High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from the University of Nebraska in 2006. He and his wife, Sarah, have four children — Brooks, Luke, Emma Claire and Milly. Sarah Taylor is the daughter of former Green Bay Packers and Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman.
Playing and coaching history
2002-03—Played QB at Wake Forest University. 2004—Played QB at Butler County (Kan.) Community College. 2005-06—Played QB at University of Nebraska. 2007—Signed as college free agent with Tampa Bay Buccaneers (released prior to training camp); Was a QB with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL (did not play). 2008-11—Graduate assistant/assistant coach (AC), Texas A&M University. 2012-15—AC, Miami Dolphins. 2016—Offensive coordinator/QBs coach, University of Cincinnati. 2017-18—AC, L.A. Rams. 2019—Head coach, Cincinnati Bengals.
View photos of Zac Taylor's arrival at Paul Brown Stadium. An inside look at his first hours as the Bengals head coach.