CINCINNATI — Zac Taylor believes the players on the Bengals' roster still believe in him and the rest of his coaching staff.
The second-year head coach pushed back on the idea that players are unhappy in the locker room.
"I’ve always been honest with you all. I feel really good about the leadership and our connection with the players," Taylor said. "I really do feel a strong connection amongst the players and the coaches. So again, I know we haven’t won enough games but I do feel really good about our vision, the direction that we are headed and the commitment that we have from our players to help us get to where we are gonna be at. I’m very proud of what these guys have done behind the scenes."
Our very own Elise Jesse issued a detailed report that broke down multiple issues that players have had with coaches. From Taylor's lack of communication to abusive language and stale messages from different members of his staff.
This wasn't just one or two unhappy people voicing their unhappiness. She talked to a wide-range of people from players to coaches and other members of the organization.
They wanted to remain anonymous, which makes sense for a variety of reasons. Taylor doesn't see it that way.
"We have a very strong open door policy for our players to come talk to us," he said. "I feel like we're in touch with our players so I'm not going to respond to anybody who doesn't put their name on it."
READ MORE: An Inside Look at the Bengals' Toxic Culture
In reality, what player not named Carlos Dunlap would want their unhappiness to go public?
John Ross tried that and he's still on the roster. Dunlap forced his way out of town.
This isn't a one or two player issue. This is a culture problem.
Some will deny it and cite what Giovani Bernard said on a Zoom call with the media on Wednesday as proof that things are fine.
What do you want Bernard to say? Should he rip his head coach? Should he crush the organization that has offered him multiple contract extensions? The trade deadline has come and gone.
There are six games left. These guys have nowhere to go. Nowhere to run.
And Bernard might not be upset. He probably does like Taylor. That doesn't mean everyone is in the same boat.
"It's soft," Bernard said when asked about members of the organization staying anonymous. "If you have an issue, Coach Taylor has always been the type of guy, 'Hey if you have an issue don't go to the media. Let's talk about it, let's hash it out. Let's not bring all the outside noise, let's just handle this stuff inside this building."
Bernard may be comfortable approaching Taylor, but that doesn't mean the rest of the roster feels the same way.
Jesse's reporting gives details about the issues that have gone on behind the scenes.
Taylor is 4-21-1 since taking over for Marvin Lewis and his record might not be his biggest issue.
Solving the communication and culture issues within the locker room is a much bigger problem.
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