Bengals head coach Zac Taylor was pleased with the team’s attendance and accomplishments during their offseason program. So much so that he cut minicamp short and let his guys go home earlier than expected.
The next time the players will report to Paul Brown Stadium is July 26 for training camp.
Taylor is excited about the Bengals' potential this season. He praised their attitude and work ethic.
Only 15 players from the 2018 team remain on the current roster. Since his arrival, Taylor and company have flipped the roster in hopes of turning things around in Cincinnati. Even with the struggles in his first two seasons, Taylor is impressed with how the new players are picking up on his scheme and how the veterans are making it their own.
"I just think overall scheme wise, it's year three for some guys, year two for others and obviously we've got some rookies and new vets, but we've really taken strides there,” Taylor said. “It makes sense to the guys. They're not just out there trying to remember what to do, they know exactly what to do and now they can take the next step there. That's the part that I think is most exciting as you look at it from a head coach is to see the ownership the players have taken in the systems and the leadership that has really emerged and put us in a really good position."
The ability to meet and practice in person adds to the confidence boost too. Taylor has not had a normal offseason since taking over as head coach.
Taylor’s first offseason started late following his post-Super Bowl LIII hire when he was a member of the Los Angeles Rams staff. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a virtual offseason for Taylor’s second go-around.
“We made plenty of errors this offseason.” Taylor said. “But you get a chance to reload, get the correction done so seeing it live and in person is far better than having it on Zoom. So, just being able to get these guys out there for these 10 practices is a night and day difference than spending the whole offseason on Zoom.”
The opportunity to build chemistry for a team with up to 10 new starters, a roster filled with young players, and key members of the team coming back from injury is too valuable for a team working to build a winner in Cincinnati.
Players continue to back Taylor and what he is building, including Joe Burrow.
“The biggest thing is in the locker room,” Burrow said. “The guys are vocal. You can tell we brought in really good people that are going to work hard to get to where we want to go. So we brought in the right players that are going to do exactly what we need them to do.”
Taylor is ready to leave his 6-25-1 and two top-five draft pick seasons in the past.
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