The 5 easiest matchups on the Buffalo Bills 2019 schedule
By Avery Duncan
3. Vs. Cincinnati Bengals (week 3)
The Cincinnati Bengals did it. After 16 seasons, they fired Marvin Lewis, and replaced him with Zac Taylor — who? In hiring Taylor, the Bengals jumped onto the Sean McVay coaching tree bandwagon that has taken the NFL by storm. Though McVay resurged the Los Angeles Rams to prominence, skepticism lies within the hire of Taylor.
As an offensive-minded 36-year-old stemming from a popular coaching tree, the decision to make Taylor the head coach is justifiable but may not lead to immediate success. In the NFL, we’ve only seen Taylor call plays once — as he was the wide receivers turned quarterbacks coach for the Rams — as an interim coordinator for the Miami Dolphins in 2012. In those five games as a play-caller, his team went 2-3 and averaged a measly 17 points per game.
The hope with Taylor is that he can install a Rams-esque offense in Cincinnati, but that may not go over smoothly for two reasons. The first being that McVay’s famed offense that hinges on the 11 personnel isn’t as unbeatable as it once was — defenses have figured it out (see: the Super Bowl, nickel defense). The second being the Bengals don’t have a nearly as good of a roster as the Rams do.
Andy Dalton will lead the ship in Cincinnati; while he’s a good quarterback, there’s such as the “Dalton-line” for a reason — he signifies averageness at the position. Their offensive line, after a season-ending injury to rookie Jonah Williams, is considered to be one of the weaker units in the NFL. As for skill position players on offense, they, surprisingly, are set there — RB Joe Mixon, WR A.J. Green, and WR Tyler Boyd is one of the league’s better trios.
Despite talent at receiver and running back, Dalton and the line may hold Taylor’s offense back. As for their defense, it’s improving, but there are notable holes all over, and they allowed a league-high 6,618 yards in 2018. Taylor won’t fix those issues overnight, considering his limited experience as a play-caller. Though there is potential onboard, the Bengals’ roster isn’t very close to being competitive, while their head coach is about as new to the job as one could get.