CINCINNATI — New Bengals head coach Zac Taylor knows the comparisons to Sean McVay will come early and often. Taylor not only spent two years working with McVay as an assistant for the Los Angeles Rams, but they’re also similar in age. At 35 and 33, respectively, Taylor and McVay are the youngest head coaches in the league.
Considering McVay took the Rams to the Super Bowl in just his second year as a head coach in the league, a number of teams have poached assistants from McVay’s staff hoping for similar results. Taylor said he’s very grateful to McVay for giving him his shot and helping him through the interview process this year. But he’s certainly not trying to be him.
“He was an unbelievable resource as the process unfolded. Any question I had, he was an open book … everything he went through. So, no he wasn’t pushing me along. He knew I wanted to be a head coach. And he wanted me to be a head coach,” Taylor said. “And when the interview request came in, he did sit down and say, ‘Here is what I went through. Here’s experiences that may help you.’
“But at the same time, if I try to be Sean McVay, I’m going to fail. To be quite honest with you. We’re different people. I’ve learned a lot from him, but I’m going to be Zac Taylor and do the best I can my way. And not my way, it’s the Cincinnati Bengals way. Right? Everyone’s on the same page and we’re going to get the most out of everybody here.”
Taylor and McVay both come from offensive backgrounds and Taylor plans to call his own plays like McVay does. But even if he wanted to emulate McVay, it would be difficult considering their personalities are very different.
“Sean is a very dynamic personality. He walks in front of a room and he energizes that room. And that’s Sean’s personality. I’m a little more reserved. That’s just how the way that I am. So I’m not going to try to be Sean. Sean is spectacular in his own way and I’m going to do it the way I feel most comfortable with and has got me to this point,” Taylor said.
He added: “He affects everyone he’s around. It’s more than just scheme. He is brilliant at creating mismatches, but it’s one that he gets the most out of the people, players and coaches that are around him every day. I’ve always felt that’s important. Sean is another example of doing it the right way and good things will happen.”
McVay told reporters on Tuesday that he doesn’t anticipate Taylor taking any assistants with him from the Rams staff. Taylor was mum on any specific candidates, but said he wanted “great teachers, concise communicators, outside-the-box thinkers and people who are not afraid to deviate from the norm.”
Taylor said he was more interested in the type of people being hired than the specific scheme they might bring with him, which is also something he learned during his time in Los Angeles.
“Everyone felt valued. No idea was dumb or too great to be a part of the plan,” he said. “Everybody felt like their role was important. It’s easy to come to work every single day when you feel like there is value to what you are doing and you feel appreciated so you try to establish that same culture there.”