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Bengals announce Zac Taylor will return

The FNIA crew welcomes Cleveland back to the postseason for the first time since 2002 and argues that the Browns' resurgence should make Kevin Stefanski the Coach of the Year.

Is 6-25-1 good enough to get Bengals coach Zac Taylor a third year on the job? Yes, it is.

The Bengals have announced that Taylor will return for 2021.

“Our fans wanted a fresh new direction two years ago, and that is what we aimed to do in hiring a bright, energetic head coach in Zac Taylor,” Bengals owner Mike Brown said in a statement issued Monday morning. “We remain bullish on the foundation Zac is building, and we look forward to next year giving our fans the winning results we all want. In Zac’s two years, we have added many new starters and contributors through the draft, we have invested heavily in free agency, and we have acquired a talented young quarterback with a bright future.

“This season we faced challenges with injuries at key positions and missed opportunities. I am proud of our football team for fighting hard through adversity. That adversity and hard work will help us next season. We’ll enter the offseason looking to shore up our weaknesses and amplify the strengths of our talented young core. We are not discouraged, but instead feel motivated and confident that next year will reap the benefits of the work that has been done to date. We must capitalize on the opportunities in front of us. Next year we will earn our stripes.”

The Bengals “acquired a talented young quarterback” because they bottomed out in 2019 with a 2-14 record. They doubled their wins in 2020, but lost quarterback Joe Burrow along the way to a serious knee injury.

But the Bengals have a habit of not firing coaches with guaranteed salary left on their contracts. That may have saved Taylor, or at a minimum it may have been a factor.

It will be interesting to see whether and to what extent staff changes are made, given that Taylor stay. Regardless, Taylor will be back for a third season in charge of the only AFC North team that didn’t make it to the playoffs in 2020.