INDIANAPOLIS — Press Taylor stood toward the back and listened.
On Tuesday, inside the Indianapolis Convention Center, his brother and Bengals head coach Zac Taylor stepped to Podium 5 at high noon and answered question after question about the first pick in the draft, Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa and a franchise that has been stuck in the mud.
Zac answered a couple dozen questions and handled himself quite well, much to the delight of little bro. The two brothers sound eerily similar, so if you closed your eyes, you wouldn’t have been able to tell if it was Zac or Press speaking into the microphone.
For younger brother, it might be only a matter of time.
Press Taylor is just 32 years old and after a month-long search for an offensive coordinator, Doug Pederson promoted him by adding the title of “passing game coordinator” to his responsibilities as quarterbacks coach. There’s no question that the Eagles see Taylor as a rising coach in the NFL landscape, destined to be an offensive coordinator and eventually a head coach.
Pederson viewed this promotion as a necessary step.
“I really felt that in order for Press to grow, I’ve got to give him more as a coach,” Pederson said at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday. “ I’ve got to put more on his plate. I still want him in the QBs room. I still want him to be around Carson and the guys. He’s done an outstanding job there.”
While hiring Rich Scangarello as a senior offensive assistant was an undoubtedly important move this offseason, Pederson on Tuesday revealed that he’s leaning toward letting Taylor lead offensive meetings during the season, a sign of how much he thinks of the young assistant.
Taylor will still work extensively with Carson Wentz and the other quarterbacks on the team — he’s had pretty good success with Wentz and Nick Foles — but the promotion was made with the idea that Taylor will now have much more influence on game-planning. Previously, Taylor had been responsible for the red zone portion of planning but will now see his duties as a game-planner expanded to all other areas.
“I really feel like Press has a bright future as a coordinator, so I’m trying to groom him the way Andy (Reid) did with me and brought me along,” Pederson said.
Reid, during his 14 years in Philadelphia and now seven years in Kansas City, has always been known for helping his coaches move up in the NFL. Think about how many of Reid’s offensive coordinators and quarterbacks coaches have moved on to become head coaches. Think about how many times he has hired a low-level coach, groomed him and helped him get a promotion with another team; he did it with Pederson. It’ll be a huge part of Reid’s legacy in the NFL.
And much of Pederson’s makeup as a head coach was molded by Reid. This is just the latest example. Pederson wants to do for Taylor what Reid did for him and many others. If he’s able to emulate this part of Reid’s coaching career, Taylor is the first project but won’t be the last.
Late in Pederson’s run with the Chiefs, Reid actually gave him some chances to call plays. On Tuesday, Pederson didn’t hesitate to say he hasn’t considered giving up play calling, something that he admitted limited the pool of coaching candidates during the search for an offensive coordinator this offseason. Eventually, Taylor might need to move on to another team to gain that responsibility.
But for now, let’s see how Taylor handles his new role with the Eagles. Pederson certainly has no doubts that he’ll handle it well.
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