Zac Taylor

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Zac Taylor
refer to caption
Taylor in 2019
Cincinnati Bengals
Position:Head coach
Personal information
Born: (1983-05-10) May 10, 1983 (age 38)
Norman, Oklahoma
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High school:Norman (Norman, Oklahoma)
Career history
As a player:
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
As a coach:
Head coaching record
Regular season:6–25–1 (.203)
Coaching stats at PFR

Zac Taylor (born May 10, 1983) is an American football coach and former quarterback who is the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL). He previously served as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Rams from 2017 to 2018 and Miami Dolphins from 2012 to 2015.

From 2005 to 2006, Taylor played college football and was the starting quarterback at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

College career[edit]

Early collegiate career[edit]

Despite Taylor's record-setting career at Norman High School in Norman, Oklahoma, few colleges recruited him. Even his hometown school, the Oklahoma Sooners, passed him over. In 2002, he signed with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, where he redshirted his first year and filled in as a backup position the next, completing the only pass he attempted in those 2 years. From there he transferred to Butler Community College in Kansas, where he had a breakout season, leading Butler to the NJCAA championship game and earning second-team NJCAA All-American honors.


After his 2004 season Taylor looked at multiple NCAA Division I schools, including Memphis, Marshall and Nebraska. Nebraska had abandoned their long standing running/option offense for an entirely new, West Coast offense led by newly appointed coach Bill Callahan. The Huskers had a rebuilding season in 2004, going 5–6 and missing a bowl bid for the first time since 1968. His recruitment late in the 2004–05 off-season by the Huskers was described as a "lucky break" due to the Huskers' lack of quarterbacks at the time.

Taylor had a rough start, statistically speaking, in his 2005 year at Nebraska, completing 39 of 89 passes for 399 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions in his first three games. In his fourth game however, Taylor had a breakout day against Iowa State, throwing for a school record 431 yards on 36 of 55 passing with two touchdowns. The 36 completions was also a school record at the time.[1] He steadily improved throughout the season, ending in a 30–3 win against Colorado where he threw 392 yards,[2] and a come-from-behind 32–28 win against the Michigan Wolverines in the Alamo Bowl, where he threw a Nebraska bowl record 3 touchdown passes.[3] Taylor broke the school record for passing yards in a season with 2,653 yards on 55.1% of his passes being complete.

In his 2006 opener against Louisiana Tech, Taylor showed significant improvement over his season-opener the previous year, completing 22 of 33 attempts for 287 yards with 3 touchdowns and one interception.[4] The game after, against Nicholls State, Taylor once again showed his precision in passing the ball, finishing 19 of 23 for 202 yards and a new career-best in 4 touchdown passes.[5]

Taylor led the Nebraska Cornhuskers to a record of 9–3 with an appearance in the 2006 Big 12 Championship Game, facing off against the Oklahoma Sooners. Taylor passed for 2,789 yards and 24 touchdown passes during the regular season and earned Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year.


Collegiate Career statistics
Season Games Games
Record Passing Rushing
Comp Att Yards Pct. TD Int QB Rating Att Yards Avg TD
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
2002 Redshirt Redshirted
2003 3 0 0–0 1 1 3 100.0 0 0 125.2 3 9 3.0 0
Butler Grizzlies
2004 10 10 10–0 172 274 2,682 62.8 27 8 171.7 26 -60 -2.3 0
Nebraska Cornhuskers
2005 12 12 8–4 237 430 2,653 55.1 19 12 115.9 76 -41 -0.5 1
2006 14 14 9–5 233 391 3,197 59.6 26 8 146.1 60 -32 -0.5 1
NCAA Career Totals 29 26 17–9 470 821 5,850 57.2 45 20 130.3 139 -64 -0.46 2

Playing career[edit]

Taylor went undrafted in the 2007 NFL Draft. He was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but was cut in the preseason.[6] Taylor then went to Canada and joined the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as their 4th string quarterback for a single season in the CFL, but did not play in a game and did not return for the 2008 season, instead beginning his transition into coaching. The Blue Bombers played in the 95th Grey Cup (the CFL Championship game) on November 25, 2007 but did not win.

Coaching career[edit]

Miami Dolphins[edit]

On January 30, 2012, Taylor was named assistant quarterbacks coach for the NFL's Miami Dolphins. He was previously an assistant coach at Texas A&M, serving under former head coach Mike Sherman, his father-in-law.[7][8] On November 30, 2015, he was promoted to the team's interim offensive coordinator, after the firing of the previous offensive coordinator, Bill Lazor. During the five games Taylor served as OC, the Dolphins went 2-3 and averaged 17 points per game,[9] a slight regress from their per-game average under Lazor, though Interim Coach Dan Campbell still had positive things to say of Taylor's performance.[10]

University of Cincinnati[edit]

In January 2016, Taylor was hired by University of Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Tommy Tuberville to be the Bearcats' offensive coordinator. According to Taylor, Jim Turner, who had been an offensive line coach for the Dolphins, was the one who connected him with Tuberville.[11] Taylor was seen as a "rising star in the coaching ranks" by the Bearcats, thanks to his experience in the NFL and his job developing Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Under Taylor's mentoring Tannehill became only the second Miami QB with multiple 3,000-yard seasons, as well as totaling the third-most passing yards for a QB in his first four seasons in NFL history, with 15,460.[12]

Los Angeles Rams[edit]

In 2017, Taylor was hired by the Los Angeles Rams as assistant wide receivers coach. In 2018, he was promoted to quarterbacks coach.[6]

Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

On February 4, 2019, Taylor was hired as head coach by the Cincinnati Bengals.[13]

2019 season[edit]

Taylor lost in his coaching debut to the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 21-20. Taylor and the Bengals would go on to lose their next ten games, posting an 0-11 record, the worst start to a season in franchise history.[14] Starting quarterback Andy Dalton was benched ahead of a week ten matchup against the Baltimore Ravens on November 10, 2019.[15] Rookie Ryan Finley would start the next three weeks, but after being ineffective, Dalton was renamed the starter before the week 13 game against the New York Jets.

With Dalton back under center, Taylor recorded his first win as the Bengals coach in the aforementioned Week 13, beating the Jets 22-6, in turn also snapping a franchise-record thirteen-game losing streak dating back to the previous season.[16] The following week, the Bengals lost to the Cleveland Browns in Taylor's first head-to-head matchup against the division rivals by a score of 27-19.[17] After a Week 16, 38-35 loss to the Miami Dolphins in overtime, the 1-14 Bengals secured the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.[18] Taylor and the Bengals managed to finish the season 2-14 following a 33-23 win over the Browns in Week 17, matching a franchise-worst record set previously in 2002.[19]

2020 season[edit]

Taylor went into the 2020 season with first-overall pick Joe Burrow as the team's starting quarterback. It was also the first time since 2010 the Bengals season began and Andy Dalton wasn't on the roster, having been signed by the Dallas Cowboys in the offseason. On September 13, 2020, the Bengals lost their first game of the season to the Los Angeles Chargers by a score of 16-13.[20] Taylor and the Bengals saw their first win of the season in a week four 33-25 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars.[21] A subsequent week five loss to the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 27-3 dropped Taylor's road record with the Bengals to 0-11-1.[22] During week seven, Taylor and the Bengals had a 34-31 lead against the Cleveland Browns with one minute left, but lost by a score of 37-34 following a touchdown drive by the Browns. It was the fifth time this season the Bengals lost a game despite having a lead during the fourth quarter.[23] The following week, however, the Bengals pulled off a major upset win against the Tennessee Titans by a score of 31-20.[24]

During a Week 11 game against the Washington Football Team, Burrow suffered a season-ending leg injury. With Finley playing the rest of the game, Taylor and the Bengals went on to lose 20-9.[25] The Bengals' next win would be a Week 15 Monday Night Football matchup against the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers. With Finley at quarterback, the Bengals went on to defeat the Steelers 27-17. It was also Finley's first start of the season after Brandon Allen was elevated from the practice squad to be the starter following Burrow's injury.[26] The Bengals went on to win the following week against the Houston Texans by a score of 37-31 with Allen as quarterback. It was the first road win of Taylor's tenure with the Bengals (the team's first since 2018) and also the first two-game win-streak of Taylor's head coaching career.[27] The Bengals finished with a 4–11–1 record, marking the third straight season the Bengals have finished 4th in the AFC North, the second under Taylor. The following day, Bengals owner Mike Brown confirmed Taylor would return as head coach for the 2021 season.[28]

Head coaching record[edit]

Team Regular season Postseason
Year Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
CIN 2019 2 14 0 .125 4th in AFC North
CIN 2020 4 11 1 .281 4th in AFC North
Total 6 25 1 .203 0 0 .000

Personal life[edit]

Taylor is married to Sarah Sherman, daughter of former Green Bay Packers' head coach Mike Sherman,[6] and they have four children together.

His sister, Kathryn, is a Special Olympics swimmer. His youngest sister Quincy resides in Oklahoma City.[29] Taylor's younger brother, Press Taylor, is a senior offensive assistant for the Indianapolis Colts and played quarterback at Marshall University. Taylor's father, Sherwood, was a defensive back and captain for Oklahoma and head coach Barry Switzer from 1976–1979.


  1. ^ "Taylor Sets Passing Records in Double-OT Win". ESPN. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  2. ^ "Taylor Tosses 2 TDs as Huskers Dominate Buffs". ESPN. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  3. ^ "Nebraska Erases 11-Point Deficit to Win Alamo Bowl". ESPN. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  4. ^ "Nebraska Amasses 584 Yards of Offense in Rout". ESPN. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  5. ^ "Taylor (4 TDs), No. 21 Nebraska Sharp on Eve of USC Showdown". ESPN. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Benoit, Andy (December 6, 2018). "The Brothers Taylor Are Coaching's Next Big Thing". Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  7. ^ "Now with Texas A&M, former Husker Taylor still roots for NU".
  8. ^ "5 things you need to know about Zac Taylor, Dolphins' new O-coordinator". Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  9. ^ Sipple, Steven M. "Zac Taylor's Rise in Coaching Worth Watching". Lincoln Journal Star. The Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  10. ^ "Miami Dolphins Coordinators Didn't Improve Units". Miami Herald. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  11. ^ Sipple, Steven M. "Zac Taylor's Rise in Coaching Worth Watching". Lincoln Journal Star. The Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  12. ^ "Zac Taylor Bio". University of Cincinnati Official Athletic Site. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  13. ^ "Zac Taylor Named 10th Bengals Head Coach".
  14. ^ Fay, John. "At 0-11, Cincinnati Bengals off to worst start in franchise history". USA Today.
  15. ^ Breech, John. "Andy Dalton calls out Bengals over timing of benching, was hoping to get traded before deadline". CBS Sports.
  16. ^ Baby, Ben. "Bengals avoid 0-12 start, beat Jets in Andy Dalton's return as starter". ESPN.
  17. ^ Dragon, Tyler. "What we learned: Cincinnati Bengals drop to 1-12 after loss to Cleveland Browns". The Cincinnati Enquirer.
  18. ^ Alper, Josh. "Zac Taylor: Thoughts on No. 1 pick are for the offseason". ProFootballTalk. NBC Sports.
  19. ^ Dragon, Tyler. "Cincinnati Bengals defeat Cleveland Browns in season finale".
  20. ^ Rapien, James. "Joe Burrow his own harshest critic following Bengals' loss to Chargers". SI.
  21. ^ Smith, Michael David. "Bengals beat Jaguars for first win of Joe Burrow era". ProFootballTalk. NBC Sports.
  22. ^ Zembrodt, Nicole. "Bengals Defense Keeps Lamar Jackson and the Ravens' Offense In-Check". Sports Illustrated.
  23. ^ Associated Press. "Hurting Baker Mayfield, Browns score late, outduel Bengals". Trib Live/AP.
  24. ^ Manchester, Nick. "". Cincy Jungle. External link in |title= (help)
  25. ^ Baby, Ben. "Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow carted off, says, 'See ya next year'". ESPN.
  26. ^ Manchester, Nick. "Bengals shock Steelers, win 27-17 on Monday Night Football". Cincy Jungle.
  27. ^ Dragon, Tyler. "First road win since 2018 'significant' for Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals". The Cincinnati Enquirer.
  28. ^ Florio, Mike. "Bengals announce Zac Taylor will return". ProFootballTalk.
  29. ^ Christopherson, Brian. "Raising a Husker, 9/3: Zac Taylor". Lincoln Journal Star. The Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved September 16, 2016.

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