Bengals officially hire Zac Taylor as new coach the morning after the Rams' Super Bowl stinker

The Bengals have reportedly wanted to hire Zac Taylor as their new coach for nearly a month. On Monday, they officially got their guy. 

The morning after the Rams lost Super Bowl LIII to the Patriots because their offense couldn't muster more than three points, the Bengals announced that they've hired the 35-year-old Rams quarterbacks coach to replace Marvin Lewis, who stepped down after his 16th season in charge.

"I am happy and fortunate to join the Cincinnati Bengals as head coach," Taylor said in a statement. "This is a great organization with good people and a rich history, and I am excited to get started. I am looking to add to that history by setting high standards, and holding everyone here accountable to those standards. There is a lot of work to do, and this is day one. We're going to attack every day with enthusiasm to get this team ready to go."

The hiring shouldn't come as a surprise. Barring another Josh McDaniels fiasco, Taylor has been ticketed for the role of next Bengals coach for weeks. While the Bengals couldn't officially hire him until the Rams' season ended, which didn't happen until Sunday night, they reportedly zeroed in on Taylor as their preferred choice before the Rams' first playoff game. This has been a month in the making -- and no, the Super Bowl shouldn't have made the Bengals change their mind all of a sudden. 

The Rams scored only three points in the Super Bowl with quarterback Jared Goff suffering an absolute stinker, but that stinker was induced by the greatest coach in the history of football, Bill Belichick, and his masterful game-plan. It shouldn't be the reason why Bengals fans are suddenly pessimistic about the hiring. Remember, a year ago the Bears decided to hire Matt Nagy even after the Chiefs utterly collapsed to blow their playoff game. Nagy just won Coach of the Year after leading the Bears to the top of the NFC North.

But that doesn't mean the Taylor hiring can't be criticized. It's just that those criticisms existed before Sunday's Super Bowl. 

Taylor, to put it bluntly, lacks experience.

"Zac is a bright coach with an offensive mind and background, which is important to have in today's NFL," Bengals owner Mike Brown said in a statement. "And he's young. He embraces new ideas and new ways to do things, which will be a good thing for us. I believe our team will be exciting and fun to watch with him at the helm."

Taylor is coming off a one-year run as the Rams' quarterbacks coach. Before that, he was their assistant wide receivers coach. His only experience as an NFL offensive coordinator came on an interim basis midway through the 2015 season after the Dolphins fired Bill Lazor. Strangely enough, Lazor was the Bengals offensive coordinator for the past two seasons, until he got fired last month. So, once again, Taylor will be taking over a Lazor offense.

Taylor did serve as the offensive coordinator at the University of Cincinnati in 2016, but the Bearcats scored only 19.3 points per game during that season. He also worked as the Dolphins' quarterbacks coach for a few seasons when he helped develop Ryan Tannehill, who is reportedly expected to be cut this offseason

Could a Taylor-Tannehill reunion happen in Cincinnati? The Bengals still have Andy Dalton under contract through the 2020 season, but they can move on from him without suffering any financial consequences, per Spotrac.

There's a lot for Taylor to sort through. The Bengals have to figure out their future at quarterback. They also have to figure out how in the heck they're going to fix a defense that ranked dead last in yards allowed, 30th in points allowed, and 28th in DVOA. They've yet to hire a defensive coordinator. Above all else, they've got to navigate what's become a very strong division.

Taylor faces a daunting task in his first head coaching gig. The good news is that he'll have plenty of work to do, which should help him get over the disaster in the Super Bowl. 

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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