In the aftermath of the Cincinnati Bengals falling to the New England Patriots in Week 15, head coach Zac Taylor had some rather critical comments about his receivers. While speaking to reporters following that 34-13 loss in which the Pats secondary recorded four interceptions on the afternoon, Taylor noted that the Cincy receivers were "bullied" by New England defensive backs.
"Andy [Dalton] had four picks," Taylor said postgame on Sunday. "Three of them were against man-to-man coverage, one-on-ones. We got bullied ... we did. Guys could go compete, knock the ball down, go get a one-on-one. I think [Patriots corner Stephon] Gilmore had what, two of them? Ok. So their guys went and competed. They have a tough secondary. They play man-on-man coverage, and Gilmore's one of the best in the league. We saw what that looks like today.
"The quarterback's going take all of the blame for it, when in reality he taking some one-on-one opportunities that we had to take to be in that game, and go make some plays. You're counting on some guys to get some separation and go compete, and they got the better of us on a lot of those."
Of course, throwing your receivers under the bus publicly probably isn't the best way to get your message across. Really, it likely would have been best to save that tongue lashing during film review and keep it behind closed doors. A day later, it appears like Taylor realized his emotions may have gotten the better of him in that regard and attempted to walk back those comments Monday.
"I wish I wouldn't have phrased it like that (right after the game), to be quite honest with you, because you're emotional after a game like that," he said. "You watch the tape, and we just need to correct the technique, and that's what the conversation needs to be. It's a room of good character. It's important to them. They want to do it the way you want it done. I have regret in how I phrased that yesterday. It'll be a very candid conversation in that sense, accountable for everything we can do better as a group."
One receiver who was particularly vocal following the loss was Tyler Boyd. He was shadowed by Patriots corner Stephon Gilmore for the bulk of the afternoon and the veteran defender ended up with two picks, one of which he took back for six. Boyd noted that he was seeing a lot of one-on-one matchups with Gilmore and later seemingly questioned the play-calling, suggesting that "we should have (called) a slant."
"That's between us," Taylor said Tuesday when asked for his reaction to Boyd's candid comments following the loss. "We're all emotional. It was a game we all felt like where, we come out of the gates and we're playing well, and we're doing the things we needed to do, and you don't win and it gets away from you in the way it got away from us. It's frustrating for everybody. T.B. is a guy I respect the hell out of. Those conversations are always amongst us."
The Bengals had Monday off and will be back to work and preparing for the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday, but there will likely be a clearing of the air before that happens by Taylor with his pass catchers.