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Bengals 'bullish' on Zac Taylor's foundation, won't fire coach

Bengals 'bullish' on Zac Taylor's foundation, won't fire coach
Zac Taylor will return for his third season as Cincinnati Bengals coach in 2021, despite the team's 6-25-1 record during his tenure. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown said Monday that the team plans to retain head coach Zac Taylor for the 2021 season, despite a 4-11-1 campaign in 2020.

"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," Brown said in a statement. "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.

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"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."

Brown also cited the Bengals "challenges with injuries and key positions and missed opportunities." The Bengals selected former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft after a 2-14 season in 2019.

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Burrow sustained a season-ending knee injury on Nov. 22. The Bengals also played the majority of the season without starting running back Joe Mixon. Mixon missed the team's final 10 games due to a foot injury.

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"I am proud of our football team for fighting hard through adversity," Brown said. "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."

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The Bengals hired Taylor before the 2019 season. The 37-year-old coach joined the Bengals after he spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the Los Angeles Rams staff as an assistant wide receivers coach and quarterbacks coach.

Taylor also spent time with the Miami Dolphins and in the college coaching ranks, but had never been a head coach before he took the job in Cincinnati.

The Bengals had the No. 29 offense and No. 22 defense in 2020. The Baltimore Ravens beat the Bengals 38-3 in their season finale on Sunday in Cincinnati.

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Taylor said after Sunday's game that he will decide this week about the status of other coaches on his staff before next season. He also called the season "disappointing."

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"You have to compartmentalize it all," Taylor told reporters. "It's not how we wanted to end [the season]. There is no question about that.

"We did some good things the last two weeks. We just have to continue to build from everything, good and bad that happened throughout the course of the season."

The Bengals have the No. 5 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

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Washington Football Team's Kamren Curl celebrates with teammates after making an interception against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Sunday. Washington defeated the Eagles 20-14 to win the NFC East Division with a record of 7-9. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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