Feb 13, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor before playing against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals extend Zac Taylor’s contract through 2026

Cincinnati extended coach Zac Taylor’s contract through the 2026 season after he led the Bengals to their first Super Bowl appearance in 33 years.

Financial terms were not announced.

In his third year with the team, Taylor guided Cincinnati to a 10-7 finish in the regular season as well as playoff victories over the Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs before falling 23-20 to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday in Super Bowl LVI in Inglewood, Calif.

“Zac has come into the league and worked to develop the foundations for a winning program that can be successful over time,” Bengals president Mike Brown said in a statement on Wednesday. “The fruits of Zac’s efforts were seen this year, and Zac is well-regarded by our players and coaches.

“I know the effort and passion Zac brings to the building and to our team, and I am pleased by his approach. And I think the city of Cincinnati sees him the way the players and I do. He’s brought excitement to the town and deserves credit and recognition for that.”

Taylor, 38, was entering the final season of the original four-year contract he signed in 2019. The Bengals were 6-25-1 in his first two seasons before winning the AFC North for the first time since 2015.

–Field Level Media

Nov 1, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor celebrates after a game against the Tennessee Titans at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals retain head coach Taylor

Six wins in two seasons put Zac Taylor at risk of losing his job, but Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown thinks otherwise.

Taylor, 37, went 4-11-1 in 2020 and the Bengals averaged 19.4 points per game, well under expectations.

“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,” Brown said in a statement on Monday.

Taylor was hired in February 2019 and is 6-25-1 in two seasons.

A turnaround in the AFC North, which has three teams in the playoffs, is expected to take more time.

The Bengals drafted quarterback Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick in April and the former Heisman Trophy winner performed well before a season-ending knee injury in November.

Taylor was quarterbacks coach of the Los Angeles Rams under Sean McVay and played quarterback at Nebraska.

–Field Level Media

Oct 11, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Pernell McPhee (90)rushes past Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Jonah Williams (73) as quarterback Joe Burrow (9) scramble during the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals dealing with banged-up offensive line

The Cincinnati Bengals have had issues protecting rookie quarterback Joe Burrow this season.

It’s a challenge that will only get more difficult in the short term as the Bengals begin Week 8 with three injured starters on the offensive line.

Cincinnati (1-5-1) lost starting left tackle Jonah Williams (neck), center Trey Hopkins (concussion) and right tackle Bobby Hart (knee) during Sunday’s 37-34 loss to the visiting Cleveland Browns.

None of the three could be available when the Bengals host the Tennessee Titans (5-1) next weekend, second-year head coach Zac Taylor said Monday.

Williams’ injury was initially thought to be the most serious, but the situation isn’t as dire as first thought. Williams, the 11th overall pick in the 2019 draft out of Alabama, had become the Bengals’ best tackle.

“He’s day-to-day. It looked scary when it first happened but things are starting to look up there,” Taylor said.

Hopkins has been placed in concussion protocol and his status will be re-evaluated on Wednesday. In his sixth season out of Texas, Hopkins has started 44 games over the last four years with Cincinnati.

Hart, meanwhile, suffered his injury late in the fourth quarter. Since signing with the Bengals prior to the 2018 season, Hart has started each of Cincinnati’s 39 games. However, Taylor ruled Hart out for Sunday’s bout with Tennessee.

If all three starters remain sidelined, the Bengals will be exceptionally young on the offensive line against the Titans. Rookie Hakeem Adeniji filled in at left tackle against the Browns, with second-year pro Fred Johnson filling the void at right tackle. Third-year center Billy Price took over for Hopkins in the middle.

Taylor also said running back Joe Mixon (foot) remains “day-to-day” after he sat out the loss to Cleveland. Mixon leads the Bengals with 428 rushing yards and four total touchdowns scored this season.

Through seven games, Cincinnati is tied with the Philadelphia Eagles in allowing an NFL-worst 28 sacks.

–Field Level Media

Oct 6, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins (97) before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

DT Atkins set to make season debut for Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins is expected to play this weekend for the first time this season, coach Zac Taylor said Friday.

Atkins has been out with a shoulder injury he sustained during the preseason. The 32-year-old was a full participant in practice on Friday.

“I expect Geno to play on Sunday,” Taylor said. “He’s done a great job working himself back in at practices. We feel like this week he is ready to go.”

Atkins has been a stalwart for the Bengals since they selected him in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. In 153 games (134 starts) with the franchise, he has recorded 75.5 sacks, 383 tackles, 171 quarterback hits and eight forced fumbles.

“Mentally, physically, he’s ready to go,” Taylor said.

An eight-time Pro Bowl selection, Atkins was a first-team All-Pro in 2012 and 2015.

The Bengals (1-2-1) will meet the Ravens (3-1) in Baltimore on Sunday in an AFC North showdown.

–Field Level Media