Bengals coach Taylor confident of turnaround once they 'settle down'

By Sports Desk September 19, 2022

Zac Taylor is confident the Cincinnati Bengals will still be a "really good football team" once they "settle down" following another shock defeat for the reigning AFC champions.

The Bengals fell to 0-2 on Sunday as they suffered a 20-17 defeat to a Dallas Cowboys team led by quarterback Cooper Rush in the absence of the injured Dak Prescott.

After being sacked seven times by the Pittsburgh Steelers in an overtime loss in Week 1, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was brought down for six more sacks by the Dallas defense.

It is a worrying start for a Bengals team who spent significant resources remodelling an offensive line that allowed Burrow to be sacked 51 times last season.

"It's all frustrating," head coach Taylor said of the Bengals' pass protection issues. 

"We've given ourselves an opportunity to win these games against good teams, so once things settle down, I know that we're going to be a really good football team."

Praising Micah Parsons, who registered his second successive two-sack game, Taylor added of the Cowboys: "Maybe they haven't gotten the sacks against everybody you watch, but quarterbacks are just springing out of the pocket when you watch all of the tape from last season against these guys.

"They have a really stellar pass rush. They use these guys really well.

"Micah Parsons is going to be in the conversation for one of the best, if not the best pass rushers, just the way they can move him around. The way he can take advantage and bend.

"He's a real problem, and they've got real good players behind him, too. We put ourselves in some positions where they could really tee off and maximise what they're really good at. And that was frustrating early on.

"I thought we settled in better later in the game and were a lot more efficient."

Following defeats for the rest of their AFC North rivals on Sunday, the Bengals are only a game back in their division despite their winless start, which they have the chance to end next week on the road against the New York Jets.

"Every team's going to go through this, where you face a two game losing streak at some point," said Taylor. "Unfortunately for us, it's the first two games of the season. It's a long season.

"We've just got to hit the reset button, not in a negative way, but just regroup for Tuesday to get ready for the Jets this Sunday. I know our guys are going to be focused the right way. We have great leadership.

"So again, that's just what we're relaying on right now, is those guys to get focused, have a great week of practice and go to New York and find a way to win.

"I think we're going to be in great position going forward. Any time you lose, it's going to feel like, from everybody that's watching, that's the story. I get it. That's how it should be. We're going to work hard, just as we have, to go on the road and find a way to win against a good team."

Burrow, meanwhile, hailed the second-half improvement in pass protection but recognised the need for a complete game for the Bengals to get back on track.

"Second half, I thought the protections was great. They have a great rush, I would say top two or three best rushes in the league," Burrow explained. 

"They've got DeMarcus Lawrence, Micah, they do a really good job with their picks in game, too. And so, early in the game, you're going to have those, and I can do a better job of getting the ball out quickly.

"I thought, for the most part, we protected the ball well in those situations, and that was my goal this week. And then in the second half, I thought the offensive line protected great.

"We kind of warmed up in the run game, and then we're able to have some more time in the pass game, and that's what comes off of that.

"When we're able to run the ball well, they might be thinking 'run', and so then they're not so quick to get into their pass rush. So, the second half was more efficient, better for us, but just need to prolong that for the entire game."

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