There’s going to be some initial excitement in Cincinnati, what with a new coach for the first time in more than a decade and a half.
And new Bengals coach Zac Taylor could feel it from his players, in a scene his star wideout A.J. Green described as “like the first day of school.”
Via Fletcher Page of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Taylor said he could sense it was time when he walked to the meeting room to deliver his opening message.
“I could feel the noise level decrease as time got closer because they knew the meeting was about to start,” Taylor said. “It was a good first start.”
Players clearly felt a new energy around the team, which fired coach Marvin Lewis after 16 years of .518 football (which seems ordinary, but was far beyond anything they had enjoyed before he showed up).
But one of the things Taylor has held over was Lewis’ penchant for pithy slogans on T-shirts, and this year’s read: “It’s about us.”
“It’s about the team, it’s about us,” Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton said. “That’s the message that’s put up in the weight room and everything. It’s just getting everybody to buy in that this is a team thing. You’re doing it for the guy next to you. Day one, that was the biggest part of his message.”
Taylor tried to downplay the impact of his first day at work, but conceded that it “felt like game day” at the same time.
“In the grand scheme of things, it matters very little because we’re trying to build each and every day,” Taylor said. “So tomorrow’s team meeting is just as important as this team meeting. I’d be lying if I said you don’t think about that first time in front of the players and what your message is going to be. What’s important is that we keep stacking every single day and every single day that the players gain information we want to relay to them. Every team meeting is as good as the last one.”
And for Taylor, the bell will ring again today, and he’ll get back to work.