Bengals begin prep for Lions; Burrow on voice rest

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor shouts during the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)
Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor shouts during the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

Credit: Bryan Woolston

Credit: Bryan Woolston

CINCNNATI -- When Zac Taylor first started installing his offense with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2019 and 2020, he showed the offense a lot of film of L.A. Rams quarterback Jared Goff.

Taylor was trying to bring a similar offense to what he learned under Sean McVay during his two years on his staff in L.A., and Goff was a key part of their Super Bowl run during the 2018 season, after which Taylor was hired to coach the Bengals. Taylor was the Rams’ quarterbacks coach that year.

Now, in Taylor’s third season in Cincinnati, he’s preparing for Goff in a completely different system. Goff is now the quarterback for the winless Detroit Lions (0-5), who host the Bengals (3-2) Sunday at Ford Field.

“I thought Jared operated that system really well (with the Rams) and had a good feel for it,” Taylor said of his recollection of working with Goff. “Two years there, won a lot of football games with Jared at the controls. He knew exactly how Sean (McVay) wanted it. He threw on rhythm. He knew how to handle the run checks. And he played on time. And so again, those were the things that as we tried to get this thing going, Yeah, they saw a lot of Jared Goff tape, and obviously he got them to the Super Bowl. So, he did a lot of great things there.”

Taylor said Goff has always been a clear communicator, which made the coaches’ jobs easier because they could easily get information out of him to make decisions for the betterment of the offense.

Communication with his own quarterback now could be a challenge this week while Joe Burrow is on “voice rest” following a throat injury that surfaced after Sunday’s game, causing him to be taken to the hospital as a precaution to be evaluated.

Burrow is practicing as usual this week but was not available to media Wednesday for a second straight time after Sunday’s postgame press conference with him was cancelled. He was released from the hospital Sunday night and is fine to practice, Taylor said, but he is trying to limit how much he is talking to save his voice for when needed most.

Wide receiver Tee Higgins said he still sounds normal in the huddle.

The second-year quarterback will continue to be a key for the Bengals offense, which has gotten off to a slower start this season than most expected with the addition of deep-threat wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. Taylor said the slow starts come down to not executing consistently, especially on third down.

“We just a more consistent performance across all four quarters,” Taylor said. “I think there’s been some good times where we’ve moved the ball over the course of a half and been productive, but we just need to put it all together and have just a really solid overall performance. Really to pinpoint one area it’s third down. We’ve got to be better third down.”

Higgins said he learned a lot watching the Rams’ 2018 offense on film, and the Bengals need to get back to playing more like that.

“Just the way that their guys was getting open, a lot of the play action and stuff, a lot of the receivers running deep routes -- just seeing that, which is our offense now, we gotta go out there and do what they were doing,” Higgins said. “(It’s good) because if (the defense tries to) double one guy, the other guy’s coming. Just a lot of open voids with this offense.”

Meanwhile, Goff is trying to get things going in similar fashion for the Lions under first-year coach Dan Campbell, who Taylor worked with in Miami during the 2012 through 2015 seasons when Campbell was a tight ends coach and an interim head coach for the Dolphins in 2015. Former Chargers coach Anthony Lynn is calling the offense for the Lions.

Goff has thrown for 1,303 yards and seven touchdowns through five games and has three interceptions. Burrow has passed for 1,296 yards and 11 touchdowns with six interceptions.

“I would say he’s doing a really good job of not turning over the ball,” Bengals free safety Jessie Bates said when asked about Goff. “When the deep shot isn’t there, he’s checking it down to the running back (D’Andre Swift), who is their leading receiver on that team right now. He’s making a lot of good decisions. Their defense is playing really well. He’s done a really good job managing the game, not turning it over and taking the shots when they’re there.”

Bates sees similarities in Detroit’s offense to what Goff did in L.A. and what the Bengals are running now, but thinks the Cincinnati defensive line can be disruptive to the Lions.

Goff has been sacked 14 times, and the Bengals have been better getting pressure on the opposing quarterbacks this year.

“Their offense does a lot of motions and stuff like that, similar to our offense, similar to the L.A. Rams,” Bates said. “I think what Goff is special at is with the “JET” motions and stuff like that, play-actions, he knows where the ball needs to be. I think that’s what makes Goff really special. But he does hold onto the ball a lot and I think our D-line will be able to get after him a little bit.”


Bengals at Lions, 1 p.m., Fox, 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7