My reaction to the Bengals hiring of Jim Turner
I understand the familiarity aspect of this….Zac Taylor has worked with Jim Turner….Zach's father in law has worked with Jim Turner.
I get wanting to surround yourself with people you know and trust. But it sure seems like an odd choice from this standpoint:
The choice counters and conflicts with Zac’s Day 1 message of character and accountability being the foundation of what he will build with the Bengals.
Jim Turner is 54 years old and doesn't appear to have learned from his previous mistakes.
He was fired by the Miami Dolphins after the implosion of his Dolphins offensive line room and fracturing of the team with the bullying fiasco involving Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito. A 144 page report commission by the NFL cited Turner for ‘unprofessional conduct” and creating a ‘troublesome work environment.' Dolphins owner Stephen Ross fired Turner, saying his behavior was against the core values of the organization.
I'd be curious how that incident plays with Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap and his efforts with his foundation's anti-bullying campaign?
Then, out of a gig for three years, Turner returned to coaching with a lifeline from Texas A&M and coach Kevin Sumlin. Turner did not make it to the first game of the season before being suspended for sexist jokes made before a group of women at a Texas A&M Football 101 event. Turner was promptly suspended three weeks. Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said “There is absolutely no place in our program or in our University community for inappropriate conduct or degrading comments towards women, or anyone, regardless of intent."
Keep in mind, Turner was not a dumb kid or a testosterone drive teenager. No, he’s 54, an adult. More importantly, he's a coach….a leader of men.
I guess I just can’t imagine all of this being worth the trouble or worth taking on the baggage for Taylor.
Sure, there will always segments of society that will answer Turner's actions with: 'Suck it up buttercup...this is football....a game played by men….not girls. Deal with it. Get over it.'
But the problem is this hiring causes an immediate pause, if not a second guess, by a skeptical fan base craving evidence that things are really going to be different.
As one long time NFL assistant told me this morning: "Zac spoke about accountability, character and thinking out of the box. Turner has none of that. He makes Zac look like a hypocrite."
So now, the spotlight quickly warms and turns to Taylor's assembling of an inexperienced NFL coaching staff. Brian Callahan, the new offensive coordinator has never been an NFL offensive coordinator. An OL coach with a questionable at best background has replaced perhaps the most effective and highly respected coach on the staff in Frank Pollack. It was Dave Lapham that labeled Pollack the MVP of 2018 Bengals coaching staff. And, for whatever reason, defensive coordinator candidates Jack Del Rio and Dom Capers, who might have more experience than this entire current staff put together, have walked away.
So, here we are. Maybe concerns over Turner's behavior is political correctness to an extreme. Perhaps it is all much ado about nothing.
Taylor clearly faces a lot of pressure as a first time NFL head coach. Surely he understand what is as stake and what questions come with hiring Turner.
But here is the big question for Taylor, Mike Brown and the organization:
If the fan base has already had it’s faith tested, if not broken…..and this head coaching move was about repairing the relationship…..why put it to the test two days later with a move like this?
Turner better be worth it. Because it's already costing Taylor and the Bengals some of the goodwill created 48 hours ago.