Sean McVay's quick turnaround of the Los Angeles Rams from perennial humdrum to NFC champion in two short years sent a gaggle of NFL owners searching for the next wunderkind offensive coach. The phenomenon known as finding the "Next Sean McVay" got so pervasive, the Rams' own defensive coordinator was cracking jokes about the situation.
Zac Taylor was one of those in McVay's circle that saw his assent from assistant to head coach fast-tracked.
In his opening press conference after officially being named the new man in charge of the Cincinnati Bengals, Taylor didn't run from being compared to McVay, but wants to be considered his own person.
"He was an unbelievable resource as the process unfolded," Taylor said, via ESPN's Katherine Terrell. "Any question I had, he was an open book. ... So, no, he wasn't pushing me along. He knew I wanted to be a head coach. And he wanted me to be a head coach. And when the interview request came in, he did sit down and say, 'Here is what I went through. Here's experiences that may help you.'
"But at the same time, if I try to be Sean McVay, I'm going to fail. To be quite honest with you, we're different people. I've learned a lot from him, but I'm going to be Zac Taylor and do the best I can my way. And not my way, it's the Cincinnati Bengals way, right? Everyone's on the same page and we're going to get the most out of everybody here."
The 35-year-old Taylor didn't call plays in L.A., and his only brief experience in that arena at the pro level was a five-game stint with the Miami Dolphins in 2015.
Taylor noted that even if his goal were to emulate McVay, the differences in their personality would make that impossible. Taylor must be his own person to be successful in Cincy.
"Sean is a very dynamic personality," Taylor said. "He walks in front of a room and he energizes that room. And that's Sean's personality. I'm a little more reserved. ... So I'm not going to try to be Sean. Sean is spectacular in his own way and I'm going to do it the way I feel most comfortable with and has got me to this point.
"[Sean] affects everyone he's around. It's more than just scheme. He is brilliant at creating mismatches, but it's one that he gets the most out of the people, players and coaches that are around him every day. I've always felt that's important. Sean is another example of doing it the right way and good things will happen."
Now wading into deep waters, Taylor will attempt to do things the right way in Cincinnati. His own way.