Bengals move quickly to name new offensive coordinator

Team promotes quarterback coach Dan Pitcher

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

The Cincinnati Bengals didn’t need long to find their new offensive coordinator.

Cincinnati announced Thursday the promotion of quarterbacks coach Dan Pitcher to the offensive coordinator position vacated with Brian Callahan’s departure to become the Tennessee Titans’ head coach. Callahan’s hire by Tennessee was officially announced Wednesday.

Pitcher had been on the Bengals’ coaching staff since 2016 and was one of the few holdovers from Marvin Lewis’ staff when Zac Taylor became head coach in 2019.

The 37-year-old began as an offensive assistant through the 2018 season, then started on Taylor’s first staff as an assistant quarterbacks coach before replacing Alex Van Pelt as the position coach when Van Pelt left in 2020 to become the Cleveland Browns’ offensive coordinator. Prior to joining the Bengals, Pitcher, who played quarterback at Division III SUNY Cortland from 2008 to 2011, spent four seasons in player personnel roles with the Indianapolis Colts after he began his coaching career at his alma mater as a wide receivers coach.

“I’m excited for Dan and his opportunity to increase his role on our staff,” Taylor said in a press release. “He has excelled in his job of helping develop our quarterbacks over the past five years. He has been a top contributor to our scheme and that role will now increase. I look forward to seeing him continue to grow in this new position.”

In Pitcher’s four seasons as quarterbacks coach, Joe Burrow set single-season team records for completions (414 in 2022), passing yards (4611 in ‘21), touchdown passes (35 in ‘22) and passer rating (108.3 in ‘21). From the start of the 2021 regular season through Week 10 of the 2023 campaign, Burrow led the NFL in completion percentage (68.7), while ranking third in passing yards (11,294), third in touchdown passes (83) and third in passer rating (101.0).

Burrow was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week six times and earned his first career Pro Bowl selection in 2022 with Pitcher as his position coach.

“Our relationship is as good as it gets,” Burrow said of Pitcher. “I wouldn’t be the player I am today without him. He’s been preparing for this for years. He takes his job very seriously and does it with a lot of passion.”

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Pitcher spent the final seven games of the 2023 season working with Jake Browning as he stepped into the starting role for the first time in his career and went 4-3. From Week 12 through Week 18, Browning ranked second in the NFL in completion percentage (71.5), second in passing yards (1868), third in completions (163) and third in yards per attempt (8.19).

He became the third quarterback since 1950 to record at least 1500 passing yards and 10 touchdown passes with a completion percentage of 70 or higher in his first seven career starts.

“I think Dan Pitcher’s a big part of that,” Taylor said of Browning’s success in an end-of-season press conference Jan. 8. “He’s the one putting in the work with the backup quarterback. Yeah, Brian and I have our meetings with the quarterbacks as a whole and we talk big picture, but my eyes are looking at Joe Burrow the whole time as I’m communicating. It’s Pitch’s job as the quarterbacks coach and he’s done an outstanding job of this, to prepare those other guys for their opportunities and to tie up all the loose ends when I walk out of the room. It might be ‘here’s what he meant to say. Here’s something that he didn’t say that we need to cover.’ That’s the role of a position coach and Pitch does an outstanding job of that. I look at starting with Pitch. Pitch put Jake in a position to be successful.”

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