The Cincinnati Bengals announced Friday that they've named Ken Zampese as offensive coordinator for the team.
Zampese replaces Hue Jackson, who left to become head coach of the Cleveland Browns this week after serving as the Bengals' offensive coordinator for the past two seasons. The Bengals often stay in house with coaching hires by promoting assistant coaches, and they've stuck with that method this time in finding their new offensive play-caller.
Zampese has been the Bengals' quarterbacks coach for the past 13 seasons under Marvin Lewis, overseeing the development of Andy Dalton and Carson Palmer, the NFL's second and third-ranked passers in 2015. Dalton is a big reason why Zampese is the new offensive coordinator in Cincinnati, as the quarterback's continued development and usage of the current schemes and playbook will be essential moving forward. Ensuring Dalton only continues to get better is one of the biggest priorities for the Bengals.
"It’s a good day for our coaching staff as we move forward for the coming season," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis.
Lewis is excited to see Zampese finally get the chance to become a coordinator in the NFL.
"I’m excited for Kenny’s opportunity to continue to grow our offense," Lewis said. "He’s been in the offensive room over the years with our past coordinators, and he understands my vision about our future. It’s time for him to really put his hands on it now and advance the development. He has been Andy Dalton’s position coach, and Andy has just kept on getting better, so we’ve obviously got some good continuity working there."
Zampese has drawn minimal interest around the NFL over the past few years for vacant offensive coordinator jobs, but no one ever made a strong push for him. He began his NFL coaching career in 1998 as an offensive assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles under head coach Ray Rhodes.
In 1999, Rhodes left to become head coach of the Green Bay Packers, leading Zampese to follow while he worked as offensive assistant under then-quarterbacks coach Mike McCarthy and with future Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre.
Zampese later joined the St. Louis Rams (200-02) as an offensive assistant under head coach Mike Martz. He was eventually promoted to receivers coach and then took on the title of passing game coordinator.
During his time there, Zampese helped coordinate a Rams passing game that was known as "The Greatest Show on Turf." That Rams' high-powered, record-setting offense helped propel the franchise to a Super Bowl appearance in 2001.
Zampese then joined the Bengals in 2003 as their new quarterbacks coach under new head coach Marvin Lewis. He would help search for a quarterback in the 2003 NFL Draft before the franchise used the No. 1 overall pick to select Palmer.
From there, Zampese would help mentor Palmer and eventually Dalton to become franchise quarterbacks and help to create several explosive passing offenses that carried the Bengals, including this past year when Dalton became an elite quarterback.
In addition to the promotion of Zampese, the Bengals also announced the hiring of former Washington defensive coordinator Jim Haslett to become the team's new linebackers coach.