The Cincinnati Bengals have made some quality additions to their coaching staff not even two weeks into the offseason.
The team announced the hirings of defensive line coach Jacob Berney and quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor on Monday. Lazor replaces the spot held by Ken Zampese for the past 13 years before becoming the team's offensive coordinator last week. After letting defensive line coach Jay Hayes leave for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Bengals were quick to replace him with Burney. Seeing Hayes go was a surprise, but the Bengals feel they made a great hire in Burney.
"Jacob is a great taskmaster with tremendous experience," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. "He started under Bill Belichick at Cleveland and has worked under some other great head coaches as well since he came into the league."
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Now in his 21st NFL season entering 2016, Burney last worked with Washington from 2010-14. Washington's defensive line helped the Redskins rank 12th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed as the defense posted 36 sacks in Burney's final season. His 2013 unit helped the Redskins rank fourth in the NFL in third-down conversion percentage (34.0) and tied for second in negative rushing plays by opponents (72).
Prior to joining Washington, Burney also had NFL defensive line coaching jobs with the Carolina Panthers (1999-2001) and Denver Broncos (2002-08). Burney is from Chattanooga, Tennessee and he was a three-time All-SEC selection at Tennessee-Chattanooga during his college football career. He later coached 11 seasons in college before entering the NFL as defensive line coach with the Cleveland Browns under Bill Belichick in 1994.
During Burney's seven seasons in Denver, the Broncos ranked in the NFL's top five rush defenses three times. During his full Denver tenure, the Broncos ranked 10th in fewest total defensive yards allowed.
As for Lazor, his last job was as offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins from 2014 through Nov. 30 of this past season before being let go as part of the staff overhaul sparked by Joe Philbin's firing.
"With Ken's elevation to coordinator, I'm ecstatic about bringing in Bill," Lewis said. "He's bright, and energetic and he also has experience under great head coaches. He's got everything we're looking for to continue to uplift our offense."
With the Dolphins, Lazor helped develop Ryan Tannehill into a franchise quarterback. Lazor's last full season saw Tannehill throw for 4,045 yards and finish with career-highs in passer rating (92.8), QBR (58.0) and passing scores (27). That same '14 offense finished with a 4.7-yard rushing average, which ranked second in the NFL.
In 2013 in Philadelphia, Lazor had a central role in Nick Foles winning the NFL passer rating title (119.2 rating). His earlier NFL years include working under prominent head coaches, including Dan Reeves (2003 with Atlanta), Joe Gibbs (2004-07 with Washington) and Mike Holmgren (2008-09 with Seattle).
Lazor has previously served as an NFL quarterbacks coach with Washington (2006-07), Seattle (2008-09) and Philadelphia (2013). He is originally from Scranton, Pa., and was a three-year starting quarterback for Cornell during his college days.
Lazor may have not had success as Miami's play-caller, but his career as a quarterbacks coach should have Bengals fans excited for what he can do in helping Andy Dalton continue to play at an elite level going forward.