For the third time since 2011, the Bengals will have a new offensive coordinator when the regular season begins.
This was actually a spot where we didn't see much change under Marvin Lewis as he kept Bob Bratkowski from 2001-2010. After he was finally let go, a young up-and-coming coach from the Arena Football League was brought up to the NFL as Lewis hired Jay Gruden as the team's OC.
After three good years, Gruden left to become the head coach of Washington. Coming off a playoff season in his second year on the job in Washington, Gruden is still praising his former Bengals colleagues for their help in getting him to where he is now. Among them are new Bengals OC Ken Zampese, who was Gruden's quarterbacks coach during his time in the Queen City.
Now, Zampese has filled Gruden's old shoes and Gruden couldn't be happier to see Zampese get the job he's more than earned.
"I was excited," Gruden said at his Scouting Combine press conference. "He deserves it. Kenny helped me get to where I am today. He was a big help for us, one of the best quarterback coaches in the league. He's now getting a deserved opportunity and he's gonna do great with Andy (Dalton)."
But Gruden knows it starts from the top and goes all the way down for an NFL franchise to be successfully, especially enough to make the playoffs for five straight seasons. That's what the Bengals have from the owner down.
"It says a lot about Coach Lewis. He's a great football coach," Gruden said. "And obviously Mike Brown knows how to run an organization. It's a great situation out there, and they did it the right way, really. A lot of the players on their football team are through the draft. The whole offensive football team are drafted guys and they built through the program. Very successful and consistent. Being able to be successful consistently is what we're all striving for."
As for the detail-oriented Zampese, Gruden knows he'll succeed in his new role.
"When you’re talking about Kenny, it’s one word and it is detailed," Gruden said, via Bengals.com. "He’s the most detailed guy I’ve ever seen. For my lack of detail, he made up for it. He cleaned it up for me and he did a great job with Andy (Dalton). You don’t want to make wholesale changes when your quarterback is playing as well as Andy has the last couple of years. He’s a big reason for it. I think he’s the perfect choice."
Zampese has been the Bengals' quarterbacks coach for the past 13 seasons under Lewis, overseeing the development of Dalton and Carson Palmer, the NFL's second and third-ranked passers in 2015. Dalton is a big reason why Zampese is the new OC in hopes that Dalton's development and usage of the current schemes and playbook won't change much, if at all.
Gruden did admit that going from his style to that of Zampese will be a big change for the Bengals offense, but he should be able to make it work and keep the Bengals offense humming under Dalton.
"That’s going from one extreme to the other. From me to Hue to Kenny. There are three different personalities there," Gruden said. "I think he’ll find his way. I think the players have a lot of respect for him. He finally got this opportunity and he deserves it. I think the players see that and recognize that."
As good as Zampese's predecessors were, hopefully he can live up to what they've built and keep the Bengals offense among the NFL's best next season.