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Comparing the tenures of Bill Lazor and Ken Zampese

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Can Bill Lazor repair the damage caused by over a year of Ken Zampese?

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals announced on Wednesday that Bill Lazor will return as the team’s offensive coordinator in 2018. Lazor, who signed on as the team’s quarterbacks coach in 2016, replaced offensive coordinator Ken Zampese two games into the 2017 NFL season.

“We have a lot of talent on this roster and I am excited for the opportunity to build the high-powered offense we have the potential to be,” Lazor said via a statement. “This offseason will give us the chance to continue the success we had at the end of the year as we develop into a dynamic offense in 2018.”

While Zampese’s downfall was, reportedly, due to a playcalling system that became too complex, Lazor simplified the schemes that’s undergone several revisions since Jay Gruden’s inaugural season. Remember 2011? We were so hopeful. It wasn’t a magic fix and Cincinnati’s offense still ranked dead-last at the end of the season with Lazor responsible for 14 of those games. It gets worse. The following side-by-side comparison shows the Bengals rushing offense in 2017 compared to their historic worst in each category (NOTE: Cincinnati’s lowest yards rushing output was during the strike shortened 1982 season).

Bengals Rushing Offense in 2017 vs Franchise Worst

RUSHING 2017 RANKING FRANCHISE WORST
RUSHING 2017 RANKING FRANCHISE WORST
RUSHING YARDS 1366 49 949 in 1982 (Strike)
RUSHING YARDS/GAME 85.4 50 85.4 in 2017
RUSHING YARDS/CARRY 3.67 46 3.53 in 1982
RUSHING TDs 6 t-47 3 in 1993

By the end of the season, Lazor found a workable combination on the offensive line, rotating Christian Westerman and Alex Redmond at left guard with Clint Boling bouncing outside to tackle. The results were clear with the Bengals generating 288 yards rushing against the Lions and Ravens combined.

If next year offers any hints on how Cincinnati concluded 2017, you should feel optimistic that, despite the historic issues in 2017, that Lazor is figuring this out with a direction you could feel excited about.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of Ken Zampese’s offense, all of 2016 and the first two games in 2017, against Bill Lazor’s 14 games in 2017. NOTE: These are raw numbers that offer little interpretation (all stats pulled from Pro Football Reference).

Ken Zampese vs Bill Lazor

COMMON Ken Zampese Bill Lazor
COMMON Ken Zampese Bill Lazor
Games 18 14
Points/Game 18.6 20.1
Yds/Game 345.9 283.7
1st Downs/Game 20.4 17.2
Turnovers/Game 1.3 1.2
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Andy Dalton
Attempts/Game 34.9 30.7
Completions/Game 20.9 18.6
Throwing % 59.90% 60.70%
Touchdowns 1 1.8
Interceptions 0.7 0.6
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Rushing Offense
Attempts 28.4 23.6
Yards 107.1 86.2
Yds/Carry 3.8 3.6
Touchdowns 0.9 0.4
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Drives Ken Zampese Bill Lazor
Total 191 159
Scores 66 46
Pct. 34.6 28.9
Turnovers 21 15
Pct. 11 9.4
Punts 90 76
Pct. 47.1 47.8
Three-out 40 40
Pct. 20.9 25.2