The Bengals fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese and announced quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor will take over coordinator duties, the team announced Friday. Lazor last coordinated the Miami Dolphins in 2014 and 2015. Before his stint in South Beach, Lazor worked under Chip Kelly in Philadelphia.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport first reported the development.
Zampese joined the Bengals in 2003 as the quarterbacks coach. He waited 12 years behind Bob Bratkowski, Jay Gruden and Hue Jackson (the latter two are currently head coaches) to finally earn the Bengals' OC job in 2015. He lasted just 18 games in the position.
"Ken Zampese has done a tremendous job for us for my 15 years here, and I have the utmost respect for Ken as a person and as a coach," coach Marvin Lewis said in a statement. "But I feel it best for the football team to breathe new life into the offense, and that's why I am making the change. Bill Lazor has great experience in the league and as a coordinator, and I feel Bill can progress our offense the way we need. We have a lot of talent on offense, and we need to keep working to take full advantage of the personnel we have."
The Bengals took a nose-dive last season across the board under Zampese, including sinking from seventh to 24th in points per game from 2015 to 2016. After generating an embarrassing nine total points, 258.0 yards per game, 79 rushing YPG, with four sacks per game in two losses to open the 2017 season, Lewis decided to make a change.
"I need the ball in my hands somehow, somewhere, we gotta find a way to get me the ball," Green told reporters after the loss. "We're not doing that right now."
Green's frustration coupled with Andy Dalton's painful-to-watch regression led to the change.
All the Bengals struggles can't be pinned on Zampese. Dalton continuously looked flustered Thursday night, made head-scratching decisions and rarely gave his receivers a chance to make plays. The poor outing came after a five-turnover performance in Week 1.
Mix Dalton's poor play with a remade offensive line that struggled to block in both run and pass, and a muddled backfield rotation, and you get a limp offense. An even decent offensive output, however, could have had the Bengals at least at 1-1 and saved the coordinator's job.
The hope in Cincinnati is that the coordinator switch will lead to a more consistent backfield rotation, perhaps with Joe Mixon gaining a larger share, and an uptick in targets for Green.
The Bengals made the change staring down a possible 0-3 start with their next game Sunday, Sept. 24 against Green Bay at Lambeau Field.