Ken Zampese


Ken Zampese is in his 15th season with Cincinnati, and his second year as offensive coordinator. He spent the previous 13 seasons as quarterbacks coach, during which he guided multiple QBs to high production levels.

Ken Zampese is in his 15th season with Cincinnati, and his second year as offensive coordinator. He spent the previous 13 seasons as quarterbacks coach, during which he guided multiple QBs to high production levels.

      Last season’s Bengals offense finished comfortably in the NFL’s top half in net yards at No. 13, averaging 356.9 per game, and it hit those numbers despite significant time lost to injury by key skill positon players.

      WR A.J. Green was on pace at midseason to set team records by wide margins for receptions and receiving yards, but he played only two snaps over the final seven games. TE Tyler Eifert, a 2015 season Pro Bowl selection, missed eight games. And HB Giovani Bernard, who topped 1000 scrimmage yards each year from 2013-15, missed the last six games.

      In many categories — including net yards, first downs, yards per pass attempt and turnovers — the ’16 offense was as good or better than a ’15 unit that contributed to a 12-4 record. But Zampese points to last season’s No. 18 ranking in red-zone TD percentage (53.7) as the target for improvement.

      “In the red zone, we failed to score TDs at the rate we’re accustomed,” Zampese says. “That’s our big fix (for ’17) right there.”

      Zampese (pronounced “zam-PEE-zee”) was QB Andy Dalton’s position coach for Dalton’s first five seasons (2011-15), overseeing a steady climb by the second-round draft choice to the ranks of Cincinnati’s best all-time offensive leaders. In 2015, Dalton posted a club-record 106.3 passer rating, and his career rating of 91.8 is also a franchise record. Dalton from 2011-15 became only the second starting QB in the Super Bowl era to lead his team to the playoffs in each of his first five seasons. Zampese stands as the only QBs coach to fully guide such an accomplishment, as Baltimore’s Joe Flacco, the other QB to turn the trick, had three different position coaches during his five-year run.

      Equally notable in 2015 from a coaching standpoint, first-year QB AJ McCarron was immediately impressive when suddenly called on late in the season to replace an injured Dalton. McCarron went from Zampese’s classroom to a playoff run unexpectedly, and the coach’s No. 2 pupil defied an experience level that amounted to only a handful of mop-up snaps. McCarron posted a 2-1 record and a 101.1 passer rating in his three starts (Games 14-16). In the Wild Card playoff, McCarron led a Bengals comeback from a 15-point deficit to take a late lead, only to see Pittsburgh come back with a winning FG at the gun.

      Prior to Dalton, Zampese led Carson Palmer into the ranks of the Bengals’ all-time top passers. Palmer still holds the club’s all-time best completion percentage (62.9) and the Nos. 3-5 totals for passing yards in a season.

      In 2003, his first season with the Bengals, Zampese had success with a veteran starting quarterback in Jon Kitna. The ’03 campaign saw Kitna post career highs at that point in completions (324), passing yards (3591), TD passes (26), completion percentage (62.3) and rating (87.4).

      Zampese came to the Bengals following three seasons (2000-02) in St. Louis. He was wide receivers coach in 2001, and the Rams led the league in passing yards, averaging 291.4. In 2002, he added the title of passing game coach, and the Rams finished second in the league at 259.6 yards per game.

      Zampese began his NFL career in 1998 as an offensive assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles under head coach Ray Rhodes.

      Prior to the NFL, Zampese coached for nine years in college, including two seasons at Miami (Ohio). In ’97, Miami averaged 37.4 points per game.

      Zampese played wide receiver and kick returner at the University of San Diego from 1985-88. He was the team’s Special Teams Player of the Year as a senior. He earned an undergraduate degree in business from San Diego, and later received a master’s degree in adult education from Southern California.

      Zampese was born July 19, 1967, in Santa Maria, Calif. He and his wife have two children. Ken’s father, Ernie Zampese, was a longtime NFL offensive coordinator who coached on a Super Bowl winner with the 1995 Cowboys. The elder Zampese also was a coordinator for the Chargers, Rams and Patriots.


            Playing and coaching history: 1985-88—Played wide receiver, kickoff returner and punt returner, University of San Diego. 1989—Assistant coach (AC), University of San Diego. 1990-91—AC, Southern California. 1992-94—AC, Northern Arizona. 1995—Offensive coordinator, Northern Arizona. 1996-97—AC, Miami (Ohio). 1998—AC, Philadelphia Eagles. 1999—AC, Green Bay Packers. 2000-02—AC, St. Louis Rams. 2003-15—AC, Cincinnati Bengals. 2016-present—Offensive coordinator, Bengals.

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