Ken Zampese is in his 13th season as Bengals quarterbacks coach. His success record has been impressive, and no more so than during the last four seasons, when he has guided Andy Dalton to arguably the best career start of any Cincinnati signal caller.
Most importantly, Dalton is the first QB to lead the Bengals to the playoffs in his first four seasons. No other Bengals QB has done it even twice. Across the NFL, only one other starting QB in the Super Bowl era — Baltimore’s Joe Flacco — has had his team in the playoffs in his first four seasons. And should the Bengals return to postseason in 2015, Dalton will become the first starting QB to reach five straight.
Dalton, who entered the NFL modestly, as the 35th overall 2011 draft selection, went to his second Pro Bowl after the ’14 season, added to the roster as an alternate. Though his season was not as strong statistically as some of his previous campaigns, he posted a career-best completion percentage (64.2) and led a pair of fourth-quarter comeback victories over division rival Baltimore, a key to Cincinnati’s playoff qualification
In 2013, Dalton set Bengals records for passing yards (4293) and TD passes (33). Also in ’13, Dalton won two AFC Offensive Player of the Week awards and one AFC Offensive Player of the Month, becoming only the second Bengal (also S David Fulcher) to win three of the NFL’s weekly/monthly awards in one season.
Dalton’s winning percentage in the regular season (.633; 40-23-1 record) is the best of any Bengals QB with 10 or more starts, and his ratio of TD passes to INTs in the red zone (22.7-to-1) is third-best among active NFL QBs, trailing only Russell Wilson of Seattle and Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay.
Prior to Dalton’s arrival, Zampese helped guide Carson Palmer to the ranks of the Bengals’ all-time top passers. Palmer, who spent eight years in Cincinnati, ranks as the team’s leader in career passer rating (86.9).
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 (pronounced “zam-PEE-zee”) came to the Bengals following three seasons (2000-02) in St. Louis. With the Rams, he had an expanding role with a passing offense that ranked among the NFL’s most prolific.
Zampese joined the Rams in 2000 as an offensive assistant. He was promoted to wide receivers coach in 2001, and the Rams led the league in passing yards for a second straight year, 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. He moved with Rhodes to Green Bay in 1999 before beginning his stint with the Rams.
Prior to entering the NFL, Zampese coached for nine years in college. He had one Cincinnati-area assignment, as passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 1996-97 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 coached 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-present—AC, Cincinnati Bengals.