Ken Zampese is in his 12th season as Bengals quarterbacks coach. His success record has been impressive, and no more so than during the last three seasons, when he has guided second-round 2011 draft pick 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 three (or even first two) seasons. Across the NFL, only four other starting QBs in the Super Bowl era have had their teams in the playoffs in their first three seasons, and should the Bengals return to postseason in 2014, Dalton will join Baltimore’s Joe Flacco as the only starting QBs in the Super Bowl era to reach four straight.
Dalton, just 26 years old entering 2014, set Bengals records last season for passing yards (4293) and TD passes (33). Dalton went to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, and though he was not selected for 2012 or 2013, his passer rating and other major statistics have improved each year. Last season 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 (.625; 30-18 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 (18.7-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, finished his Bengals career as the team’s all-time leader in 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.