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Marvin Lewis and Ken Zampese news conference transcript


Opening Comments …

               Lewis: "It's exciting today to introduce Ken to you as our new offensive coordinator. Ken has  been here all 13 seasons I've been here, and he has done a tremendous job with our quarterbacks throughout that time. He's worked hard in that role, he's worked hard to continue to grow and be ready for this opportunity.

                "Its exciting for our coaching staff and our players to continue with what we're doing. Now Ken gets a chance to coordinate on a staff he's already been a part of, and to put your own stamp on it. It's important to me. I think we will continually grow and improve. Hue (former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson) did a fantastic job, but Hue has, fortunately for him, moved on (to become head coach at Cleveland), and now we're with Ken, so I'm excited today for that."

How important was it to move quickly and make a decision?

                Lewis: "Ken and I had these conversations on more than one occasion, as he's been involved in other situations with other teams as well as being involved here. We were able in the last 72 hours to spend a lot of time, go through a lot, lay things out, have him give me his vision, and go from there."

Does this help the continuity of development with Andy Dalton?

               Lewis: "It does. It helps Andy and continues with the development of our QBs and their role in the offense. They won't have to re-learn, change, or teach somebody what we're doing. That way, we continue to grow and expand."

Ken, what is your feeling right now?

                Zampese: "Its fantastic, the faith that's been shown me from this organization. The family atmosphere we have here that's been cultivated year after year. I'm very happy to be a part of it. I can't wait to move forward with my new role with Coach Lewis, the Brown family, and the players. It's really exciting. I just want to thank my wife Christine and my two kids, Marie and Anthony, for supporting me over the years and the sacrifices they've made for me. Again, thank you to Coach Lewis and the Brown family for backing me here. They'll get my best."

Will the playbook be the same as in recent years?

               Zampese: "I think Coach (Lewis) alluded to it, but Coach Jackson set a great foundation for us. We'll take it from here and move forward using those same principles of physicality, toughness, energy, enthusiasm, passion, playing fast. All those things are true regardless of where you are. Those things have been set as a foundation here, and we'll do our best to push those forward, because that's where our success lies."

Does this feel like a long time coming?

               Zampese: "Its something I hoped for for a long time. Opportunities come when they come, and when it's right, it happens. Here it is right now, and here we go. So I'm excited for the opportunity and the faith that's been shown me, and I can't wait to get started."

What is your relationship with Andy?

                Zampese: "We've talked about everything that involves being a quarterback in the NFL. From the minute details to how you carry yourself, to how you communicate with others, body language, the details of a play, everything. He and I have grown together for a long time. These five years with him have been a lot of fun, because we've been able to take a guy from scratch and bring him up to this point. The challenge is now to not just keep him there, but push him forward from there. There's a lot of meat left on that bone, and we'll go find it when he gets back into town."

Do you have to change your personality when you become a coordinator?

               Zampese: "There's a degree, because your responsibility changes. So the scope of what you're handling is different. The way you deliver the message is different. Now you're in a position to be leading the whole group, not just the group in your room. It's different, just because of the responsibility of it. You need to be who you are. Whatever you are, you give your heart and passion, and if you're honest with guys every day, then you can come to some great results."

Where do you draw an identity from?

                Zampese: "It's all in the intangibles. It's how we play, our enthusiasm. When you watch a game and you feel the energy from the team, how fast they play, that's the trademark of what we want to be. When you do that, you get the most out of the talents of everyone in the room, when they can play fast. The kicker for us as coaches is to take a player where they can't go. That only comes through the speed, effort, enthusiasm and energy we can bring to them and pull out of them and pull out of them on a daily basis that will show up on Sundays."

Will you be on the field or in the press box?

                Zampese: "We'll cross that bridge down the road. Probably on the field."

Marvin, you've done a lot of promoting from within. How does this speak to the confidence you have in your staff?

               Lewis: "I'm blessed. We've tried to cultivate coaches from within and have them continue to grow into leadership positions. They have input along with the other staff and the coordinators. You're able to know when people are to the point that they're a contributor like that. As their role expands, the responsibility expands. We're fortunate to continue with adding people to the staff that have those kind of qualities."

Were there any talks with Ken about a succession plan?

                Lewis: "Ken's been through this process a couple of times with me. When we hired Jay (Gruden), Ken spent a lot of hours with me. I made a decision at that point to hire Jay. When Jay left, Ken and I spoke again. That's sort of the plan. In those two instances, I chose to go a different direction. This time I chose to go with Ken."

To clarify, do you look at guys who can maybe succeed you?

                Lewis: "There's no doubt. My place? (Laughs.) Wow. As I've said many times, our coaching staff is made up of a lot of different personalities, abilities, and so forth. Components of a coaching staff are important. You want hard working, enterprising people, self starters. People who are experts at their particular job, and have the opportunity to continue to grow. I've been fortunate to continually do that. Not only with Ken, but also with (new LBs coach Jim) Haslett yesterday. We'll add four to five others here the next few days. That's important to me, that we're adding coaches that have the bigger picture in mind."

Any points of emphasis for individual guys?

                Zampese: "I'll be as general as I can. (Laughs.) The energy and ability of each player accentuated by their effort will be the difference in our season this coming year. It's not about being a nine, its about being a nine that plays like a nine. That's the kicker; it's what percentage of talent can we get out of you. That's where we'll go as a coaching staff."

What has kept you in Cincinnati?

               Zampese: "This organization. They treat me like it's a family, and that's important to me. I'm different than some other guys. There's opportunity, most guys want to jump at the first opportunity they can get. I like being where people have faith in me. They treat me like family, and that's what's happened here. We've had good players over time. Coach Lewis has been tremendous to me, and giving me an opportunity to coach the QBs here. The guys we've had in the building have made me want to stay. I think that's been the biggest reason."

How much do you draw from your dad (former NFL offensive coordinator Ernie Zampese)?

                Zampese: "I call him all the time. He's been through everything. He has such great perspective, now on the other side of it, and he knows what's really important. When I ask him what does he miss, he always says camaraderie. It's always about relationships. The continuation and developing of a relationship with each guy you run into over the course of the day, and building bridges in this building. That's where I'm going."

Marvin, do you remember the first time you heard about Ken?

               Lewis: "Yes, I do. Mike Martz (former Rams head coach) recommended Kenny to me 15 or 16 years ago. When I began, and people thought maybe I'd be a head coach. Mike had been a friend for a long time, and he said he had a great young coach with him who needed to get out and away from under him and grow. That's what Ken's  been able to do.

"From that point on, I bumped into Ken somewhere, and told him what Coach Martz said, and it didn't work out that particular time, but it did over time, and obviously here in 2003. So I do remember exactly Mike saying that to me.

"I've hired a number people around here like that. Two just walked out, in Vance Joseph and Matt Burke (leaving the staff for new opportunities). I think that's good, that other coaches feel highly enough about you and their particular people, that they want to help you and give you their good guys. They want to recommend their good guys to you when opportunity comes. Frankly, we'll hire these other (new) coaches because of the same kind of recommendations, because of how they work and the kind of people they are, and how they carry themselves."

Is that why you've had so much success with your hires?

                Lewis: "Well, it's important. Until you're in a foxhole with a guy, you can observe from afar, but you don't really know. Frankly, we stay in a lot of foxholes. That's important, how people are throughout the course of the season. Its a long year for everyone."

Ken, the last two offensive coordinators here have become head coaches. Why have these coaches been able to move on and be so successful?

                Zampese: "Coach (Lewis) hires very very good people that are very good at what they do. He's had a string of them on the offensive side of the ball. Working closely with both of those guys (Jay Gruden and Hue Jackson), it was obvious to me, especially with Jay early, that this (head coaching) was going to be his future. And I've known that was going to be Hue's future since we worked back together since '04."

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