Sam Wyche knows the path Ken Zampese took to offensive coordinator.
The Marvin Lewis Golf Classic is a destination point for Bengals alumni north and south and here are a few notes on a napkin from Saturday night's V.I.P. bash and Sunday's post-round gathering under the tent at Shaker Run Golf Club in Lebanon, Ohio:
Super Bowl coach Sam Wyche confirmed a bad round on Sunday, but he predicted greater things for new Bengals offensive coordinator Ken Zampese.
Wyche, The Godfather of Bengals offense whose no huddle sown the seeds of the 21st century fast-break scheme, gave his blessing. After all, Zampese's path is the same one he took. Both men prepped for their jobs calling plays as a quarterbacks coach.
Marvin Lewis Community Fund host the Annual Marvin Lewis Golf Classic at Shaker Run golf course 5/22/2016
"The quarterback has to know what everybody else is doing, so the quarterbacks coach is coaching the quarterback about every position," said Wyche, who broke into the NFL coaching Joe Montana. "That's what a coordinator does. Coordinates all those positions. I think the quarterback coach probably works as close to the offensive coordinator as any other position. It's just the nature of it."
Wyche also looks at the players Zampese has coached in Carson Palmer and Andy Dalton, the franchise's two most prolific quarterbacks behind Ken Anderson and Boomer Esiason.
"Good coaches that have had good players learn from the players, too," Wyche said. "They pass off what they learn from their players. I learned from Joe Montana and Steve DeBerg. Those were the first two guys I coached and they were good players."
Another reason Wyche says Zampese "will do fine," is that he's able to use the scheme predecessor Hue Jackson takes to Cleveland.
"One thing about coming in and being a coordinator this year is you're coming into a system that's been used. All the players are pretty much up to speed. You're not starting from scratch." . . .
Wyche huddled with John Stofa, otherwise known as the Bengals First Quarterback in that 1968 inaugural season, and they needled each other about their ages. Not to mention everything else.
At 71, Wyche won. A few weeks ago he was in the commencement procession at Furman University as a member of the 1966 class celebrating its 50th year re-union.
Stofa is 74, but he doesn't look much older than the guy Paul Brown acquired from the Dolphins after the 1967 season to give the Baby Bengals a veteran leader. That's about the time Stofa was on the set of the movie "Paper Lion," helping the star, Alan Alda, look like a quarterback. He apparently also made a few scenes.
"Remember when Paul Brown took us to see "Paper Lion?'" Stofa asked Wyche. "I was like, 'Look, there I am.'"
Wyche obviously had no memory of that particular night before a game, but still managed to fire out, "Oh yeah, he was very disruptive during the movie." . . . .
But there was no joking around when Wyche's Rookie of the Year running back on that Super Bowl team, Ickey Woods, gave him a hug to thank him. Wyche couldn't make one of Woods' many fundraisers for asthma awareness in honor of his late son Jovante Woods, but Wyche sent a video.
"He's one of my favorite stories," Wyche said. "Ickey had plenty of opportunities to make poor decisions and he made the right one." . . .
Now that Woods has had both knees replaced, he has no pain and says he's cut a bunch of weight while walking every day. On most of the holes Sunday, he let the forecaddie drive his cart to the green while he walked.
There are downsides to artificial knees. He has to pull a sleeve over each knee for a brace to play golf and he had his foursome rolling about how he can no longer go through airport security without igniting the buzzer.
And he's doing a lot of that these days to raise funds for the Jovante Woods Foundation. He figures he's on the road about 30 weeks a year . . .
Tyler Boyd got some backslaps this weekend.
Classy Isaac Curtis, who became the prototype of the NFL's modern receiver when the Bengals took him in the first round of the 1973 draft, still has got that something special. He won the celebrity closest-to-the-pin contest Sunday morning from 127 yards out when he got inside the shots of Bengals radio analyst Dave Lapham and Bengals director of player development Eric Ball and landed about eight feet away.
It was Curtis' second appearance in the limelight in the last few weeks. Last month in Chicago he revealed the Bengals' second-round pick when he announced the selection of Pittsburgh's Tyler Boyd, quite naturally a wide receiver.
"I kind had a hunch like everybody else we were going to take a wide receiver at some point in the draft," Curtis said. "It was good to see one coming in the second round. I've heard a lot of good things about him. I understand he does a little bit of everything."
Curtis is sorry to see Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu on other teams.
"That hurt me. I hated to see those guys go," Curtis said. "They're really good receivers. They complemented A.J. (Green) very well. But in a year or two we may not even call their names any more. It will be Tyler Boyd." . . .
If the NFL Draft were held today, Curtis would be a top five pick. So fast he nearly made the U.S. Olympic team as a sprinter and so good with his hands that he once made two one-handed TD grabs down the sideline going each way against Cleveland.
But in '73 the run was king. Green went No. 4 in 2011 in a passing league and Curtis, a four-time Pro Bowler, can't get enough of the five-time Pro Bowler Green. Curtis now lives in Temecula, north east of San Diego, but he gets back for a few games now and then and always catches them when they're the national game.
"A.J. is one of the top receivers in the league. He's just so talented." Curtis said. "He's an all-around wideout. He catches it anywhere, down the field, across the field."
Who's the best Bengals receiver of all-time? Curtis has got this right, too.
"I played when I played," Curtis said. "It's a generation thing. The people who saw me play growing up are going to say me and the young people that see A.J. are going to say him . .. He's a great receiver. I'm a fan." . . . .
One guy who did see Boyd play before Curtis announced him is Browns tight ends coach Greg Seamon. Before former Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson became the Cleveland head coach and took Seamon with him back in January, Seamon was the Bengals' East Coast scout and a staple in the very successful draft room of the past several years.
Like Jackson, Seamon still got another invite to the classic and both made it to the Saturday night party. Jackson didn't golf, but Seamon, a former offensive coordinator at Miami University and University of Cincinnati with a lethal game, showed up for the celebrity contest. After seeing him hit, Lewis kidded into the mike, "Hue is working his butt off up there, so you know he's not playing."
Seamon admits "it was weird,' watching a draft in another building, and he quietly to himself called a lot of the Bengals picks. Maybe not the player. But the position.
"I thought when the receivers were off the board it would be a cornerback," Seamon said of the first round the Bengals took Houston cornerback William Jackson. "There were two or three possibilities and they got a good one."
Seamon liked what he saw from Boyd at Pitt down through the years. He didn't know if the Bengals would pick him No. 55, but that's about where he thought Boyd would go.
"I thought there would be a couple of teams that really liked him because he's such a versatile player," Seamon said. "And he's a guy that performed under great pressure there. They didn't have a lot of options in the pass game at Pitt, so people geared their coverages to him and he still made plays for three years. They'll be very happy with this guy."
Seamon says the Cleveland players are also happy with Jackson, his old quarterback when he called plays at Pacific 30 years ago.
"Hue's enthusiastic. He lifts you up," Seamon said. "We've got a ways to go, but I think he's the perfect guy for the job."
Seamon thinks Jackson's efforts dovetail nicely with a guy like Gary Barnidge, the ninth-year tight end.
"I'm fortunate to have inherited a guy like that," Seamon said. "He's not only a great player, but a great person. A hard worker. A leader on our team. The guys in my room are young guys and he's a great mentor." . . .
Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther spent more time talking to Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer Saturday night than Jackson. That made sense. Although the Vikes are expected to practice against the Bengals that week leading up to the pre-season opener in August, they don't play in the regular season. And Guenther has to not only scheme against Jackson, he has to do it twice a year.
Plus, Guenther is adding to the playbook Zimmer built in Cincinnati. So there's always shop talk.
"We always compare notes," Guenther said. "What are they doing? What kind of things have we put in? What blitzes? What coverages? Every (offseason) we say we want to study this team and that team and every year we look out there and say , 'You know what? There's nothing really out there that excites us other than what we come up with ourselves." . . .