Coaching Carousel 2016: Cincinnati Bengals Offense

A detailed look at the impact of Hue Jackson's departure and the promotion of Ken Zampese to offensive coordinator. 

Fourth Time's the Charm?

Always the groomsman never the groom. Ken Zampese is set to become the fourth offensive coordinator under head coach Marvin Lewis, but what's more notable is that he's worked under Lewis for 13 seasons. He was hired as the quarterbacks coach in Lewis' inaugural staff when Bob Bratkowski was the offensive coordinator. Bratkowski gave way to Jay Gruden who then gave way for Hue Jackson. Zampese was passed over for both Gruden and Jackson, but finally got the call as Lewis covets continuity entering what many believe is a make or break season for the veteran head coach.

Continuity is Key

Zampese is the only quarterbacks coach Andy Dalton has ever known, and with Dalton squarely in his prime and coming off his best season, there's a lot of logic behind Zampese's promotion. Should fantasy owners be worried that Zampese was the also ran on two other occasions? Probably not. Hue Jackson was the team's RB coach before taking over for Gruden, and the NFL is littered with positional coaches being successful replacements for departed coordinators.

Will the be any change?

Not on the surface. Zampese is a lifelong disciple of the Air Coryell system, having learned the system under his father Ernie Zampese and then later as Mike Martz' assistant in St. Louis. Zampese has been wildly complimentary of Hue Jackson and his play-calling, and it's clear the offense will be geared to closely resemble the 2014-2015 Bengals.

  • Scheme -- No Change

  • Tempo -- Little to No Change

  • Formations -- Little to No Change

  • Personnel -- Questions at Receiver

The only major change to the offense won't come from the switch to Zampese, but rather the turnover in the receiving corps

  • OUT: Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu

  • IN: Brandon Lafell and Tyler Boyd

If you're judging Jones and Sanu by the contracts they received in free agency from the Lions and Falcons, respectively, it would equate to major losses. But let's be fair -- the Lions and Falcons MASSIVELY overpaid for two receivers who are now miscast as starters in pass-happy offenses. I'm not going to argue that LaFell and Boyd are equivalent players -- but I don't think there's nearly the difference as many of my peers do.

Play Calling -- We Don't Know Until We Know

The only thing we can know until September is whether Zampese is a gifted play-caller. This may read like a statement of the obvious, but ultimately continuity is only REALLY continuity if the coach is 100% equal in play-calling aptitude. Is there a chance Zampese isn't as good as Jackson was last year? Sure. But there's also the chance he's BETTER.

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