Ken Zampese has been in the conversation twice before when Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis needed an offensive coordinator. Apparently the third time was a charm.
Zampese was hired Friday to replace Hue Jackson, who moved on to become head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Zampese has been the quarterbacks coach in Cincinnati since Marvin Lewis was named head coach in 2003. Since then, he’s been passed over twice for the offensive coordinator gig — first in 2011 when Jay Gruden was hired, and again in 2014 when Hue Jackson was promoted from running backs coach.
"Its something I hoped for for a long time," Zampese said Monday at his introductory press conference. "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."
Lewis said it was important to maintain continuity with the offense so that the quarterbacks Andy Dalton and AJ McCarron could keep developing in the same system.
"It’s exciting for our coaching staff and our players to continue with what we’re doing," Lewis said. "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.
Lewis acknowledged his past decisions to go with Gruden and Jackson to run his offense, but believes Zampese is now ready for the job.
"You’re able to know when people are to the point that they’re a contributor like that," Lewis said. "As their role expands, the responsibility expands. In those two instances, I chose to go a different direction. This time I chose to go with Ken."