Ken Zampese is in his 11th season as Bengals quarterbacks coach. His success record with Bengals QBs has been impressive, and no more so than during the last two 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 two seasons. Dalton was a Pro Bowler as a rookie in 2011, and though he did not repeat that honor in 2012, he improved over his rookie season in passer rating (87.4 compared to 80.4), TD passes (27 to 20), TD-INT differential (plus-11 to plus-7), completion percentage (62.3 to 58.1), yards-per-attempt (6.9 to 6.6) and passing yards (229.3 to 212.3).
Dalton’s 47 career TD passes rank third in NFL history for a player in his first two seasons, trailing only Dan Marino and Peyton Manning. In 2011, Dalton became the first NFL rookie QB to start as many as eight wins and throw as many as 20 TD passes. Also in 2011, Dalton became the first rookie not drafted in the first round to start every game of a 16-game schedule, much less start them all for a playoff team.
Zampese also worked veteran Bruce Gradkowski into the Bengals system as a ready backup. In each of two Cincinnati games with significant playing time, Gradkowski led Bengals victories, once from a tie score and once from a deficit.
Prior to Dalton’s arrival, Zampese helped guide Carson Palmer to the ranks of Cincinnati's 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 he also coached for the Chargers, Rams and Patriots.
PLAYING AND COACHING HISTORY - 1985-88: Played wide receiver, kickoff returner and punt returner at 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, Bengals.