CINCINNATI — The Bengals on Friday fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese following the team’s lackluster 0-2 start, marking the first time in the 50-year history of the organization that a coordinator has been fired during the season.
The Bengals said quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor will immediately assume coordinator duties in place of Zampese, who was with the Bengals for 15 seasons; he started as their quarterbacks coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator last season.
“Ken Zampese has done a tremendous job for us for my 15 years here, and I have the utmost respect for Ken as a person and as a coach,” head coach Marvin Lewis said in a statement. “But I feel it best for the football team to breathe new life into the offense, and that’s why I am making the change.
“Bill Lazor has great experience in the league and as a coordinator, and I feel Bill can progress our offense the way we need. We have a lot of talent on offense, and we need to keep working to take full advantage of the personnel we have.”
Cincinnati has gotten off to one of the worst offensive starts in team history. The Bengals are the first team to fail to score a touchdown in their first two games at home since the Eagles in 1939.
The Bengals’ scoring offense dropped from seventh overall in 2015, with Hue Jackson as the offensive coordinator, to 24th under Zampese in 2016.
The Bengals opened the season with a 20-0 loss to Baltimore followed by Thursday night’s 13-9 loss to the Houston Texans.
Lewis had said earlier Friday that he would keep any personnel changes private.
“We’re not getting the results we need to get,” Lewis said.
Lewis said the team was frustrated after scoring only nine total points in the first two games. Star wide receiver A.J. Green was one of those who voiced frustration, particularly in not seeing the ball when the Bengals were trailing in the final quarter of the game.
Said Green: “I don’t control the playcalling. I just go out there and run the play.”
Lazor, in his 12th season as an NFL coach, is in his second season with Cincinnati after previous stops in Washington, Seattle, Philadelphia and Miami.
It is the second consecutive season in which an NFL offensive coordinator has been fired after a Thursday night loss in Week 2. Last year, the Buffalo Bills fired Greg Roman after a loss to the Jets.
When asked if he thought the Bengals offense had been in a rut for the past two seasons, Green said the lack of scoring said a lot.
“We’re not scoring,” Green said. “If you look at it like that, then, yes, we’re not scoring.”