Let me state this right off the bat: Deposed OC Ken Zampese is an excellent quarterbacks coach; he was just not a very good coordinator. Much like Marvin Lewis is a great defensive coordinator, but is not a very good head coach. The Cincinnati Bengals on Friday hired Bill Lazor to become the new offensive coordinator, replacing Zampese. Was this a good move? Let’s take a look…
Atlanta Falcons (2003)
Lazor entered the NFL coaching ranks in 2003 under head coach Dan Reeves as the Atlanta Falcons offensive quality control coach.
Lazor spent four seasons with the Washington Redskins, two of which were spent as the quarterbacks coach for legendary head coach Joe Gibbs. During the 2004 and 2005 seasons, Lazor served as an offensive assistant.
Lazor coached quarterbacks for two seasons with the Seattle Seahawks under head coaches Mike Holmgren and Jim Mora, Jr.
On January 28, 2010, Lazor was officially announced as the new offensive coordinator of the University of Virginia Cavaliers.
On January 29, 2013, Lazor accepted a position with the Philadelphia Eagles as the QBs coach, coaching alongside Chip Kelly.
On January 15, 2014, Lazor was named offensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins. He was fired on November 30, 2015.
On January 18, 2016, Lazor was named quarterback coach for the Cincinnati Bengals, replacing recently promoted Ken Zampese. On September 15, 2017, Lazor was named the Bengals offensive coordinator, taking the place of the recently fired Ken Zampese.
So Bill Lazor does not a bad resume; the question for me will be what kind of offense he wants to run. When he got the Dolphins job, Lazor seemed to lean toward a Chip Kelly-type offense and I expect, with the talent level in Cincinnati, that we’ll see Lazor feature a lot of Kelly’s horizontal spread concepts, as he did in Miami.
The thing I liked most about watching film of his offense in Miami was all the pre-snap shifting and motion: The pre-snap movement gave the offense an illusion of complexity. But the reason Kelly’s men could always do it and also play fast was that, once the ball was snapped, the scheme was quite simple.
Let’s face it: the Bengals need a simple game plan behind an offensive line that can’t block. The Bengals need to cause some confusion pre-snap to put doubt in the defense. With Zampese, the offense was easy for a fairly smart fan to figure out, so I’m sure John Harbaugh could figure it out.
The simpler approach will also benefit Dalton, whose head must be spinning right now due to a lack of offensive line play. Zampese was more of a schematic guy and, from what I have been told, tried to do too much scheme-wise, too much for the Bengals personnel to handle.
So in Lazor, you have a guy that will make a much simpler offense look deceptively complex. I’m sure Lazor would love to play at a fast pace, but coming in week three you can only do so much. I expect the big change will be more pre-snap motion and a more vertical passing game.
I really have no clue if this is a good hire or not. What I do know is Zampese needed to be put out of his misery. If allowed to do what he wants, Lazor can have a significantly positive effect on Andy Dalton. If I had to guess, I think this is a positive hire for the Bengals, but only time will tell…
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