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Five Things To Know About Redskins Quarterbacks Coach Ken Zampese


The Washington Redskins announced Ken Zampese as their quarterbacks coach on Thursday.

Zampese, 52, brings more than two decades of NFL coaching experience to the Redskins and has worked with many successful quarterbacks, including Brett Favre, Kurt Warner, Carson Palmer, Andy Dalton and Baker Mayfield.

Zampese will now work alongside new head coach Ron Rivera and first-year offensive coordinator Scott Turner to continue grooming first-round quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Here are five things to know about Zampese:

1. His father, Ernie Zampese, coached in the NFL for 36 years.

Ken Zampese has been around professional football since he was 9 years old. That's when his father, Ernie Zampese, began his 36-year NFL coaching career with the San Diego Chargers in 1967.

Ernie Zampese coached the defensive backfield for a year in San Diego and then became a scout for two years with the New York Jets. But ever since he returned to San Diego 1979, Zampese focused on the offensive side of the ball, just like his son has during his coaching career.

Zampese was the Chargers' wide receivers coach from 1979-82 and their assistant head coach from 1983-85, helping former head coach Don Coryell orchestrate what famously became known as the Air Coryell offense.

From there, he was the offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots.

Zampese finished his career as an offensive consultant for the Cowboys (2001), St. Louis Rams (2002) and Washington Redskins (2004). Sixteen years later, his son joined the Redskins as their newest quarterbacks coach.

2. Zampese contributed to "The Greatest Show on Turf" in St. Louis.

Zampese got his NFL coaching start as an offensive assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1998, and he assumed the same position in Green Bay the next season and in St. Louis the year after that.

When Zampese arrived in St. Louis, the Rams were in the midst of an offensive explosion that became known as the "The Greatest Show on Turf" under then-head coach Mike Martz.

The offense was nearly unstoppable, scoring at least 500 points and leading the NFL in passing yards and passing TDs in each season from 1999-2001. And while Zampese did not join the Rams until 2000, he was a part of the historic run the next two seasons as offensive assistant and wide receivers coach, respectively.

3. For 13 seasons, he coached quarterbacks for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Zampese eventually left St. Louis to become the quarterbacks coach for the Cincinnati Bengals, who subsequently selected Carson Palmer with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. 

With Palmer sitting out his entire rookie campaign to learn and develop, Zampese helped Jon Kitna win NFL Comeback Player of the Year after he threw for 3,500 yards and 26 touchdowns. And once Palmer became the starter in 2004, more success followed. Palmer made two Pro Bowls during his eight seasons in Cincinnati and set several franchise records, including career passer rating (86.9) and completion percentage (62.9) and single-season completions (373), passing yards (4131) and touchdowns (32).

Zampese's next project came in 2011 when the Bengals traded Palmer and drafted Andy Dalton in the second round. Dalton immediately became the starter and made three Pro Bowls in his first six NFL seasons. He also led the Bengals to four straight postseason appearances from 2011-14.

Zampese's run in Cincinnati ended in September of 2017, as he was relieved of his duties after the Bengals began the season 0-2.

4. Many credit Zampese for being the key to Baker Mayfield's rookie success.

The Cleveland Browns hired Zampese in January of 2018, months before selecting Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

Unlike Palmer, Mayfield played a lot during his rookie campaign and was exceptional.

In just 13 games, Baker set the NFL rookie record with 27 touchdown passes and led all rookies in passing yards (3,725), completion percentage (63.8) and passer rating (93.7). He also won NFL Pepsi Rookie of the Week six different times and finished second behind New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley for AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. Under Mayfield's guidance, Cleveland posted its best record since 2007.

Despite Mayfield's success and the Browns' progress, Zampese was not retained when Freddie Kitchens took over as head coach for Hue Jackson, who was fired during the middle of the season. And without Zampese's instruction, Mayfield experienced a significant sophomore-year slump. He completed just 59.4 percent of his passes in 2019 and threw 21 interceptions, the second-most in the NFL.

"Baker Mayfield] likes Freddie [Kitchens],’’ **[ex-Browns offensive line coach Bob Wylie said before the 2019 campaign**. "There's a good relationship there even though Kenny Zampese did all the coaching there."

5. Zampese spent the past year working outside of the NFL.

After 21 consecutive seasons coaching in the NFL, Zampese joined the Atlanta Legends of the now defunct Alliance of American Football last spring, directing their offense for the final four games of the regular season. He then accepted quality control analyst position with the University of Florida and helped the Gators finish 11-2.

Now he's back in the professional ranks, ready to disperse his knowledge and experience to all of the quarterbacks in Washington.

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