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Comparing Bengals offense between Ken Zampese and Bill Lazor

The boos were epic.

During Cincinnati’s disastrous performance against the Ravens, Bengals fans gradually expressed their frustration. Vocalized ferocity matching concert-sized jeers, fans further displayed their growing impatience with outstretched their arms. It was only the second quarter.

Cincinnati displayed shocking incompetence against the Ravens and Texans, forcing the Bengals made a change at offensive coordinator, with the eviction of Ken Zampese. Play-calling duties were handed to quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor.

So far, so good.

Zampese’s offense used complicated terminology and was analytical, not instinctual, by nature. Andy Dalton spent more time scrambling than reading opposing defenses. Receivers struggled to generate separation and the offensive line, not performing well as it was, couldn’t sustain their blocks. It felt as if so much effort went into generating first downs, much less points.

When Lazor took over, the terminology was simplified and Dalton is tasked with getting the football out quickly. It appears that the offense is mirroring that of Hue Jackson’s rather than Ken Zampese.

As a result, the comparison is striking, both for the overall offense and for Dalton himself.

The change is extremely apparent in the running game, but not from a statistical perspective. For example, under Zampese, the Bengals averaged 79.5 yards rushing per game with a 3.5 yard/rush average. Under Lazor, the Bengals are averaging 87 yards rushing with a 3.0 yard/rush average.

What’s changed is participation with Mixon taking on a primary back role, with the team disbanding the idea of full-time rotation (Hill on the first possession, Mixon on the second, Bernard on the third, etc.). 

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