CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is entering his sixth season, and for the third time he'll be working with a new offensive coordinator. The transition shouldn't be so drastic, however, as long-time quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese takes over the job of calling plays from Hue Jackson, now the head coach in Cleveland.
Zampese has been on Marvin Lewis' staff since Lewis was hired by the Bengals in 2003. He oversaw the development of Carson Palmer as well as working with veteran Jon Kitna and a then-unknown Ryan Fitzpatrick as Palmer's backups before Dalton was picked in the second round of the 2011 draft. Current Washington head coach Jay Gruden was Dalton's first offensive coordinator before Jackson took over for him in the 2014 season.
"The thing that's different now is that I'm not learning a new person. Zamp's been my quarterback coach since I've been here," said Dalton. "We already have that great relationship. I understand how he thinks and does things. For him, it's the same thing for me. I'm not learning the new style of a guy. That makes things easier because we've been together for a while."
Dalton took a leap forward last season as he led the Bengals to a 10-2 record before fracturing his right thumb in the first quarter of a Week 14 loss against Pittsburgh. It was an injury that forced him to miss the final three games of the season plus the AFC wild-card game against the Steelers. He still set a Cincinnati franchise record with a passer rating of 106.3, which was good for No. 2 in the NFL behind only Seattle's Russell Wilson (110.1). Dalton had a career passer rating of 85.2 in his first four seasons.
Dalton threw 25 touchdown passes and just seven interceptions, the first time in his career he hadn't thrown double-digit interceptions in a season. He also averaged a career-best 8.42 yards per attempt, the fourth-best single-season figure in Bengals history.
The thumb is completely healed now and Dalton is full-go as the Bengals began their mandatory three-day minicamp on Tuesday.
"Our quarterback continues to blossom with his own leadership and his personality," said Lewis. "Kenny provides a new space for him to continue to do that."