Ken Zampese was first. He will not be the last if the Bengals continue to play this way.
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis told his players early this week that the firing of the former offensive coordinator might be the first job lost from their 0-2 start, but that players could be on their way out the door as well.
“This is not magic,” Lewis said of his speech to players, via Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “You have to do the work. Offense, defense and special teams all alike. Changing; I said we got Kenny out of here. Not Kenny. We did. And they gotta understand that. They’re part of that. And the next time, look around, there will be different guys sitting there. And they realize that, too.
“That’s the part of it that everybody has to understand. We have to do it together, collectively. We had a period where I felt like this was the time to do it, and we had an opportunity to make it right and move forward and get back in this race, get back in the division, get back in the AFC and do what we set out to do.”
The Bengals are 0-2 and haven’t scored a touchdown yet, so there’s really nowhere to go but up. But the firing of Zampese was not a hasty decision for the longtime Bengals coach, as it was the first time he’s ever fired an assistant during a season, and person since Zampese has been with him since 2003.
It is very difficult,” Lewis said. “He busted his tail here. He’s been with me since I started. Even when I had been involved in jobs prior to here, I had been in contact with Ken. He and his family are tremendous. They’ve been great friends. He’s a fine football coach, and he’ll get another opportunity to knock it out of the park. This just didn’t work.
“It was very difficult. But, we have a lot of people in this building. We have to look out for everyone. To Ken’s credit, he understood completely. Now we’ve talked enough about it. Let’s move on. I’ve said what I’m going to say, and I’m not going to elaborate any more.”
Of course, if the Bengals struggles continue, Lewis will be joining them. His contract expires after this season anyway, so if they continue down this path, the changes could be wholesale in Cincinnati.