When Bill Lazor puts the headset on for the first time as Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Sept. 24 in Green Bay, he knows his group isn’t going to have a drastically different look.
But he fully expects there to be a different feel.
“As a coordinator, two of the most important things that you have to do is to get the quarterback in rhythm and get the running back in rhythm,” Lazor said Friday afternoon shortly after his promotion in the wake of Ken Zampese’s firing.
Aside from points, rhythm seemed to be one of the biggest missing pieces in Zampese’s offense, which failed to score a touchdown in the first two games, leading to his ouster 10 days into his 15th season with the team.
Lazor, a 12-year NFL coaching veteran, came to the Bengals in 2016 after his own ouster as offensive coordinator in Miami in 2015, four games into his second season in that job. In his 17 months as quarterbacks coach, Lazor has had an up-close view of the struggles plaguing Andy Dalton through the first two games of the season.
“A lot of that responsibility will be mine to make sure we get him going,” Lazor said. “We all share the responsibility for that — all of the assistant coaches, and the players as well. When we all recognize that and are honest about it, it gives us a chance to do something about it and get better.
“I have great respect for Andy, and I know he wants to be great, so I know he will do just that,” Lazor added. “He will look at where he can get better and he will work with me.”
Establishing a rhythm at running back could be trickier with a three-man rotation of Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard and Joe Mixon.
“We’ve got a good number of running backs that will share that right now,” Lazor said. “I haven’t done three in the past, splitting it equally, but that’s where we’ve been so far.”
Sorting out the running back situation, re-assigning his duties as quarterbacks coach and figuring out where he’s going to be during games — sideline or booth — are all things Lazor plans to begin addressing this weekend as he settles into his new role.
As far as establishing an offensive identity or philosophy, that will take longer.
“Trust me, things have happened very fast,” he said. “At this moment, what we have to view is, ‘OK, where are we as an offense?’ We’ve spent a lot of time — and when I say we, I mean everyone in the building — building what we have as an offensive system, as an offense, and trying to gear it toward the particular players that we have.
“What we need to do — the philosophy — is to score as many points as we can to beat the Packers,” he added. “That’s it. And then we will take it from there. When something like this happens during the season, you can’t go much further than that. It would be nice if you could, but we have a real tough task at hand. So, we’re just going to tackle that (right now). We’ll let the philosophy work its way out as we go.”