The Bengals' historically slow start to the season -- one that included two straight home games without a touchdown -- forced coach Marvin Lewis' hand Friday when he fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese and replaced him with quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor.
In fact, Lewis was reportedly facing a "near mutiny" if he didn't replace Zampese, a source told Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio.
This meshes with tweets from Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Enquirer in the hours after the Bengals' 13-9 loss to the Texans on Thursday night.
We said this many times last year: A.J. Green is the one guy on the team who when he speaks, EVERYBODY listens. https://t.co/t6lHjx0KHj— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) September 15, 2017
Green, one of the NFL's most dynamic receivers who has 10 catches for 141 yards this season, was visibly frustrated after the game.
Frustrated AJ Green says "I feel like I could have made a lot of plays in the game if I were given opportunities" @WLWT #Bengals pic.twitter.com/gne4wqwbXs— Mark Slaughter (@MarkVSlaughter) September 15, 2017
Meanwhile quarterback Andy Dalton, who had a career year in 2015 before a Week 14 thumb injury ended his season, has struggled in 18 games since. Dalton ranked second in value per play among all passers in 2015, according to Football Outsiders' metrics, and slipped to 12th last season. His drop in production coincides with Zampese inheriting the job from Hue Jackson, who left to become the Browns coach after the 2015 season.
The numbers paint a sobering portrait:
Andy Dalton, by coordinator pic.twitter.com/jslRzixPwR— Chris Wesseling (@ChrisWesseling) September 15, 2017
More on #Bengals O with Hue Jackson vs. Ken Zampese, per @NFLResearch. One caveat: Hue was working with more talent pic.twitter.com/YY5tsn08cQ— Chris Wesseling (@ChrisWesseling) September 15, 2017
The good news is that Lazor has some experience as an offensive coordinator; he held the same title with the Dolphins in 2014 and '15. And while Miami ranked eighth in offense in Lazor's first season, according to Football Outsiders' metrics, they fell to 22nd in 2015 and Lazor was fired in late November.
And things will get worse before they get better; the Bengals travel to Green Bay to face the Packers on Sept. 24 before playing in Cleveland in Week 4.