Tom Krasovic: Ken Zampese and ex-pupil will need QB luck to help Falcons take flight

Tom Krasovic, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Football

SAN DIEGO — Decades ago, the name Zampese evoked touchdowns.

Ernie Zampese, assistant coach, helped to get flashy results with three NFL franchises — the "Air Coryell" Chargers after he reunited with former San Diego State mentor Don Coryell; a pair of Rams teams quarterbacked by Jim Everett that finished among the NFL's top three in points, and, nearly 30 years ago, the last Cowboys team to win a Super Bowl.

At the NFL combine, Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot mentioned new senior offensive assistant Ken Zampese, Ernie's son, with hopes he can untrack the TD-challenged franchise.

The problem, as anyone in Georgia could tell you, is you can't make a Waffle House-quality breakfast without quality waffle batter.

No quarterback with Atlanta calls to mind "Air Coryell" pilot Dan Fouts — much less Troy Aikman.

The Falcons would be NFC South favorites today if they employed the same Jim Everett who, before his much-remembered tussle with talk-show host Jim Rome on a Hollywood set, led the NFL in touchdown passes twice under Ernie Zampese in the late 1980s.


At least the Falcons aren't in denial.

New head coach Raheem Morris didn't try to perfume the air when asked last week about the team's quarterback play.

"If we had better quarterback play," said Morris, whose Rams defense abetted L.A.'s Super Bowl run three years ago, "I may not be standing here at the podium."

Hired by Morris last month, Ken Zampese served as an NFL quarterbacks coach in three recent seasons with Washington.


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