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Kitna praises former coach Zampese

1/15/2010
Jon Kitna threw for 3,591 yards and 26 touchdowns in Ken Zampese's first year as the Bengals quarterbacks coach. Scott Boehm/Getty Images

CHICAGO -- Add Jon Kitna to the list of Ken Zampese supporters.

"He knows the game in and out," Kitna said Wednesday during a visit with the “Afternoon Saloon” on ESPN 1000. "He grew up Ernie Zampese's son, [so] he grew up around the game. He spent a few years with coach [Mike] Martz in St.Louis, and I always said you can learn a lot of football being around [Martz].

"When he came to Cincinnati in 2003, he did a great job of not only helping me, but grooming [Bengals starting quarterback] Carson Palmer and bringing him along. Ken is going to be a good if they get him as a coordinator, and he's somebody I talk to quite often."

Kitna echoed former teammate Craig Krenzel's description of Zampese as a detail-orientated coach, saying the quarterbacks were always prepared regardless of the situation. The veteran quarterback was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2003, his first season with Zampese as his position coach.

"Communication-wise he's great,” Kitna said. “He's a detail guy. Anybody that comes from his father and coach Martz [knows] it's all about the details of the game. If a route is supposed to be at 18 yards, then it's going to be at 18 yards. It's not going to be 17 or 19. Those details are going to be something that would probably take a lot of people by surprise early on, but they would grow to like it."

Kitna, who currently serves as Tony Romo's backup in Dallas, refused to take the bait when asked who he would hire if given the choice between Zampese and Martz.

"I have a lot of respect for both of the guys, having been under both of them in my career,” Kitna, who played for Martz in Detroit in 2006-07, said. “I don't really think you're going to go wrong with either one of them."