CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 1: Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer argues with head linesman Kent Payne #79 during an NFL preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Paul Brown Stadium on September 1, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Colts won 17-13. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
There's a general feeling that at the rate Cincinnati's defense is playing, Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer could be auditioning for a head coaching job. This is Zimmer's fourth season as the team's defensive coordinator, highlighted with his 2009 squad that ranked sixth in the NFL. A handful of draft picks and a much healthier roster later, this year's defense is a constant to reclaim the throne as the league's top ranked squad, which it was earlier during the season for the first time since 1983.
But anytime a coordinator does well in the NFL, their names are thrown about as potential head coaching candidates for struggling teams with coaches on the hot seat.
During a round table (of sorts), NFL.com's Steve Wyche believes Zimmer could be a top candidate:
Few people are more deserving than Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. He clearly has been one of the better defensive coordinators in the NFL for years. He’s also the type of coach that players love playing for. I can’t tell you the number of players who credit Zimmer for their individual and team success. In fact, Houston cornerback Jonathan Joseph, who spent most of his career with the Bengals, told me that Zimmer changed the outlook of players more than anyone with the franchise. He shoots straight and is honest with players.
Some teams have stayed away because Zimmer is considered a little rough around the edges, but so what? With his experience and relationships, he would be able to put together a crack staff and develop players. He’s due a shot.
Rough around the edges is putting it lightly. But the image of this team began shifting once Zimmer joined the Bengals coaching staff. Now if we can only convince Mike Brown to pay Zimmer a head coaches wage to keep him around as the defensive coordinator...