Round Table: Mike Zimmer And Draft Vs. Free Agency

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)

Jason and Josh sat down for another round table Monday morning and discussed the situation with Mike Zimmer, who some candidates could be to replace him if he leaves as well as the complications of drafting players versus signing them in free agency.


Jason: While we haven't heard anything official, my gut tells me that Mike Zimmer will not be on the sidelines in 2012. If that's the case, who would be on your short list to replace him?

Josh: The names that continue to play favorites is Cincinnati's defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle and former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio. We suspect there's more on Cincinnati's developing list anticipating Zimmer's departure, but until Zimmer leaves, we won't know the full scope of Marvin Lewis' candidates.

Jason: Yeah, Coyle and Del Rio are the two big names on the list that I've heard too. Still, I would rather hear the news that Mike Zimmer is staying here. But, I think we've all known for a while that Zimmer wasn't going to be here forever. That's the problem with having a successful coordinator. It's kind of a double-edged sword.

Josh: Whoever it is, we have to believe that Marvin Lewis has increasing power to get the guy he wants. But whoever that is, they have to take advantage of the defensive front. An aggressive coach that helps negates Cincinnati's flaws in the secondary.

Jason: I agree. Hopefully with the right picks early in the draft and maybe a free agent or two, the Bengals can fill the holes on the defense and make the new coordinator's job (if there is a new coordinator) much easier.

Josh: I wouldn't be surprised if the team eventually promotes Coyle. The Bengals denied Coyle's interview last year for the defensive coordinator position in Philadelphia. Plus he's been as integrated into the defensive work that Zimmer has done for the past four years. Plus it makes the search that much easier.

Jason: Yeah, and he would specialize in working with the section of the defense that needs the most work, which could be a plus.

Josh: Or knows their issues and finds ways of hiding that. We can't expect high draft picks in the secondary to come in and be effective. Draft picks are always a variable you can't depend on.

Jason: That's true but I have confidence in the Bengals when it comes to the draft. I feel that they've done well over the past few years and while you never know who will be able to produce or who will be good and who won't, I think the draft is a safer route to go than free agency.

Josh: That's fine and good, but draft picks are far from certainties. The draft last year feel in their laps with the first two picks. But who else contributed? And 2010 was perhaps the team's best draft during the Marvin Lewis era. But there's only four players remaining on the team from 2009. Keith Rivers, Jerome Simspon and Andre Caldwell were selected in the first three rounds in 2008.

Jason: I agree that draft picks aren't guaranteed to be productive. However, when it comes to the future of the team, they can't rely on free agents either. Unless they're able to land a top-tier player, which would mean they would have to spend tons of money, they would just have to stick with stopgap players like Nate Clements or Adam Jones. They're decent for one or two seasons but after that the Bengals have to spend more money to bring somebody else in. It's like buying a TV from a rent-to-own store.... if that makes sense.

Josh: Totally agree. But when determining who your defensive coordinator is going to be, you have to apply how the team looks today, not how it might look tomorrow.

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