Mike Zimmer, the defensive coordinator that turned Cincinnati's defense from liability to reliability in a four-year span, is still signed with the Bengals through 2012. Yet head coaching vacancies have threatened those plans. Reports at one point suggested that he was near the top of the Miami Dolphins' list of candidates, only later striking fear in Dolphins management for his honesty. The Dolphins hired Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin on Friday.
So where do we stand?
As of this posting the Buccaneers aren't expected to make their hire until early next week at the earliest and may continue through the week. Additionally the team may add to their lengthy list of candidates when the NFL's Conference Championships games are completed on Sunday.
Along with Zimmer, the coaches that Tampa Bay is looking at includes (but is not limited to) former Packers head coach Mike Sherman, Packers quarterback coach Tom Clements, Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, former head coach Marty Schottenheimer, former Vikings head coach Brad Childress and possibly defensive coordinators Jerry Gray (Titans) and Perry Fewell (Giants).
Colts owner Jim Irsay and General Manager Ryan Grigson fired head coach Jim Caldwell last week, initiating their coaching search soon after. Zimmer is expected to interview with the Colts at some point. Former Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel emerged as a possible candidate on Friday. Considering that Tressel was hired on to the team's coaching staff last year, it may just be a courtesy. However WBNS-TV reported that Tressel interviewed for the position on Friday and the Indianapolis Star confirmed that owner Jim Irsay flew to Tressel's Sarasota home.
Indianapolis has already interviewed New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. and Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray. Brad Childress is also a candidate.
Irsay tweeted Saturday morning that the position will be filled mid-to-late week next week.