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)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are planning to schedule second interviews among a list of candidates that includes Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. Originally Mike Sherman was the only known finalist for the vacant Buccaneers head coaching job. Including Zimmer and Sherman, other candidates that the team could be scheduling to conduct a second interview with includes former Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress, former head coach Marty Schottenheimer, Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray, Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements and Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski.
There is some speculation that the Buccaneers may favor an offensive-minded coach to help quarterback Josh Freeman, who took an impression 2010 campaign (95.9 passer rating) and arguably regressed in 2011. Based on that speculation then Sherman, Childress, Clements and Chudzinski would be the favorites over defensive-minded coaches like Zimmer and Schottenheimer.
Zimmer, who has one year remaining on a three-year deal, is currently not with the Cincinnati Bengals coaching staff who are in Mobile, Alabama scouting the practices for the annual Senior Bowl. Zimmer has also been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Indianapolis Colts head coaching vacancy.