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)
Concerning the future of the Bengals defense, his future with the team, and his future as a possible head coach, Mike Zimmer is just as clueless about these issues as the fans are. A more than qualified candidate in a coaching carousel league which produces several job openings per year, Zimmer's position with the team has been in question the past few offseasons, and the matter of Zimmer becoming a head coach has become not a matter of "if", but rather "when". Who will be the team that finally gives Zimmer the reigns? Could that team possibly be Cincinnati? Expressing his uncertainties to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Paul Dehner Jr. of CBS Rapid Reports writes the following:
Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer interviewed for two head coaching positions this past offseason, and his contract expires after this year. Asked if he could envision himself staying in Cincinnati, he told The Cincinnati Enquirer he wasn't opposed to it. "Sure," he said. "You never know. Maybe they won't want me here next year. So many different things can happen."
Zimmer has done a phenomenal job as the defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals, becoming a fan favorite and a staple of the team the past few season. The prospect of him replacing Marvin Lewis, whose contract is also expiring, is unlikely, but remains an interesting thought especially to those many anti-Marvin Bengal fans.
For now, however, Zimmer must focus on the coaching task at hand. Problem is, he's not sure exactly who he is coaching yet. A number of 2011 defensive starters are now free agents, including Reggie Nelson, Manny Lawson, and Frostee Rucker. Improving the defense is a top priority in the upcoming NFL Draft, so what the defense will look like in 2012 is anybody's guess. On the matter, Paul Dehner Jr. reports that Zimmer says the following:
Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer to The Cincinnati Enquirer on seven defensive players who started at least one game being free agents: "I have no idea what the defense will look like at this point in time. Hopefully, we can get some back. I hope we can get them all back. That's probably not realistic to think that's going to happen."
Cincinnati will surely not being everyone back, and also will surely add some new faces--probably from the draft, possibly from free agency. Time will tell and soon these questions will be answered, but if there is one thing we can be certain of, it's that Zimmer is dead wrong when he says, "Maybe they won't want me here next year."
Trust me. Cincinnati wants you.