While the Cincinnati Bengals are closing in with their third postseason berth (a first in franchise history), other teams are facing situations where a head coach could get axed due to their poor seasons (or multiple poor seasons). Hardly a direct influence on Cincinnati currently, the resulting firings could have an impact later.
Currently head coach Marvin Lewis, defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Jay Gruden are signed through 2014. Zimmer and Gruden have each received prominent interest in the past two years and they'll likely receive interest during the offseason this season. Zimmer's defense has finished in the top-ten in four of the past five years and never worse than 15th as he's concluding his six season as the team's defensive coordinator. Interest in Gruden has largely revolved around his work in 2011 (finding success with rookies) and his last name.
One potential landing spot has opened on Friday.
According to reports, Houston head coach Gary Kubiak has been fired Friday afternoon, a day after the Texans lost their 11th consecutive game on Thursday Night's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Kubiak, a long-time assistant coach in Denver, was hired in 2006 and finished the last two seasons knocking the Bengals out of the postseason in the first round. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is taking over as the interim head coach.
Zimmer has generated interest in recent years, but with most teams eventually going with offensive-minded coaches. One of the more interesting notes during head coaching rounds between 2011 and 2012 was interest from the Miami Dolphins, who had found Zimmer a bit blunt.
The Dolphins liked Zimmer’s rèsumè, and he and general manager Jeff Ireland have a good relationship. But one source said he might have been too blunt and honest for the Dolphins’ liking. Zimmer can be outspoken at times, including calling former Falcons coach Bobby Petrino a "gutless b--tard" for leaving the job without telling any of his assistants.
They eventually hired Joe Philbin.
When head coaching rumors ramped up last December, Zimmer tuned it all out.
"Honestly, I don’t listen to that stuff anymore. Honest to God’s truth," Zimmer said, via Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I’ve had for so many years people say, ‘This is your year.’ Then at the end of the year for about three days I’m totally depressed because I see this guy get a job, that guy get a job, that guy get a job. So it’s in my best interest not to think about it, talk about it and just try to do the best job I can because I’m like (everybody else), I get disappointed too."