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Philadelphia Eagles coaching candidate profiles: Mike Zimmer, Bengals DC

This is the latest in our series of profiles on prospective Eagles coaching candidates. For others, click here.

Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

We are profiling all the likely candidates for the Eagles head coaching position in 2013. For the rest of the series, check out this hub.

Next up is Mike Zimmer, defensive coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals.


1979-80 Missouri (defensive assistant)
1981-88 Weber State (defensive coordinator)
1989-93 Washington State (defensive coordinator)
1994-99 Dallas Cowboys (DB coach)
2000-06 Dallas Cowboys (defensive coordinator)
2007 Atlanta Falcons (defensive coordinator)
2008-present Cincinnati Bengals (defensive coordinator)

Why he could work

Zimmer has a long coaching resume at both the college and pro level. He is widely regarded as one of the best defensive minds in the game and is held in high regard by his peers around the league. One of the things we loved about Mike McCoy was that he's never been fired and as a coordinator has survived multiple head coaching changes. Zimmer is much the same. He remained on Dallas' defensive staff through 4 different head coaches, including Bill Parcells, who tasked Zimmer with implementing a 3-4 defense despite the fact that he'd never run one.

Zimmer's defenses through the years have no shortage of highlights. His 2003 Cowboys squad finished #1 in the league in yards against. His Bengals defenses have been consistently good since he took over. Here are their ranks in the leauge in terms of yards against.

2008 - 12th
2009 - 4th
2010 - 15th
2011 - 7th
2012 - 6th

There's no doubt that Zimmer would be a huge a lift to an Eagles defense that has been adrift for years now.

Why he may not be the guy

The job of an NFL head coach involves more than just drawing up gameplans and giving locker room speeches. He also has to serve as the face of the organization. He has to face the media after every game. When there's questions to be asked, he's got to answer them.

Mike Zimmer has not proven to be particularly adept at this. He's often described as irascible or brusk and it's hard to ignore that he's interviewed for a number of jobs in recent years and not gotten them. Often, the implication has been that he just rubbed the owner the wrong way in interviews.

For his part, Zimmer thinks he's misunderstood.

"I'm honest," Zimmer said told Pete Prisco with "If they ask me something, I will tell them. I also think there's a reputation that people have about me after seeing us on Hard Knocks. They saw me cursing out guys and all that stuff. But I am not like that anywhere outside of in this locker room or in our rooms or on the field. I am never that way when I deal with people in the building."

While some may brush off personality off as important, it does matter.

Final thoughts

Zimmer wants a head coaching job. Often assistants will play coy about it, but not Zimmer. He not only wants a top job, but he's kind of frustrated he hasn't gotten one despite owning a resume that you would think would get him a gig.

"It's still alive, but sometimes you get frustrated over the course of time. I go back and think about what they said about Tony Dungy and guys like that. You kind of wonder sometimes, like what else can I do? What does it take? You wonder why some guys get interviewed or get a job over you, but you just end up going with it, and still keep hoping for that opportunity to run your own team.

"All I can do is say, 'Here's what I've done, this is my track record, and this is my reputation as a coach.' I'm a coach who can get a good nucleus of guys and make them into a good team, I think."

It's tougher for defensive guys to get head coaching jobs. Typically, the hot assistants are offensive guys. But the fact is that there has to be good reasons that so many owners have interviewed Zimmer and concluded that he wasn't the right guy. If Zimmer truly does want a top job, hopefully he will have done some self inspection to figure out how to better present himself.

One more thing to note, you haven't heard anything about Zimmer interviewing here or anywhere else because he's not allowed. The Bengals are playing this weekend, so he can't interview like McCoy or the Falcons guys can. Those teams are on byes and NFL rules permit them to take interviews.

No team will be able to speak with Zimmer until the Bengals are either out of the postseason or make it to the Super Bowl, in which case he can interview in the bye week before the game.

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