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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bengals defensive coordinator Zimmer can be 'brute, brash and harsh,' but players 'will run through a wall for him'



At 55, Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer lacks head coaching experience. But he won't be a pushover.

He's known for being a disciplinarian and extremely confrontational with players, who wind up loving him for it.

"Beyond this game, we consider each other friends,'' Bengals safety Chris Crocker told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "It’s just one of those things where you know that he’s very, very brute and brash and can be harsh, but at the end of the day he really does care about his players. I think that’s the reason why guys will run through a wall for him. It’s easy to respect a guy who will tell you the hard truth. We hope for nothing but the best for him. Hopefully one day he will become a head coach in this league.”

Zimmer and Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski have been given permission to interview for the Buccaneers head coaching job. Zimmer already has met with the Miami Dolphins.

Since he taking over at Cincinnati in 2008, the Bengals' defense has twice finished ranked in the top 10. In 2003, the Dallas Cowboys had the league's No. 1 ranked defense in the league. In fact, only once in his three stops in Dallas, Atlanta and Cincinnati since 2000 has Zimmer's defense ranked below 20th in total yards allowed.

The Bucs were last in the NFL in points allowed with 30.9 per game and thier 494 points yielded last season under Raheem Morris were the most in franchise history.

It's no wonder why the Bucs would want to consider Zimmer, whose no-nonsense approach and history of success could have an immediate impact on the youngest team in the NFL.

Crocker doesn't expect Zimmer's approach to change when he becomes a head coach.  

“I think he’s going to be the same person he’s always been,'' Crocker said. "He’s going to be in your face, and he’s going to be a realist. He’s going to tell you the facts, and he’s going to have a system, a format, of how he wants things to be done and how they should be done. He’s always been about doing things the right way. Any coach like that, they aren’t going to be showing favoritism. Things won’t slide with him. I think that will be the good thing. He can’t be any different than he is now, because this is who he is. This is why he’s got to where he’s gotten to. This is why he’s won Super Bowls and won playoff games and had perennial Pro Bowlers. That’s why he’s coached the way he’s coached, and I’m sure he won’t change.”

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said he's supportive of Zimmer becoming a head coach.   

"If Mike gets an opportunity, that would be fantastic, and we'll do nothing but be very supportive of him and any opportunity he gets a chance at,” Lewis said.


[Last modified: Friday, January 13, 2012 1:45pm]


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