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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs receive permission to interview Mike Zimmer, Rob Chudzinski



The Bucs have requested and received permission to interview Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Zimmer, who we introduced you to on Thursday, is an experienced NFL assistant who is well respected in coaching circles. Zimmer helped the Cincinnati defense become one of the more solid units in the league this season, the Bengals finishing seventh in total defense.

Also today, it's being reported the Bucs are arranging an interview with Carolina offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, a fast riser in the coaching ranks who is credited with quickly developing quarterback Cam Newton, the presumptive offensive rookie of the year. Chudzinski who has worked for the University of Miami and Cleveland Browns, also interviewed for the still-vacant Rams opening.

Speaking about the prospect of Chudzinski leaving, Carolina receiver Steve Smith this week told the Charlotte Observer, "If you have any one of your good soldiers leave, the battalion is going to be down a little bit. They're going to look for that specialty that he brings to the group. Everybody kind of goes, 'Well, who's going to fill his spot?' And that's natural.

"There is a tendency to worry a little bit, to be concerned, because, 'Hey, he just got here and he's pretty darned good, and now we have to break in someone new.'"

Carolina this season set a franchise record for total yards (6,237).

Today's news shows the Bucs are broadening their search. Previously, just one of the four candidates known to have interviewed was a current coordinator, Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray. The remaining candidates -- Mike Sherman, Marty Schottenheimer and Brad Childress -- were all head coaches in their last NFL jobs.

[Last modified: Friday, January 13, 2012 12:47pm]


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