Some perspective on possible Bucs candidate Mike Zimmer
One of the names we've heard linked to the Bucs' coaching search is Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. It's not clear whether Zimmer has an interview scheduled with Tampa Bay (he did interview with the Dolphins), but he's an intriguing name nonetheless.
This week, in reporting another story for the Times, I spoke with highly-respected NFL front-office veteran Gil Brandt, now an analyst for NFL.com and Sirius NFL Radio. He addressed several topics, but he paused for a moment when the conversation turned to Zimmer.
"I’ve known Mike Zimmer since he was a grad assistant at Weber State," Brandt said, "and I think he'd make a great head coach."
Brandt offered a number of reasons, including Zimmer's long years of experience as an assistant and his appropriate demeanor for the job.
"Mike is a guy who, I think, (based) on my picture of a coach, is a level guy," Brandt said. "He’s very level headed and consistent. I think he also has very good knowledge on both sides of the ball. And I think you go back and look at his history, he once turned down the head coach job at Nebraska because he wanted to coach in the NFL. I think that tells you something about where his heart is.
"I just think he’s very, very good."
Brandt also praised Zimmer's eye for talent, calling him "a very astute evaluator of players." And here's something interesting that you should keep in mind as we try to keep up with this coaching search. Brandt emphasized that Zimmer's history as a defensive backs coach makes him uniquely qualified to coach in today's NFL.
"In today's game, you better have somebody who understands the passing game," Brandt said. Obviously Raheem Morris' critics would point out that he, too, was a former defensive backs coach but was fired after going 4-12 this season. But there are prime examples of former defensive backs having success as head coaches. Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher comes to mind.
Anyway, this is all just one man's opinion, although that man has more than 40 years of association with the NFL. So, who are we to dismiss anything he has to say?