The Detroit Lions interviewed Jim Caldwell on Friday, but their coaching search has likely been in a holding pattern otherwise thanks to the San Diego Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals, both of whom play a playoff game this weekend.
As previously mentioned, the Lions are interested in talking with Chargers' offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. Add another name to that list, this time from the Bengals. Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports reports Detroit is also interested in Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer in addition to the Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins. Garafolo says Zimmer could interview with all three teams next week when he's no longer off-limits.
Zimmer has become a prime coaching candidate over the past few years, interviewing for plenty of head jobs but not receiving any. Many think it's because he's outspoken and straight to the point with ownership and doesn't shy away from expressing his opinion or stressing discipline. Those are the traits that could end up making him revered during this particular search in Detroit.
Many will wonder about Zimmer, seeing as conceptually, he is a Jim Schwartz clone given his lack of previous head coaching experience and status as a respected defensive coordinator. Zimmer, however, has won wherever he's gone with whatever coaches he's been working with, having plenty of top ten defenses along the way. He's worked for two of the best coaches in the NFL in Bill Parcells and Marvin Lewis. As Martin Mayhew mentioned, the Lions' next head coach has to be a leader first, and Zimmer certainly fits that criteria.
Zimmer is hardly an offensive guy which will concern many, however, as previously mentioned, all he'd need to do to alleviate those worries in Detroit would be show a commitment to helping Matthew Stafford and the offense grow by hiring a new, respected voice as offensive coordinator. If that happens, it would be hard to knock hiring a man who's seen plenty of success in football while having an attitude that might serve the Lions perfectly.
Watch closely for more news on Zimmer's possible candidacy next week.
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