Current Job: Defensive Coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals
His name has popped up in head coaching searches and even interviews for the last several seasons, but Mike Zimmer hasn't had much luck landing a position.
NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal thinks his gregarious personality might have something to do with it:
Zimmer is not afraid to speak his mind whether to his players, media, or potential bosses, according to previous reports. His brash style might be getting in the way of him getting a job, which is a shame because Zimmer is one of the brightest defensive minds in the league.
Whatever the case may be, Zimmer has attracted attention in the past, so it stands to reason his phone will be ringing once more during this offseason.
We really don't know much about what Zimmer might bring to the table offensively, being that he is a defensive coordinator. He has spent his entire career on the defensive side, so it would stand to reason Zimmer would want a strong offensive coordinator.
His defensive prowess, however, is plainly evident.
The Bengals have quietly had a top-10 defense in each of the past three seasons, turning a once-woeful unit into one of the game's best. It is this defense that has buoyed the Bengals to the top of the AFC North this season.
Zimmer runs a fairly traditional 4-3 scheme on a defense that has a knack for finding diamonds in the rough, as Sports Illustrated's Ben Reiter pointed out:
These players, in many cases, had exceedingly productive, even award-winning, careers for big-time college programs, but dropped through the draft, sometimes out of it entirely, to Cincinnati. Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga? "He had a reputation of overrunning things," says Zimmer. Weakside linebacker Vontaze Burfict? "He had a bad combine, and a bad senior year." Left defensive end Carlos Dunlap? "Had a reputation of being lazy." Right defensive end Michael Johnson? "Had a reputation of not finishing plays." Defensive tackle Geno Atkins? "His size [6-foot-1, 286 pounds] hurt him. People were looking for taller guys."
He might have a fiery personality, but Zimmer seems to know how to get the most out of his players.