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Monday, January 7, 2013
Browns should interview Bengals' Zimmer

By Jamison Hensley

Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is getting looks from the Eagles and Cardinals to be a head coach. Some may question this considering how the Bengals' offense flopped in the playoffs.

My biggest question: Why isn't anyone looking at Cincinnati's other coordinator? Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer told Cincinnati reporters today that he has yet to hear from any teams. He should be a hot name this offseason, and the Browns should talk to him in their Coaching Search, Part II. The Browns not only would get stronger, but they would also make the Bengals weaker.

Zimmer has NFL experience. He's been a coordinator since 2000. Zimmer is known for having a sharp defensive mind. Three of his past four defenses in Cincinnati have ranked in the top 10 and his 2003 defense in Dallas was No. 1. And Zimmer gets the most out of his players. The strength of the Cincinnati defense this year was its front seven and only one player (linebacker Manny Lawson) was drafted in the first round.

Cleveland would prefer to hire an offensive coach to be its next head coach because defensive coordinator Dick Jauron has done such a solid job. But Zimmer's demanding, no-nonsense attitude is what the Browns need to get this young team on track. It's his sometimes abrasive style, which was featured on "Hard Knocks," that may have scared off teams.

Zimmer has been a head-coaching candidate in the past, including with Tampa Bay and Miami last season. There have been rumblings that he's too candid in interviews, which can turn off teams.

Zimmer deserves to be a head coach and wants his long-awaited shot at running a team. He has talked in the past about being frustrated for being continually passed over. And he has a right to be frustrated. Zimmer shouldn't be sitting home when coordinators like Gruden, Mike McCoy and Bruce Arians are getting interviews.