The AJC’s Steve Wyche reports that the new Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is a candidate for the recently vacated San Diego Chargers head coaching position and will interview at some point. The Chargers chose to fire coach Marty Schottenheimer on Monday, despite leading the Chargers to a 14-2 record, the best ever in franchise history.
The Chargers ownership cited the ongoing feud between Schottenheimer and GM A.J. Smith as one of the primary reasons for his surprising dismissal. Schottenheimer first came under fire after losing to the New England Patriots in the playoffs, but had seemingly avoided being fired in the week following. But the exodus of both offensive and defensive coordinators Cam Cameron and Wade Phillips, also contributed to his dismissal. Cameron interviewed for the Falcons head coaching gig before it went to Bobby Petrino. He eventually was hired by the Miami Dolphins, and Phillips by the Dallas Cowboys.
Zimmer was one of the first hires made by Petrino after the team hired him on January 7. This is not the first head coaching opportunity Zimmer has had. He interviewed for the job in St. Louis last season, that eventually went to Scott Linehan, and also for the vacant job in Nebraska in 2004 that went to former Oakland Raiders head coach Bill Callahan. Prior to joining the Falcons, Zimmer had spent the past seven seasons as the Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator.
Several candidates are expected to interview soon, including former Falcons head coach Jim Mora, who joined the Seattle Seahawks staff as defensive backs coach after his dismissal. The timing of Zimmer’s interview is not yet known, according to the AJC report.