Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com reports that current Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is perceived as the leading candidate to take over as the Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator position. Zimmer interviewed for the job last Friday. He was also informed by Falcons owner Arthur Blank last week that he would not be considered a candidate to be named the team’s next head coach.
Zimmer would potentially replace Chuck Bresnahan who was fired by the Bengals. Other candidates for the job include Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan and Carolina Panthers defensive backs coachTim Lewis. But both aren’t considered prime candidates. Ryan is currently interviewing around the league for open head coaching positions, including interviewing with the Falcons this past Monday, but also remains under contract with the Ravens, which likely will mean they will be reluctant to allow him to a make a lateral move to a division rival. In Lewis’s case, the Panthers have not granted permission to the Bengals to interview him. This leaves Zimmer is the likely front-runner since he’s the only one to interview. The Bengals are also considering internal candidates to replace Bresnahan including defensive backs Kevin Coyle, and consultant Donnie Henderson who has served as the defensive coordinator for the New York Jets and Detroit Lions in the past.
Zimmer’s status with the Falcons remains unclear. He is still under contract, but the Falcons granted him and their other assistants permission to seek jobs elsewhere. He may or may not be retained by the new head coach, so it makes sense for him to seek employment now with his status up in the air.