Reports surfaced today that the Detroit Lions have asked the Cincinnati Bengals for permission to interview their offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. But Gruden isn’t the only Cincinnati coordinator expected to draw interest from teams looking for a new head coach. Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer has a solid track record but is still looking for his first shot as head coach. Three teams have reportedly expressed interest, the Lions not among them:
So what I'm hearing is the three teams that have shown interest in Zimmer are the Titans, Vikings and Redskins.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 6, 2014
The Lions indicated early in the process that they didn’t have a preference whether the next coach came from an offensive or defensive background. As the process has played out so far, the only defensive-minded coach they seem to have shown interest in was Lovie Smith, who has already been hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With Zimmer considered a strong head coaching candidate, it would be a curious move for the Lions to skip him in the initial interview process. Any candidate with a defensive background would surely have to articulate a detailed plan for addressing the offensive side of the ball, particularly as it relates to Matthew Stafford. With connections to Bengals assistant Hue Jackson, that wouldn’t seem to be a reason to exclude Zimmer from an interview.