We received reports yesterday that the Colts will interview Titans assistant coach Jerry Gray and Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael for the head coaching job. Today, John Clayton of ESPN told SportsCenter that the Colts will also interview Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.
As someone who has to interact with Colts fans here, on Twitter, and on Facebook on a daily basis, I think I can say with a measure of expertise that fans very much want Zimmer to become the head coach in 2012.
There's no doubt that Zimmer is one of the league's top defensive coordinators. The Bengals lost star corner Jonathan Joseph to free agency after 2010, and all Zimmer did was plug in a few new players and coach the defense to a No. 7 in the entire NFL. Despite a rookie quarterback, Cincy held opponents to 17.8 points per game and surprised everyone by making the playoffs.
Zimmer would fit what Irsay seems to be looking for in a new head coach, especially one that is more defensive-minded. Here's Irsay from the presser on Tuesday announcing the firing of Jim Caldwell:
I do think [Colts G.M.] Ryan [Grigson] and I have talked a little bit about this, in going forward, we talked about where we want to be more balanced defensively. We had a lot of cap money spent on offense and that sort of thing, but we want to be balanced in terms of really being excellent on defense and being more consistent. I think that’s something, when the vision of the franchise is seen Ryan is looking at, and in terms of the head coach that we interview and that sort of thing, that will be part of the vision.
Grigson said at the same press conference that he is looking for 'leadership' from the next head coach. Zimmer might fit the bill there as well. Bengals players and staff all think very highly of Zimmer. He has already interviewed for the vacant head coaching jobs in Miami and Tampa Bay.