Did Mike Zimmer Lose His Offensive Coordinator?January 14th, 2012
As Team Glazer prepares to stare down potential head coaching candidates Mike Zimmer, the longtime Bengals defensive coordinator, and Rob Chudzinski, the Panthers’ one-year-wonder offensive guru, (perhaps the interviews already have happened?), the big question for either prospect is who they’ll want to run the other side of the ball — the one opposite their expertise.
After listening to former Bucs QB and current JoeBucsFan.com analyst Jeff Carlson, Joe know wonders whether Zimmer lost his man.
Speaking yesterday on PrimeTime on WHBO-AM 1040, Carlson shared that Zimmer was defensive coordinator at Weber State during his entire career there during the late 1980s and explained that Bob Bratkowski was offensive coordinator for part of that time and the two coaches were tight. Zimmer and Bratkowski later reunited in Cincinnati before Bratkowski moved on to be Matt Ryan’s quarterbacks coach the past two seasons in Atlanta.
But yesterday Bratkowski was hired as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ new offensive coordinator under new head coach Mike Mularkey.
For all Joe knows Zimmer had other plans for his potential Bucs offense, but it’s intriguing to think Zimmer might have lost a guy that would have been a key member of his staff.
On the Bucs’ head coaching search, you can count Carlson among the Zimmer fans.
“He’s a yeller. He’s a curser. He’s a dipper, you know, chews tobacco and spits and does all that nasty stuff. But he’s still what you call a player’s coach,” Carlson said. “He is still a good dude. A guy that will hit you in the ribs with his elbow when he tells a joke, or whatever. He’s willing to laugh with you and understand that, but knows when business is business and it’s time to do your thing. He will certainly chew your rear end off with colorful language. But I think he’s going to get you to play at your highest level.”
(Meanwhile, this afternoon the NFL.com rumor circuit has the Dolphins heavy after Zimmer.)
As for Chudzinski, Carlson suggested that perhaps Carolina’s offensive guru gets a little too much credit for Cam Newton. Carlson gave a flip-side argument that Alex Van Pelt or Greg Olson would need to get massive blame for Josh Freeman’s tailspin if one is to heap lofty praise on Chudzinski, so reality is somewhere in between.
As for Freeman, Carlson painted a picture of Freeman needing a lot more than a new playcaller.
“I think Josh Freeman has a long way to go in getting his mechanics back,” Carlson said. “His potential is off the charts. But you gotta realize that by getting yourself under control. When you look pictures of Josh Freeman, still photo photographs of Josh Freeman, you can see that he is so out of sync that he needs an overhaul, almost like a Tim Tebow overhaul.”
Joe’s of the mind that a defensive-minded head coach is going to have an awfully tough sales job to Team Glazer and rockstar general manager Mark Dominik. Whoever it is better come to the conference table with one hell of a plan for No. 5.