When Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis recruited Mike Zimmer from Atlanta to run his defense I thought two things. First, I thought this would be a great marriage. Two defensive minded guys, both with a good measure of previous success, playing off one another, feeding each other information and ideas. Secondly I figured Zimmer would be thrilled to escape Atlanta after the Bobby Petrino disaster.
After a disappoonting 2008 season for the entire organization the Bengals were already capitalizing on this coaching union by year two. In 2009 Marvin Lewis won the NFL award for Coach Of The Year and Zimmer the award for NFL Assistant Coach Of The Year.
Although he ran a 3-4 in Dallas for a few years under Bill Parcells Zimmer doesn’t dial-up a lot of blitzes for linebackers as he likes to run a basic 4-3 defense. His scheme could be compared to that of the former Saints defensive coordinator Greg Williams even the late Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson in the way he gets his safeties in the backfield on exotic blitzes. Safeties Reggie Nelson and Chris Crocker accounted for 5.5 sacks last season.