Who Dey Think Gonna Score on Them Bengals?
For just the second time in the last 19 seasons, the Cincinnati Bengals made the playoffs in. Contrary to the general consensus of the fans who know names like Carson Palmer, Chad Ochocinco and Cedric Benson, the strength of that team was on defense. The team held AFC North opponents to just 12.2 points a game en route to finishing 6-0 in the division. The key to the Bengals’ defensive success was not any one player, but the scheme of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.Zimmer is one of the most-liked and most-respected coaches in the NFL. With his football acumen and cool demeanor, Zimmer is a definite future head coach if he wants to be. As was clear in when he endured the sudden loss of his wife, Zimmer’s players have his back and love playing for him. And, as was just as evident when the Bengals defense played its worst game of the season against Houston after Zimmer missed most of the week to deal with the tragedy, the team needs him.Mike Zimmer joined WBNS in Columbus to talk about his defense last year, off-season preparations, the upcoming draft, and Chad Ochocinco’s dance moves.
On his thoughts on his defense last year:
“When we put the cutups on at the end of the year with all our games and our plays, it was pretty impressive in the fact that we hardly ever made any mistakes. The running game was pretty good for the most part. It was hard for me to find much to complain about. We have a bunch of guys on defense that don’t really care if they get the credit. They just want to play hard and do their jobs and try to win football games.”
On how he feels about his defense right now:
“The good thing is that we signed everybody back that we had last year. There is not one guy that we will lose off our defense so that makes me feel good. Now the question is, how can we improve our depth? How can we improve the pass rush a little more? We were solid for most of the year, but at the end of the year, we fell off a little bit. And I think we still need to find some more corners – a nickel back – all those areas that play into the situational part of the game. That’s always a key. When I worked for Parcells, he always talked about having pressure players and cover players. Those two positions are always really hard to find. We could use some more pass rushing from the inside of the line a little bit more so we could get some more push for the two ends.”
On what he is hopes to accomplish in off-season:
“Well really, the biggest thing for us is to try to get bigger, a little stronger, a little faster and make sure we stay healthy throughout the season. There is not too much football this time of year… It’s really just lifting weights and conditioning and that stuff. We don’t do any football with them for a while.”
On who calls the shots for the Bengals on draft day:
“Really it goes all the way up the food chain there. Marvin (Lewis) is the guy that I will try to convince a little bit. But Marvin and I are usually on the same page with a bunch of guys. There aren’t too many times that we disagree on players. The ultimate decision is the people upstairs – Mike Brown and the scouts.”
And on Chad Ochocinco Dancing with the Stars:
“I actually have seen him dance twice. He’s not really letting loose like I thought he would. The first time he did pretty good. The second time, he looked a little stiff. He’s got some work to do there. Maybe he’ll get knocked off and he’ll have to come back to work.”