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Bengals step up, retain Zimmer

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Posted Jan. 15, 2010 @ 9:41 a.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

Not long ago, Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer thought he would be coaching elsewhere in 2010, but he will remain at the helm of the Cincinnati defense after signing a contract extension with the club on Jan. 12. The terms of the deal, which NFL.com reported to be a three-year pact, were undisclosed.

"Honestly, I didn't think there was going to be any chance that I would be back, only because of financial reasons," Zimmer told PFW this week. "Really, at the end of the day, that's what it was going to come down to, a business decision.

"And they fixed that for me."

Zimmer, 53, has made the Bengals' defense into one of the NFL's best in two seasons on the job. The Bengals allowed the fourth-fewest yards in 2009.

"Mike has the ability to see situations front-to-back, every step and every detail, and he is tremendous at calling the game on Sundays," head coach Marvin Lewis said in a statement announcing Zimmer's re-signing.  
Zimmer cited his comfort with the team, which rallied around him after the passing of his wife, Vikki, in early October, as one of the reasons he decided to say in Cincinnati.

"I really like being around the players," Zimmer said. "I had so many of them come to me after our last meeting and say, 'Coach, we want you back. It's not about the money — we're family here.' And Marvin, through the ordeal with my wife, Marvin and the other coaches and players were great. And the fans in Cincinnati have really embraced me and the things we have done here."

Looking forward, Zimmer wants the Bengals' defense to be more disruptive.

"We did some great things — don't get me wrong," he said. "We're in the top 10 in almost every defensive category, but I think (there's) two areas we have to better in. I feel like we've got to be a lot more of a dominating a defensive team, hitting the quarterback more. And all the great defensive teams, they get the ball away from the offense.

"If we could (play) like we did statistically and fundamentally and all of those things and then create some more turnovers by outphysicaling the offense or by hitting the quarterback, that would make us more of a defense that people feared, I guess, is the best word."

 

PFW has launched its brand-new NFL Draft Newsletter series, with the second issue now ready for mailing. Produced by PFW's player personnel department under the direction of Nolan Nawrocki, the series consists of four information-packed issues. For more info or to subscribe — click here for PDF e-pub or here for print format.

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