The Bengals today filled the team’s defensive coordinator position with the hiring of Mike Zimmer, who has been an NFL coordinator for the past eight seasons.
Zimmer was Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator from 2000-06, including four years (2003-06) under head coach Bill Parcells. Zimmer moved to the Atlanta Falcons as coordinator in 2007. With the departure of Bobby Petrino as Falcons head coach, members of his staff were freed to pursue other opportunities.
“Mike has coordinated defenses at a high level in the NFL for a number of years,” said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, “and this is obviously a very important hire for me and for our organization. I’m excited about utilizing Mike’s ability to develop our young players and our defensive scheme.”
Zimmer, 51, is in his 15th season as an NFL coach in 2008. He joined the NFL with Dallas in 1994, and after six seasons working primarily as secondary coach, he was elevated to coordinator. He coached 15 years in the college ranks before joining the Cowboys, working at Missouri, Weber State and Washington State.
In Zimmer’s 13 years with Dallas, the Cowboys defense earned seven top 10 rankings in fewest yards allowed, and the team advanced to the postseason seven times. His 2003 defense led the NFL at 253.5 yards allowed per game as the team posted a 10-6 record. He earned a Super Bowl ring as an assistant with the 1995 Cowboys team that defeated Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XXX.
Zimmer was instrumental in the development of a number of defensive stars at Dallas, including S Roy Williams, CB Terence Newman and LB DeMarcus Ware. Williams has been named to his fifth Pro Bowl this season, while Newman and Ware are each in the Pro Bowl a second time.