|Mike Zimmer's intense style might fit nicely in Tampa Bay. (Getty Images)|
Up until Friday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hadn't shown much interest in interviewing anyone under the age of 75* for their vacant head-coaching position. So it might be refreshing for fans to hear that the Buccaneers have asked permission to talk with both Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski.
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According to Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network, the Bucs plan to speak with both soon.
Previously, Tampa scheduled interviews with Brad Childress, Wade Phillips, Marty Schottenheimer and Mike Sherman. That's not the youngest bunch of bucks. (Chilly's the youngest, at 55.)
But that's Tampa's prerogative, especially coming off a disastrous 2011 that saw Raheem Morris, who turned 35 during the season, lose control of his team, possibly because he wasn't seasoned enough to appear disciplined.
Phillips withdrew his name from consideration prior to Friday's scheduled interview, and with the latest additions to the list, it appears Tampa wants to increase the scope of its search.
Of course, Zimmer's actually 22 days older than Childress, so it's not as if he's that different. And, honestly, he makes the most sense for this position, in our opinion.
For whatever reason, Zimmer's struggled to get interviews for head-coaching gigs until this season and has never been up for serious consideration. But he's a hard-nosed coach known for his discipline, and his defenses have always been top-tier: only once in his three stops (Dallas, Atlanta, Cincinnati) since 2000 has his defense ranked below 20th in total yards allowed.
And that was his lone season with the Falcons in 2007, which means he didn't exactly have a lot of time to work his magic. In 2003, Dallas had the top-ranked defense in the NFL under Zimmer, and the Bengals have been a top-10 unit twice since he took over as defensive coordinator there in 2008.
As for Chudzinski, well, he's a hot name on the coaching circuit right now because of his work with Cam Newton. He's going to get a job in the NFL at some point and he's a Florida guy, so Tampa could make sense. But it's hard to imagine that the Panthers would let "Chud" go to a division rival; if Tampa were really impressed with Carolina's offensive coordinator, it wouldn't be that surprising to see them give Chud a raise and a promotion.
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