We reported on December 26 that Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer will be Mike Shanahan’s first choice to run the defense in Washington. Charley Casserly of CBS said the same thing over the weekend. (Our DVR apparently quit working during the part where Casserly and/or James Brown gave us credit for being the first to report it.)
But there’s another name to watch. Per Jason La Canfora of NFL.com, Jim Haslett would be a possibility, if Shanahan can’t get Zimmer.
As Peter King of SI.com points out, Shanahan was “thinking hard” about using a 3-4 defense when King spoke with Shanahan at Steelers training camp in August. Zimmer and Haslett have experience with both defenses, although most recently both have used 4-3 alignments.
Former Broncos defensive coordinator Bob Slowik has been sharing office space with Shanahan and undoubtedly will be a member of the Washington staff, but most likely not as coordinator.
Zimmer is under contract with the Bengals through the end of the season. A league source recently told us that, technically, Zimmer’s commitment expires at the end of February. It will be interesting to see whether the Bengals let Zimmer leave early, especially since Bengals coaches typically are asked to roll up their sleeves and start helping with pre-draft preparations after the season ends, due to the low number of full-time scouts in Cincinnati.