Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is preparing to face his former team this week when the Bengals welcome the Dallas Cowboys to town. Zimmer worked for the Cowboys organization as an assistant and a defensive coordinator for 13 seasons from 1994-2006.
Zimmer has had nothing but good things to say about the Cowboys organization, so there is no apprent bad blood between him and the team.
The same can also be said about Zimmer and Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, who have a good relationship. They were both in Dallas during the mid 1990′s when Garrett was a backup quarterback and Zimmer was a defensive assistant. Garrett spoke today about his relationship with Zimmer.
“He’s a great coach, has been a long time, a great coach when he was here,” Garrett said. “I learned a ton from him. We have a really good relationship and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a person and as a coach and his defenses always play well and this year is no different.”
For Zimmer’s part, he feels the game against the Cowboys doesn’t feel any different than a game against any other team, “No different than San Diego, Philadelphia, the Giants or anyone else,” Zimmer said when asked about facing his former team for the second time since coming to Cincinnati in 2008. “I’m not playing (Dallas owner Jerry Jones), I’m playing those guys over there.”
However, come Sunday, all the pleasantries will go out the window and the Cowboys offense will need to find a way to best Zimmer’s defense which is ranked eighth in the NFL. It’s a defense that also has a few former Cowboys on it; Terence Newman and Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones will be playing in the Bengals secondary this weekend as Tony Romo tries to continue his hot play.
Players and coaches competing against former teams always makes a nice story but in the end, it’s all about how the players perform on the field.
The Cowboys have to hope they can get the better of their former coach.
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