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Continued: Reusse: Coaching staff will speak volumes about Zimmer's path with Vikings

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 18, 2014 - 12:48 AM

That was the hire that didn’t work out. Green and Burns clashed early in the 1993 season, Denny fired him as offensive coordinator, and promoted Billick, an assistant with a modest résumé.

That worked well for all parties. Billick was in charge of a record-setting offense in 1998 and landed as coach of the Baltimore Ravens. He won a Super Bowl with a spectacular defense in his second season.

“The assistants that you hire as a first-year coach establish what you want to do with your program,” Billick said. “You saw that with Denny in Minnesota, and with me in Baltimore.

“I had Marvin Lewis, Rex Ryan, Jack Del Rio and Mike Smith on my first staff. They all became NFL head coaches. I also would have Mike Nolan, Mike Singletary and David Shaw [Stanford], other head coaches.

“It is well-established that Mike Zimmer is a tremendous defensive coach. Yet, as a head coach, you can’t say, ‘I’m going to concentrate on my area and let someone I hire take complete charge of the offense.’ ”

Even if Zimmer is successful in hiring Norv Turner as his offensive coordinator?

“Norv is one of the great coaches, and if you’re trying to develop a quarterback — as they will be in Minnesota — there’s none better,” Billick said. “But Mike’s also been around long enough to know that a head coach has to be involved in every aspect.

“Offense, defense, special teams … the coaches you hire are working on your program.”

 

Patrick Reusse can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on AM-1500. • preusse@startribune.com

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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pm
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
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