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Senior NFL Columnist

Texans should consider Bengals DC Mike Zimmer as next coach

Like it or not, the Houston Texans have a perception of being a soft team.

Mention it to their players, and they get angry and defensive.

But it's there.

With the firing of coach Gary Kubiak Friday, I have the perfect way to change that.

Hire Mike Zimmer.

Zimmer, the hard-as-nails defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals, would change the culture immediately. He would bring nastiness to a team that needs it.

There is nothing soft about the way Zimmer coaches. He's done a heck of a job with the Bengals defense over the years, especially this year with the way that unit is playing without Geno Atkins and corner Leon Hall, two of the best players on defense.

Zimmer also knows how to handle problem players. See Vontaze Burfict for proof of that. He came out of Arizona State as a troubled player, which is why he was not drafted, and he's turned into a Pro Bowl-caliber linebacker. Zimmer's handling him -- Burfict even says it -- is a big reason for the change.

That means something.

Zimmer has interviewed for jobs in the past, and come up empty. His honest, in-your-face approach is said to turn off some owners. That's stupidity. Zimmer would change the culture in the Texans building the minute he took over.

So forget the idea of bringing a retread to Houston. Texans owner Bob McNair should consider Zimmer.

I can guarantee there would be no more talk of being soft when talking about the Texans.

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