The Miami Dolphins coaching search presses on into the third week of the offseason.
Thus far the Dolphins have interviewed interim coach Todd Bowles, Dave Toub, Jeff Fisher, Joe Philbin, Mike Zimmer, and now Mike McCoy.
The Miami Dolphins have not tipped their hand toward a clear cut agenda or vision except for sound bites generated by owner Stephen Ross as looking for the next young “Don Shula.”
Since being informed by Jeff Fisher that he was taking the Rams job, the Miami Dolphins have been in scramble mode to continuing casting the net even wider to include coaches on playoff losing teams. These candidates can be hired right away.
Based on all of the interviews that are known, the Dolphins could narrow their option to three candidates and decide soon or in the near future. Of course, teams such as Tampa and Oakland could take some of the preferred coaches off Miami’s hiring list.
The three candidates deemed worthy of serious consideration are Joe Philbin, Mike Zimmer, and Mike McCoy.
Joe Philbin has a chance to be the coach of the Dolphins because of his offensive acumen. He has been a position coach in Green Bay since 2003 after having had stints in Harvard, Iowa, and Northeastern as an offensive line coach. He was named offensive coordinator in Green Bay in 2007 and has had a hand in Aaron Rogers and Matt Flynn’s development. It is safe to say that Philbin has a wealth of experience with the West Coast offense and creating plays that include multiple receiver sets and play fast and explosive football. Philbin is a highly recommended coach because of his experience working with Rogers and assisting him as a Super Bowl winning quarterback. Some drawbacks to Philbin are that he has never been a head coach at any level and thus far in Green Bay’s system he has never called plays (Head Coach Mike McCarthy does). In addition, Philbin recently lost a son in a tragic accident last week and it is not known if Philbin wants to be a head coach leaving the highly supportive and family oriented atmosphere in Green Bay. Philbin is scheduled to interview in Tampa Bay and Oakland in the near future.
Mike Zimmer is a tremendous football coach and has been a defensive coordinator in Dallas, Atlanta, and Cincinnatti. Zimmer has developed and designed defenses that have helped lead the Bengals into the playoffs two out of the last three seasons. Zimmer shows versatility in his area of expertise as a defensive coach by changing his defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4 when Parcells took over as head coach in Dallas. In addition, Zimmer survived coaching changes in Dallas prior to joining staffs in Atlanta in 2007 (left because Bobby Petrino quit on the team) and then Cincinnatti in 2008. However, questions arise with Zimmer that deal with the recognition as a head coaching candidate now as opposed to earlier in his coaching career and why the Dolphins are considering him. Could it be that Jeff Ireland is reaching for familiarity since both were in Dallas under Bill Parcells? Nonetheless, Zimmer garners interest based on his tough, hard-nosed style. He is known as a compassionate coach of his players, has provided chances for success with Tank Johnson in both Dallas and Cincinnatti, and has competed at the highest level in the AFC North a very tough division to win.
Mike McCoy is a very curious candidate in that it was not known that he would be interviewed until late yesterday, even though the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero suggested it was possible he would be a candidate. While Coach McCoy has been an Offensive Coordinator since 2009, he has learned under John Fox (Dan Henning was the OC with McCoy) and Marty Schottenheimer. Among the offensive coordinators available to interview for advancement to head coach, he comes in with experience in dealing with a variety of different quarterbacks. He has worked with Jake Delhomme and coached in a Super Bowl under John Fox. He has worked with Miami’s current starter Matt Moore and Tim Tebow the past two seasons. McCoy has an incredible amount of experience as a developer of QBs and play design. He has even called the plays in Denver this season. This season as the Broncos began the season at 1-4, McCoy designed a game plan for Tim Tebow that would play to his strengths and thus propelled the Broncos into the playoffs. All of this was done mid-season! Coach McCoy brings quarterback experience in college and in the World League (Amsterdam) and Canadian Football League (Calgary Stampeders). The knock on McCoy is he has not been a head coach at any level. However, he brings that young and fresh mind as a rising star on John Fox’s current staff in Denver. He is being sought after by the Oakland Raiders and just concluded an interview in Miami.
Unlike deposed Dolphins coach Tony Sparano, none of these candidates have ever been a head coach at any level. However, being a head coach in the NFL takes NFL experience. All of these coaches have risen in the past 10 years to the coordinator position. Jeff Ireland and owner Stephen Ross have some thinking to do.
Personally, I really think that Mike McCoy fits the mold of the Miami coach. He is young at age 39, he is vibrant, he is versatile in changing the playbook entirely for Tim Tebow, and he brings a passion for winning and success with limited parts on offense and multiple injuries. His game plan beat the Steelers in the playoffs! He has all the tools and experience in working with good quarterbacks in the past. He has coached in a Super Bowl early in his career. In addition, he has experience in the only NFL and could put together a quality staff.