After parting ways with Jeff Ireland and Mike Sherman, the Miami Dolphins have put together a solid list of general manager and offensive coordinator candidates to replace them. The process is moving quickly as Stephen Ross is conducting 2-3 GM interviews daily while Joe Philbin is doing the same in search for his next offensive coordinator.
Although there are several intriguing names in the team's GM and OC searches, its up to Ross and Philbin to close in on the best candidates for the Miami Dolphins. With only one other vacant GM position in the NFL, the Dolphins should be able to hire their top choice. Hiring a top offensive coordinator might be a bit more difficult considering many of Miami's candidates have garnered interest elsewhere as a coordinator and a head coach. Still, it is Philbin's responsibilty to find the right person to help Ryan Tannehill take the next step and improve the league's 27th ranked offense.
Here are my rankings of the top four candidates for both searches:
1) Tom Gamble
The current Vice President of Player Personnel for the Philadelphia Eagles, Gamble has an outstanding reputation in league circles. He has greatly contributed to building playoff teams with the Eagles and 49ers through both free agency and the draft. The Dolphins requested an interview with Gamble on Friday and he is considered a favourite of owner Stephen Ross.
2) Jason Licht
The Dolphins have already held an interview with Licht, the Arizona Cardinals Vice President of Player Personnel. Licht's name has emerged in several GM searches over the past few years and was a finalist for the Bears GM job in 2012. Licht is widely regarded as a top-tie evaluator and helped assemble the Cardinals roster that went 10-6 this year.
3) Ray Farmer
Cleveland Browns assistant general manager Ray Farmer is described as one of the up and coming stars in the NFL. Farmer has the approval of Carl Peterson, who is advising Ross throughout the GM search as the two worked together in Kansas City. He is considered the leading candidate to be hired as the next Dolphins general manager.
4) Lake Dawson
Dawson just finished his second season as Vice President of Player Personnel for the Titans and his seventh season in the organization. Dawson is a highly respected talent evaluator and has experience managing day to day football operations as well as scouting at all levels of professional football.
Other candidates: The Dolphins have also expressed interest in Giants Vice President of Player Evaluation, Marc Ross and Falcons director of player personnel Lionel Vital. Miami assistant Brian Gaine and Steelers' director of football administration Omar Khan have interviewed for the position.
1) Gary Kubiak
Kubiak is widely considered as one of the NFL's top offensive minds but his tenure has Houston Texans head coach came to an end during their 2-14 season in 2013. Kubiak also has experience running the West Coast offense from his time as offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos and his head coaching expertise can be beneficial to Philbin as he enters his third season. Kubiak is currently one of the biggest names on the market, a factor that will have Stephen Ross interested.
2) Kyle Shanahan
The former offensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins, Shanahan was fired along with the entire staff after a 3-13 season. However, he was able to adapt his offense for quarterback Robert Griffin III which helped him become the NFL's rookie of the year in 2012. Shanahan would be counted on to continue Tannehill's development and adjust the offense to his strengths.
3) Bill Lazor
Eagles quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor worked wonders with Nick Foles this season. If Lazor were to incorporate elements from Chip Kelly into his offense this could be a tremendous hire however the fact that he has never been an offensive coordinator at the NFL level puts him at a disadvantage compared to the other candidates listed above.
4) Ben McAdoo
The Packers QB coach has been connected to Miami since he worked with Philbin in Green Bay. He has recieved interest from the Browns for their vacant head coaching position however his lack of experience calling plays is concerning.