Three days following the end of the Miami Dolphins season, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey resigned, thus ending his second stint with the Dolphins and most likely sending him back to full-time retirement. Gailey may not have ever been the best choice at offensive coordinator, given his age and time out of the game, to come to Miami and help with the development of rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. I do though wish Mr. Gailey the best, and a long and enjoyable retirement. With that behind us the Dolphins now must, once again, find and hire a new offensive coordinator. While I do not know any more than the rest of us who it will ultimately be, I do believe that it has to be someone that we can bring to Miami for more than a season or two.
The jury is still out on what Tua will be as an NFL quarterback and if he will become the long-term answer to our starting quarterback question that has hung over this team since the departure of Dan Marino. The split between Dolphins fans on this question is glaring if you pay any attention to social media. Some fans are sold and think he just needs the right people around him as far as coaching and additional talent on the field and time to develop and he will break out and possibly even wind up being the best QB of the 2020 draft. Others think that he was never all that and playing at Alabama makes every quarterback look much better than they are due to all the top talent at every position around him and he’s already a bust and was always going to be a bust. I do believe that nothing good comes of changing out the offensive coordinator every season, especially when you have such a young quarterback. The NFL is hard enough to grasp and catch up with coming from the college level that the last thing a rookie quarterback needs is uncertainty with who the offensive coordinator will be from year to year.
So with that said, let’s look at some of the candidates. One of the earliest names that popped up was the former Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien. O’Brien is expected to head to the University of Alabama to take over as their offensive coordinator where he will replace Steve Sarkisian who will be taking over the head coaching job at the University of Texas. I would have been just a bit more than upset if O’Brien had been the hire. I live (am stuck for now) in Houston and got more than my fill of how pissed off the players were with O’Brien. It seemed as if the entire team turned on him with some of the most respected, including JJ Watt, speaking out publicly against their head coach while he was still employed by the team. I do not think that’s the sort of thing we need on this team.
Another candidate is Anthony Lynn. Lynn’s resume most recently includes head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers. A position that Lynn held for four years, from 2017 to 2020. The most positive thing about Lynn is his development of quarterback Justin Herbert. Herbert is the quarterback that a lot of Dolphins fans still rage about, claiming that he should have been the selection at 5th overall instead of Tua. But here we are and he was not so we must move on with what we have. Lynn is not a hot commodity to take over as a head coach anywhere else soon, so this would most likely give him a few years in Miami if he is successful. Lynn was a running back in NFL, playing for four teams over eight years. Following his time as a player, he has spent the last 21 years as a coach for seven different teams. He has held not only the title of head coach but also called plays for the Bills in 2016. Most of his time as a coach has been in the running backs room, which of course makes sense. Running back is another area that needs improvement in Miami, so maybe Lynn is a “kill two birds with one stone” candidate.
The next candidate is Doug Marrone. Marrone’s most recent position was just upstate with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Marrone arrived in Jacksonville, after being fired by the Buffalo Bills where he served as a head coach for two seasons after serving as their assistant head coach and offensive line coach. He became the Jaguars’ interim head coach in his second season and then was elevated to head coach for four years, ending his term after this past season. His most recent experience as a signal-caller was when he served as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach for the New Orleans Saints from 2006 to 2008, a position that he left to become the head coach of Syracuse, the position that he held before being hired away by Buffalo. Marrone was drafted by the Raiders in the sixth round of the 1986 NFL draft but did not make their roster. His first playing time was in 1987 where he saw playing time in four games with our very own Miami Dolphins. After spending time in several NFL camps he once again played in 1989 for the Saints and then again with the London Monarchs from 1991 to 1992. He began his coaching career in 1992 with Cortland State as a tight ends coach. He worked his way through the college ranks, ending up in Tennessee as their tight ends and offensive tackles coach before making the jump to the NFL, as the offensive line coach of the Jets in 2002.
Alfonza “Pep” Hamilton is also being mentioned as a candidate. Hamilton makes this list for the simple reason that he was Justin Herbert’s quarterback coach last season. Hamilton’s playing experience was in college as the quarterback at Howard University from 1993 to 1996. Following his playing time at the college level, he moved on to become the quarterback’s coach at Howard. Hamilton also got his first shot as offensive coordinator at Howard where he served as their signal-caller from 1991 to 2001. Hamilton entered the NFL with the New York Jets as an offensive quality control coach in 2003. Since 2003 Hamilton has held various offensive coaching positions with six NFL teams and two college teams ranging from QB coach to WR coach to passing game coordinator and offensive coordinator. His one head coaching position was with the XFL’s DC Defenders in 2020 before moving on to the Chargers. His longest stint as an offensive coordinator was with the Indianapolis Colts from 2013 to 2015.
The last big-name candidate is Doug Pederson, the former head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles where he won the Super Bowl in 2018. Pederson began his college playing career at Northeast Louisiana University where he played quarterback from 1987 to 1990. He entered the NFL after being signed as an undrafted free agent by our Miami Dolphins in 1991. Pederson bounced around the NFL for 14 seasons including three stints with the Dolphins, 1991 (offseason only), 1992-1994, and again in 1995 after being cut by two other NFL clubs. Pederson began his coaching career at Calvary Baptist Academy as their head coach from 2005 to 2008. Pederson then returned to the NFL as an offensive quality coach for the Eagles from 2009 to 2010. He was promoted in 2011 to quarterbacks coach, a position that he held for two seasons before being hired by the Kansas City Chiefs as their offensive coordinator, a position that he held from 2013 to 2015. Pederson left KC in 2016 to take over the head coaching duties at the Eagles, a position that he held until this last season. The glaring drawback with Pederson is that I would suspect that he might be a candidate sooner than later to take over another team as head coach.
Miami also has some internal candidates including current tight ends coach George Godsey. Godsey has ten years of NFL coaching experience with his one stint calling plays in the NFL with the Houston Texans from 2015 to 2016. Miami’s current running backs coach Eric Studesville is also considered a candidate. Studesville has never held the position of offensive coordinator at any of his many coaching stops. In fact, his only coordinator position was as defensive coordinator for Wingate in 1994 and at Kent State from 1995 to 1996. Since 1997, when he entered the NFL as a coach he has held the position of running backs coach for five different NFL teams and also served as the interim head coach for the Denver Broncos in his first of eight years in Denver. He also served as assistant head coach in Denver in 2017.
Other coaches that may be considered by the Dolphins are former Miami Hurricanes quarterback Ken Dorsey who currently serves as the quarterback coach for the Buffalo Bills. Given the huge jump in his playing quality from a bust to one of the better quarterbacks in the league in Josh Allen I would give Dorsey a serious look if I were the Dolphins, plus he already had ties to the area. Shane Waldron, the passing game coordinator for the LA Rams is another up and coming coach that the Phins may take a look at. Waldron also served as quarterbacks coach for the Rams in 2019. Additionally, Coach Flores has familiarity with Waldron as they were both on the New England Patriots staff in 2008 and 2009. Mike LaFleur, whose brother Matt is the head coach of the Green Bay Packers and is the current passing game coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. LaFleur entered the NFL in 2014 for the Cleveland Browns as an offensive intern. His only stint as an offensive coordinator came at the college ranks at Davidson College. Tony Elliott is also a possible target. Elliott currently serves as the Clemson Tigers offensive coordinator and running backs coach. Elliott has fifteen years of coaching experience, all at the college level, and has been with Clemson since 2011 when he was hired as the running backs coach. He became the co-offensive coordinator in 2015, a job that he continued with his running back coaching duties and was promoted to offensive coordinator this past season.
So the Phinsider Question Of The Day is: which of these many possible candidates would be your choice if you were the one pulling the trigger on the hire and why?
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