Right. I said the same thing - "WHO???"
I can't say I was jumping up and down with excitement when I read the press release. And judging from the reaction I have seen on this, and other blogs, I would have to say that a large number of Miami Fans seem to be equally unimpressed.
I have also started to see the "glass half full" folks ramping up the spin cycle to try and make this selection out to be a positive thing... it's not. At least not yet.
I don't want to read folks trying to blow sunshine up my... well,..... where it ain't supposed to shine. What I WANT is "just the facts". What I WANT is to understand why this selection was made - what are the perceived advantages to hiring Daboll over any of the other options? Because with people throwing stats around on BOTH sides of the debate, I must say that the "almost as good last season in Cleveland, with less talent" doesn't really do much for me.
So, let's talk about it. Let's discuss some of the reasons, and reasonable expectations that the Miami Dolphins might have for selection of Brian Daboll, man of mystery!
Let's talk about the options.
While everyone is clamoring about who the Dolphins DID select to be the new O-Coord, let's take a second to think about what was available to choose from.
It would be nice to think that the Fins could just go out and hire someone like Pete Carmichael, Jr., Offensive Coordinator for the New Orleans Saints. But it is hard to hire a proven O-Coord from another team. First, teams don't usually let other teams interview coaches under contract for a lateral move, so the coach would have to be at the end of his contract. The Jacksonville Jaguars just denied the St. Louis Rams permission to interview Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter for the same position. Second, those guys that have been successful with a team in a Coordinator role are generally looking for a head coaching gig somewhere, either in the NFL or NCAA. What I am getting at is that if you are trying to hire an NFL O-Coord from another team, your choices are limited.
What does that generally leave? Failed Head Coaches, Fired Offensive Coordinators, or Non-Coordinator Assistant Coaches. All of these options present potential problems as well.
- Failed Head Coaches come with baggage. They are usually just looking for a temporary opportunity somewhere to regain credibility for another shot at a HC job, and they may or many not play well with others. And they are likely to be more expensive. Personally, I think this is the best way to go, talent-wise, because we have had a chance to see these guys in eth business for a while, with a lot of responsibility on their shoulders, and the ones you would consider would have been successful Offensive Coordinators in the past. In other words, less risk. Some of the names being discussed were Josh McDaniels and Brad Childress. McDaniels probably would not have been realistic, considering that he would have to work with Brandon Marshall and Mike Nolan - two people that, by all accounts, he did not get along very well with in Denver. But Chilly would have been an interesting possibility.
- Fired Offensive Coordinators - Do we really need to discuss this one? Why not just re-hire Dan Henning? 'Nuff said. (Note: As has been pointed out, Daboll was indeed let go as part of a Head Coach regime change. However, here I am talking about guys like Henning who were fired simply because of their performance.)
- Non-Coordinator Assistant Coaches. These are up an coming assistant coaches that appear to have talent, but don't usually have a track record of success in expanded roles of responsibility. In the Dolphins' case, they were talking to two Tight End coaches - Cowboys TEs coach John Garrett and Chargers TEs coach Rob Chudzinski. While these hires can be home runs for a team if they uncover someone with true coaching talent, it is also easy to strike out. Making the jump from being a position coach - responsible for just the 4 or 5 TEs a team might have on the roster, and being responsible for game planning and play calling is a huge leap.
The bottom line here is that, while I think Childress might have been the most proven name out there, the Dolphins really didn't have anything to pick from that got me too terribly excited.
So what did they get in Daboll?
It's funny, but there is actually some synchronicity in this choice. I'm not saying I like it. I am just saying that the more I look at it, the more I can see some reasons that might have lead the Fins in this direction.
For one thing, Daboll has experience running "Wildcat" type formations, using Joshua Cribbs in a manner similar to how Ronnie Brown was used in Miami. I am no longer a big fan of the Wildcat, preferring to have a QB who can win through the air, and a running game that can pound opposing Defenses out of the base formations, but.... I would imagine that Tony Sparano wants to keep it in his bag of tricks for next season.
Another thing that keeps being discussed is Brian Daboll's ability to develop Quarterbacks. I don't know how true that is - time will tell - but coupled with the departure of Miami's QBs coach David Lee, and the uncertainty of his replacement, it makes sense to have someone to help bridge that gap.
And people talk about Daboll's Offense as being similar to Dan Hennings, but always focus on that being a negative. Well, if he runs it the same way Henning did, then it certainly WILL BE a negative. But the succes of an Offense is only peripherally tied to the scheme. Many different offensive schemes and styles can win, given the proper game planning and play calling. I had no problem with the specific plays that make up Henning's Offensive scheme. I had a BIG problem with the way he called the plays - what and when. So if Daboll is a better play caller than Henning, then having a similar Offensive scheme will only help the existing offensive players and that - in turn - will help any new Quarterback that the Dolphins may bring in this offseason.
Lastly, and this seems to be mostly overlooked, Tony Sparano was criticised for not taking charge of things when Dan Henning was not getting it done. Many people speculated that Sparano was hesitant to correct Henning; either because Bill Parcells hired him, or because he was old and grumpy and scared Tony. Having a young O-Coord should help Tony be a little more "hands-on" this next season. And while I have been one of those folks who was hoping that Tony would bring in a "Brad Childress" and then give him his space to work, the truth is (that we all know, especially Tony) that Tony doesn't have another full season to fail and of the Offense is off track early in the season, I would fully expect Sparano to jump in and fix it.
Of course I still expected him to "jump in and fix it last season", and that didn't happen, so who knows? But I do believe Tony will have an easier time "steering" Daboll, if needed, than he had with Henning.
Daboll was one of the few, actual, Offensive Coordinators out there that the Fins could hire, so he is not quite the crap shoot that hiring TEs coach might be - he has some experience at the position. And if he really can help WHOEVER is playing Quarterback for the Fins next season to play better, and IF he can call a better game than Dan Henning, I would definitely call that an improvement.
But I am definitely not on a bandwagon - heck, I'm not even putting away my C.L.S. umbrella yet. The best I can say about this hire is that Sparano's job probably depends upon it being a success, so there should be some "internal motivation" within the coaching staff to make it work.
I have hope, but I don't have expectations.