Incase you haven't heard yet, the Dolphins held interview numbers 11 and 12, continuing their search for their next head coach. They were Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and the recently fired Giants defensive coordinator Tim Lewis. Personally, I'd be all for Schottenheimer. He's considered in many circles as a top, young offensive mind and would probably be able to jumpstart this offense, something we all want to see. Tim Lewis probably wouldn't be the best option for this team. However, I do like seeing Huizenga and the rest of the Dolphins brass leaving no stone unturned in their hunt for the "right" guy.
Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald tells us in his blog who he feels the Dolphins should hire, listing his top 4 candidates for the job:
- Dom Capers. The devil you know is often the choice over the one you don't. Plus, Capers has been a coach and he's solid. He has the trust of his players. He knows how to coach defense, as proven by Miami's No. 4 overall ranking despite obvious limitations. And he offers some continuity and an ability to retain most of the current staff.
- Mike Martz. The guy is bright ... sometimes too bright for his own good. I'm told his interview was unorthodox in that he pulled no punches, whereas other coaches might have been more diplomatic. I know the guy has issues running the ball and he isn't in love with Daunte Culpepper. But he knows offense and I think he might have learned from his failed experience in St. Louis.
- Mike Tomlin. Surprise, right? Look, the guy seriously is a year or two away. But he is a star in the making. He took all the freaky personalities on the Minnesota defense and made them into one very competitive unit. He tells players what they have to do and WHY. That works in today's NFL. Plus he has great charisma. He's a long-shot right now, but I say the guy will be a head coach in a year or two if the Dolphins or Steelers don't snatch him this year.
- Jim Mora Jr. Granted, the guy made a BIG mistake opening his mouth on that radio show and talking about bolting for Washington if the job opens up. That, more than anything, got him fired in Atlanta. In Miami, Wayne Huizenga would give him a hug and ask for suggestions on how to improve the team. The fact is Mora did a pretty fair job in getting the Falcons to the NFC title game three years ago. What? He forgot how to coach since then? As long as he doesn't bring the Atlanta offense with him, he deserves a second interview.
Salguero goes on to say that he left Cam Cameron off the list because waiting for him to be available could take a while, possibly too long. He's got a point there. I agree that waiting for Cameron's Chargers to lose could take too much time away, but I really think he's worth the wait. That is, unless Miami can land Ken Whisenhunt. However, I got a feeling that he's going to be the guy to replace Cowher in Pittsburgh.
With that said, Salguero raises some interesting points. If the Dolphins don't go with an offensive minded head coach, then Dom Capers and Mike Tomlin would both be at the top of my list. Jim Mora Jr. also isn't a terrible option. He can coach in this league. He just wasn't in the right situation in Atlanta. However, with an accurate quarterback like Culpepper and a talented back who can catch like Brown, Mora Jr's offense could really be efective in South Florida.
Now, let's quickly discuss Mike Tomlin. The Sun-Sentinel has a good article today talking about Mike Tomlin and how he impressed the Dolphins with his interview:
A source said Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin impressed Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga and top executives Bryan Wiedmeier and Joe Bailey during an interview in Minneapolis on Monday.
Tomlin appears likely to get invited for a follow-up interview as the possible successor to Nick Saban, although agent Brian Levy said "at this point" a second meeting hasn't been scheduled.
The NFL's web site reported Wednesday the Dolphins are expected to soon interview five finalists of the 12 candidates interviewed.
Tomlin, a disciple of Colts coach Tony Dungy and Chiefs coach Herm Edwards while all three were together at Tampa Bay, directed the NFL's top-ranked run defense this season, a defense that was also ranked fifth in third-down situations. However, the pass defense was ranked 31st for the 6-10 Vikings.
Tomlin's age could be a factor in the Dolphins' decision; however, that didn't prevent Jets first-year coach Eric Mangini, 35, from leading his team to a playoff berth. The Dolphins also interviewed Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who's 33.
"I don't see myself as 34," Tomlin said. "I just see myself as a football coach."
This guy, at some point, will make a great head coach. If the Dolphins didn't want to wait to be able to interview Cameron and Ron Rivera, Tomlin wouldn't be a bad choice. I've heard nothing but great things about his prospects of being a head coach in this league.
There is also a great article in today's Palm Beach Post that brings up two interesting nuggets: Dom Capers staying with the Fins and the Dolphins not looking toward the coaching ranks for their next head coach. Here's an excerpt:
The Dolphins may take at least another day to whittle their list from 12 prospects to four or five candidates, according to a source close to the process. Those finalists would be subjected to a round of more football-intensive interviews.
The Dolphins likely won't tab a coach from the college ranks, the source said. That seemingly would eliminate USC's Pete Carroll and Georgia Tech's Chan Gailey, who reportedly will interview with the Pittsburgh Steelers on the weekend.
And despite the buzz surrounding the University of Florida's national title, Gators coach Urban Meyer has not been mentioned as a candidate nor has he been contacted by the Dolphins.
Owner Wayne Huizenga also has indicated he likely won't grant total organizational control to the next coach - something Nick Saban was given. Carroll, the former Jets and Patriots coach, said that sort of control would be a stipulation in any possible return to the NFL.
Capers helped make the Dolphins defense the No. 4 unit in the NFL and the Dolphins, according to two sources, want to at least keep continuity on the defensive side of the ball by retaining Capers to work with the new coach.
The New York Giants have been interested in Capers for two years and likely will come calling soon. The Giants announced Thursday that defensive coordinator Tim Lewis will not be retained. Lewis interviewed Wednesday for the Dolphins' head-coaching position.
I highly recommend checking out the entire article as it is filled with good info about the head coaching search. Let's touch on a few of these topics.
First, I really want to see Capers back as the defensive coordinator for this team. He did such a great job utilizing Jason Taylor and installed some very unique blitz packages. But the Giants, undoubtedly, will come calling. I just hope he isn't insulted if he isn't selected as head coach and leaves to work under Tom Coughlin.
Secondly, it's great news to hear that our next head coach will not be from from the college ranks nor will he have full control. I think it's time to let Randy Mueller make some key personnel decisions. He is a former executive of the year award winner and surely knows his football. Let him be the guy who worries about personnel and let the coach just focus on the team on the field.
Lastly, it will be a very interesting next couple of days as we see who the Dolphins will being back for the second round of interviews. Like the article says, their list of candidates will certainly be shortened some over the next few days and I'm very excited to see what lies ahead as this process continues. If nothing else, it's good to see Huizenga and his guys doing all their homework to make sure we get the right guy for this team!