It's been 17 years since the Miami Dolphins last had a coach that didn't make fans want to yell out and scream in acrimony. For so long the Dolphins have been the epitome of mediocrity, and most, if not all of the blame relied solely on the poor soul that called himself a "head coach." From Dave Wannstedt to Nick Saban to Cam Cameron to Tony Sparano, it seems as if our beloved fins have been the landing zone for BAD NFL HEAD COACHES.
After a crushing week 14 defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles, Steven Ross and Jeff Ireland finally decided to part ways with the "Stash and the Shades," and looked to get a head start on the Head Coach hunt. However, after almost a month of being Sparano-free, the Miami Dolphins have yet to hire a head coach.
Obviously, teams like the St. Louis Rams took advantage of the lack of agility from the Miami front office, and is now very much in the race for reeling in the big "Fish." Both Miami and St. Louis have been dueling for Jeff Fisher to stand on their sidelines, however no one really knows yet the decision he will make.
Although Jeff Fisher might be the biggest and most recognizable name on the market, it doesn't mean that he would be the best suited for the job. Names like Rob Chudzinski and Joe Philbin are a few of the candidates that come from high powered offenses. With that being said, let's take a look at some of the potential candidates that have the ability to make the strongest impact in Aqua and Orange.
1. Jeff Fisher:
What Does Fisher Bring to the Table? NFL EXPERIENCE. Over his last 11 seasons (1999-2009), Fisher has guided the Titans to six playoff appearances - only three teams (Indianapolis, Philadelphia and New England) have more appearances during that time. During his tenure, his accomplishments include six playoff appearances, three Division titles, two AFC Championship Games, and one Super Bowl berth (XXXIV). With 91 victories during the 2000's, Fisher directed the franchise to the most successful decade in franchise history (1990's - 88 wins).
- With Fisher's experience, he would be able to step right into the locker room and take complete control of the team as a leader. Players would automatically know that he is there to win, and win now, which is definitely a morality boost for this young team. His knowledge of the game is something Miami has been missing for quite some time, and with a full off-season with the team, there is no doubt that the players' football IQ will all increase.
- Draft : If Fischer wants to truly make an immediate impact on this team, he will have to do it on April 26 in Radio City. Jeff Fisher is one of the only potential coaching candidates that, in my mind, would make this day memorable in the eyes of Dolfans, as it would be the day that a Quarterback would finally be drafted in the 1st round of the draft since Dan Marino. Jeff Fisher has an eye for talent, and Robert Griffin III is one of those talents that you cannot pass up in the NFL.
- One Quarterback, who was developed by Fisher and had a very similar play style to Griffin, was Steve McNair. McNair was a pocket quarterback that had the ability to move swiftly when he needed to; very much like Griffin. This is another way in which experience plays a huge role. Fisher will have the knowledge and ability to transform Griffin's game into the NFL style, which could ultimately result into something extraordinary.
2. Joe Philbin:
What Does Philbin Bring to the Table?: FAST AND AFFECTIVE OFFENSE: In his four seasons at the offensive helm, Philbin has directed both a productive and sound unit. The team's 1,703 points from 2007-10 were the most in franchise history over a four-year period, while the 83 turnovers were the fewest in a four-year span. The Packers' 83 giveaways since '07 rank No. 1 in the NFC and No. 2 in the NFL behind only New England.
- League-wide, the offense has ranked in the top 10 in total yards and total points each year, one of only two teams in the league to accomplish that feat during that period. In 2010, the Packers finished with the No. 5 passing offense at 257.8 yards per contest, following up an average of 261.3 yards per game in 2009. It was the first time in franchise history that the Packers averaged 250.0 net passing yards in back-to-back seasons. QB Aaron Rodgers finished in the top 10 in nearly every passing category, falling just 78 yards short of his third straight 4,000-yard season despite missing 1½ games due to a concussion. The Packers posted two 45-point games during the regular season, the first time Green Bay had done so since 1983.
- Green Bay has reached the playoffs in three of Philbin's four seasons as offensive coordinator. In each of those appearances, the Packers set team postseason records for most points in a game, with 42 vs. Seattle in '07, 45 at Arizona in '09, and 48 at Atlanta in '10.
- Philbin's offensive mindset is something the Dolphins still haven't seemed to captivate. The ability in which Green Bay runs its offense is incomprehensible to the Miami Dolphins in recent years. The offense is fast, efficient, and almost always finishes in a lambough leap. Some say the Green Bay offense is very "Blitzkrieg" like. However, Green Bay does have the future reigning MVP, Aaron Rodgers, taking snaps, which makes a very strong argument in the case of hiring Philbin.
- Draft: Unlike Jeff Fisher, Joe Philbin's mindset coming into the draft will be solidifying the offensive line in the 1st round by drafting Riley Reiff out of Iowa. Reiff would most likely be able to do something Marc Colombo never comprehended; the art of blocking.
- Free Agency: During the off-season, Philbin would most likely influence his backup Quarterback, Matt Flynn, and bring him down to Miami to compete with Matt Moore for the starting role. Flynn demonstrated during the last game of the regular season that he has the ability to put up elite numbers and also the ability to fight for a win. Honestly, if Joe Philbin were not wearing a Dolphins polo on the sidelines next season, then picking up Flynn would not be the best move. However, if Philbin does in fact reach a deal with the Dolphins, then the acquisition of Flynn would be tremendous. Unfortunately for Matt Moore, although he would most likely be the starter for the first couple of weeks, he would be held on a short leash.
- NOTE: Sadly, Joe Philbin's son was found dead on Monday. Philbin must be crushed inside and football is probably the last thing on his mind right now. Tragedies like these are very tough to bounce back from and it may be difficult for Philbin to find that drive again. Tony Dungy experienced the same kind of catastrophe in his life, so it would be very generous of him to have a sit-down with Joe in order to give him tips on easing the pain.
NOT YET INTERVIEWED:
3. Rob Chudzinski:
What Does Chud Bring to the Table? MODERN OFFENSIVE MINDSET. Rob Chudzinksi followed head coach Ron Rivera from the San Diego Chargers to Carolina to be the Panther's offensive coordinator. In 17 previous seasons as an NFL and college assistant, he has had success leading offenses and earned a reputation for developing tight ends.
- During his three years as offensive coordinator and tight ends coach for the Miami Hurrcianes, Chudzinski was able to guide his unit to a perfect 12-0 record and BCS Championship win. His offense set school records for points, total yards, and rushing touchdowns the following season. During his tenure at the University of Miami, Rob coached three all-American tight ends: Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey, and Kellen Winslow II. Another tight end Chudzinksi was able to coach in throughout his career was Antonio Gates, and we all know how excellent Gates' career has been.
- Today, the best teams in the NFL all use their tight ends extremely efficiently: Jimmy Graham in New Orleans, Gronkowski in New England, and Finley in Green Bay. With Chudzinkski's experience, he has the ability to create a very talented tight end duo with both Anthony Fasano and Charles Clay. The only problem is the large possibility of Fasano not being a Fin next season, but more from that in a bit.
- Draft: Like Philbin, Chudzinksi will also notice the faults on the offensive line, resulting in a draft of OT Riley Reiff in the 1st round. The change, however, will come from the 2nd round, where the Dolphins will draft QB Ryan Tannehill out of Texas A&M. Tannehill is a big Quarterback with great potential of becoming a future star. His mobility and height is something head coaches love, and Chudzinksi will most likely make a move on him in hope of him eventually becoming a franchise QB.
- Free Agency: As you may know by know, Chud was a big time tight ends coach and has coached a plethora of big-name tight ends. Supposing Anthony Fasano does not return to the Dolphins next season, I believe Miami makes a strong push towards Greg Olsen out of Carolina. Olsen is a Canes alumn, much like Chud, and he spent his only season in Carolina with Chudzinski; another plus. So expect big things changing in Miami if Chudzinski does in fact become coach.
4. Jay Gruden:
What Does Gruden Bring to the Table? PROVEN WINNER* Coming into the season, it was believed that the Cincinnati Bengals were going to wind up having the #1 overall pick in the 2012 draft. However, Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden had a different plan in mind. After constantly winning and reaching title games in the AFL, Gruden decided to take his talents to the NFL in hopes of becoming a successful coach.
- Well, Gruden was able to shock the sports world as he turned the Cincinnati offense into a powerhouse with the help of AJ Green and Andy Dalton. Gruden's energetic and exciting mentality translates through the players, which is something most head coaches envy. Jay is one of the few reasons for which Marvin Lewis was able to keep his job this off-season. From a potential bust to very promising team, Gruden was able to divert from the Palmer & Ochocinco days and started a new trend in Cincinnati; Dalton & Green.
- Draft: I expect Gruden to also make the same draft decisions as Chudzinksi would; however, I do believe that Gruden would take a chance at Brandon Weeden. Weeden is very much like Dalton, being the fact that both are precise pocket passers. It might not sit well with the fans, but if Gruden is able to quickly get Weeden to play at an NFL pace, then their should be no animosity thrown at him.