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Co-Offensive Coordinators: Folly Or Genius?

Miami Dolphins Training Camp Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

How many of you remember a guy by the name of Scott Linehan? He was the Miami Dolphins’ offensive coordinator under head coach Nick Saban in 2005, and although the Dolphins didn’t exactly set the world on fire that season, they were apparently at least competent enough on offense that the then St. Louis Rams decided to hire him as their head coach the following year.

As far as I know, that was the first and last time that any NFL team hired a former Dolphins OC as their head coach, at least as a result of what he’d accomplished in Miami. Now, the Dolphins are about to do something that I don’t believe has been done before in the NFL, which is to officially anoint two different guys as co-offensive coordinators. This season, former running backs coach Eric Studesville will handle the running game on offense, while former tight ends coach George Godsey will handle the passing game. Godsey was the OC for the Houston Texans in 2015-16, while Studesville, although never having been an OC, was the defensive coordinator at Kent State in the mid-1990s, before serving as the running backs coach for the Bears, Giants, Bills, and Broncos from the ‘90s onward.

I’m sure something like this has been done before on an informal, de facto type basis, much as head coach Brian Flores was New England’s defensive coordinator for a time, in a practical sense, but not while holding the official title. But for a team to name two coaches co-coordinators? I’m sure a lot of folks are scratching their heads at this one and wondering why. I think there are several possible answers. Since, of the two men, only Godsey has ever been a coordinator before at the NFL level, Flores may be trying to allow each guy to concentrate on his particular strong suit, what he knows best. Perhaps, having grown weary of his position coaches and coordinators being constantly in flux, with so many different guys coming and going, he wanted to maintain a sense of familiarity and continuity between his young team and the guys they take their marching orders from. If he wasn’t comfortable handing the keys to the offense to one guy exclusively, splitting the duties may have been the choice he felt most comfortable with. Finally, naming two different guys as co-coordinators would seem to make it more difficult for other teams to hire them as head coaches, at least on paper. The Dolphins’ offense fell on hard times after the Rams plucked Linehan from our staff, and I’m certainly not looking forward to seeing something like that happen again. Then again, if you’re going to have a successful team, things like that happen almost every year, as other teams want to try and replicate the success your team has had.

In sum, this is one of those moves that will likely define the 2021 season for the Dolphins, and will probably go a long way toward determining how much success Miami has as an offense and as a football team. I’m curious to know what our readers think of this decision by Flores, and how you believe it might affect the play-calling during games. That’s the wrap for today, have a great week, everybody.