With Joe Philbin stepping in as the Miami Dolphins new head coach, the Dolphins are planning to start a new era. Hopefully, a more successful era. Joe Philbin won the coaching battle against Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, and Miami Dolphins interim head coach Todd Bowles, and looks to take the Dolphins from Top 10 contenders for the No. 1 pick in the draft, to Top 10 contenders to win the Super Bowl.
Philbin comes from a high-powered offense in Green Bay, and that's exactly what Dolphins fans want to see as soon as he distributes his playbook. Miami has lacked offensive power since Dan Marino was throwing passes to the Marks brothers and has since based its offense on the traditional ground-and-pound.
Tony Sparano had success in his first year when he used the tricky wildcat formation, but once teams began to figure it out, it was doomsday from there on out. Miami has also lacked a franchise quarterback since Marino retired in 1999, and has not even drafted a quarterback in the first round since they took Marino with the 27th overall pick in the 1983 draft.
Philbin will most likely have leverage against anyone interested in signing coveted free agent quarterback Matt Flynn from the Green Bay Packers. However, the Dolphins shouldn't throw money at Flynn like the Cardinals did with Kevin Kolb as we have seen how his first year turned out. Even with a big possibility at signing Flynn, Miami shouldn't discard the opportunity to trade up to the second pick in the draft and take Baylor's quarterback, Robert Griffin III.
If Philbin indeed is able to reel in Matt Flynn this offseason, it will be an interesting battle with Matt Moore since Flynn already knows the playbook, but Moore is more familiar with the players already in the organization.
Philbin will also have to look at defensive coordinators. One name that should be in his, Jeff Ireland's and Stephen Ross' minds is Todd Bowles. Bowles did an excellent job stepping in for Tony Sparano the last three games of the season and led the Dolphins to a 2-1 record. Bowles has the respect of every single player in that locker room and, barring any offer from a team trying to hire him as head coach, the Dolphins should undoubtedly give him the job.
Quarterback is the biggest question mark for the Dolphins at this point and it will be interesting to see who Philbin believes will be the quarterback he wants to turn this franchise around. Whether it be Matt Moore, Matt Flynn, Robert Griffin III, or any other quarterback, the Dolphins just made a huge leap into becoming a successful franchise like they were not too long ago.
Philbin had his second interview for the job on Wednesday and seemed to convince the Dolphins front office that he was the right candidate for the job.
Also in the Dolphins plans were Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, and Miami Dolphins interim head coach Todd Bowles.
Philbin had had also interviewed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job on Wednesday. Philbin's family suffered a great loss when his son drowned, but he remained in consideration for the Dolphins head coaching job.
With the Miami Dolphins reducing their coaching search to three candidates, we are really close to finding out who will take the reigns and hopefully begin a winning tradition. The Dolphins have narrowed their options down to Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and Dolphins interim head coach, Todd Bowles.
Joe Philbin is especially an intriguing candidate because, as many of you know, he didn't call the plays for the Packers, but had a lot to do with the fact that they constantly had one of the top offenses in the league.
With a new head coach often comes a new quarterback. Mike McCoy would probably want the Dolphins to give up an arm and a leg to be able to trade up to even have a chance to draft Robert Griffin III. Todd Bowles would most likely stick with Matt Moore and draft a quarterback in the second or third round and develop him. Joe Philbin would most likely be the coach with the most leverage in this department. He would have a foot in the door to signing Matt Flynn as long as the Dolphins are willing to pay.
After his incredible Week 16 win against the Detroit Lions, Matt Flynn has established himself as the most coveted free-agent quarterback this offseason. He could possibly enjoy the same success in Miami if he is thrown in Philbin's system, which he has been in since he was drafted out of LSU in 2007.
Another interesting aspect to look at as the Dolphins make up their mind about who they will hire, is the fact that Mike Nolan left the organization and decided to sign as defensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons. With Nolan's departure, it is vital that the Dolphins bring in an established defensive mind that will keep the defense playing at a high level.
With Nolan at the helm of the defense, the Dolphins played in a 3-4 defensive scheme. They have been building the defense for three or four years and would most likely want a defensive coordinator that runs the same type of scheme. However, Paul Soliai is going to be a free agent and will most likely demand too much money.
Nose tackles are not an easy thing to come by in the NFL and there are not many prospects declaring for the draft this year. If Dontari Poe, nose tackle out of Memphis, is available in the second or maybe even third round, it would be a solid pickup for the Dolphins. If he's not available and they're not able to re-sign Soliai, the Dolphins are left in a mess running a 3-4 defense with no nose tackle. Randy Starks can play some nose tackle, but he's too good at the defensive end position to make a switch.
The Dolphins have a solid base in the front seven and it wouldn't be too hard for them if they have to switch to a 4-3 defense. Players like Randy Starks, Jared Odrick and Kendall Langford can easily transform to 4-3 defensive tackles and Cameron Wake would become a force at defensive end. Linebackers would probably have to be evaluated as well as the defensive end position opposite Cameron Wake.
Philbin could also bring in Winston Moss from the Green Bay Packers and give him the role of defensive coordinator or assistant coach. Moss is currently the assistant coach of the Green Bay Packers and it would be hard to imagine he would give that up. Moss was a standout linebacker at the University of Miami (FL), and a standout linebacker for 11 years in the NFL.
He may want to go back to his roots in Miami and coach his hometown Dolphins. He would bring in a 4-3 base defense like the one he ran with the Packers. Miami has more defensive talent than the Packers do and that might entice Moss to give it a shot. Moss has been linked to the Oakland Raiders' head coaching job so the Dolphins are looking at a real long shot here, but nothing is impossible.
It is unclear who Mike McCoy would bring in as defensive coordinator if he were given the job. Some speculations have been that he would hire Todd Bowles, which wouldn't be such a bad thing since he knows the players and they seem to play hard for him.
The coaching search is nearing its end and I'm more than anxious to find out who's going to be coaching this team, hopefully for the next decade or so. There's a lot of questions left to be answered for whoever walks through the door, but whoever it is will have the challenge of bringing life back to this franchise and once again making them competitive for years to come.
According to SI's Peter King, Jeff Fisher will coach the St. Louis Rams next year.
Jeff Fisher also considered coaching the Miami Dolphins, but was probably sold on the Rams because of the presence of a franchise quarterback, the second overall pick in the upcoming draft and the fact that the Rams don't have a general manager.
The Miami Dolphins will now have to move on and decide which candidate is the better fit for their team. They were going to interview Mike Mularkey, but he has since accepted an offer to be the Jacksonville Jaguars' next head coach.
The Dolphins have interviewed Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, Chicago Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub and former interim head coach Todd Bowles.
It is still unclear who the Dolphins are leaning towards, but one thing that is perfectly clear is that the Dolphins cannot hire the wrong coach. They must get this one right if they want this franchise to have the same success as it's had in the past.