Widely regarded as a potential Super Bowl contender before the season began, the Miami Dolphins parted company with embattled Head Coach Joe Philbin after just four weeks of the new NFL campaign.
Philbin managed just 24 wins from 52 games – and with three consecutive defeats, including the lamentable 27-14 International Series loss against the New York Jets at Wembley, owner Stephen Ross decided it was time for change. The Dolphins have arguably their best roster since the days of the great Dan Marino, with a number of game changers on both sides of the ball. So far this season, none of the expected promise has come to fruition – which is why Ross had to act.
Former tight-ends coach Dan Campbell has been instilled by the Dolphins as the interim Head Coach, and has not wasted much time in stamping authority in his new role. Defensive co-ordinator Kevin Coyle has been shown the door since returning from London, with Lou Anarumo taking over after upgrading from his defensive backs coaching position. Miami are currently a distant outside optionto turn their season around and claim Super Bowl 50, and here are five names who could replace Joe Philbin in the hot seat.
Miami have been long sufferers at the expense of the New England Patriots, which means that Ross could make a bold bid to prise their offensive co-ordinator, Josh McDaniels to South Florida. McDaniels was appointed Head Coach of the Denver Broncos back in 2009, at just 33 years old, which was a steep learning curve that ultimately ended with the sack after 28 games. After a brief spell with the St. Louis Rams as OC, the Patriots decided to re-hire McDaniels for a second spell after leaving for Denver. It has proven to be a masterstroke as New England have returned to the pinnacle of the game by winning Super Bowl 49. It would be a brave move by the Dolphins to chase McDaniels, but it won’t be long before he’s back in a head coaching role, either in Miami or not.
Another with NFL head coaching experience is former Detroit Lions signal caller, Jim Schwartz. The 49 year-old had five years in Detroit, but was relieved of his duties at the end of the 2013 season. Schwartz’s strong defensive mind was on full show last season in his defensive co-ordinator role with the Buffalo Bills. The Bills ended the season with a 9-7 record with statistically one of the best defences in the league. Rex Ryan was appointed Head Coach in Buffalo for this season – a move that cast Schwartz aside. It was recently reported that Schwartz was offered the DC role in Miami, but politely declined – probably due to wanting the big job somewhere. If that offer was on the table in Miami, then Schwartz could yet join.
The Atlanta Falcons are one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now, and offensive co-ordinator, Kyle Shanahan could be another man on the Dolphins’ shortlist for the top job. Atlanta ranks third in total points, and fifth in yards per game so far this season – and Shanahan can take his share of the credit in such lofty statistics. It is his fourth OC role in the NFL after spells in Houston, Washington and Cleveland, and if the Falcons continue in their upward curve until the end of this campaign, Shanahan could well follow in his father Mike’s footsteps as a Head Coach in the near future.
Others to consider
San Francisco’s DC Eric Mangini has strong connections with Miami’s executive vice-president, Mike Tannenbaum – due to working in tandem with the New York Jets – and although it wouldn’t be the most exciting appointment for Dolphins fans, it also wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if it happened. It is unlikely that the Dolphins will plump for anyone in the College game, but one to keep an eye on is Texas A&M Head Coach, Kevin Sumlin. The experienced 51 year-old is a big name in the College scene, but is only two years into a six-year deal with the Aggies, which could ultimately make it a difficult hire for the Dolphins.