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Brian Daboll
Miami Dolphins

Who Are Most Likely Dolphins Head Coach Candidates?

  • Justin Melo
  • January 13, 2022
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The Miami Dolphins are searching for a new head coach. The surprise firing of Brian Flores has awarded the Dolphins with an opportunity to change the trajectory of their franchise. Flores was in charge of the Dolphins for three seasons and compiled a record of 24-25. Change is undeniably on the horizon and it's of the utmost importance that general manager Chris Grier and owner Stephen Ross knock this hire out of the park. The Dolphins are entering a crucial offseason that will define their future success (or failure). In addition to a new head coach, a decision looms large regarding the quarterback position. Tua Tagovailoa conducted himself in admirable fashion down the home stretch but Grier and Ross may set their sights on acquiring a legitimate superstar. Miami's offseason plans however must begin with hiring the correct man to lead their franchise. BetOnline recently updated their odds for who will be the Dolphins' next coach. They are as follows:
  • Brian Daboll, Bills offensive coordinator (+200)
  • Mike McDaniel, 49ers offensive coordinator (+500)
  • Doug Pederson, former Eagles head coach (+500)
  • Bryon Leftwich, Buccaneers offensive coordinator (+700)
  • Eric Bieniemy, Chiefs offensive coordinator (+750)
  • Kellen Moore, Cowboys offensive coordinator (+750)
  • Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Wolverines head coach (+800)
  • Todd Bowles, Buccaneers defensive coordinator (+900)
  • Nathaniel Hackett, Packers offensive coordinator (+900)
  • Kevin O’Connell, Rams offensive coordinator (16/1)
Dolphins owner (and former Michigan graduate) Stephen Ross has already publicly confirmed he won’t be pursuing Harbaugh, as he prefers to witness him continue his coaching career at Michigan. With that in mind, these three coaches in particular caught our eye.

THE FAVORITE: BRIAN DABOLL

Ranked as the favorite, the Dolphins would be plucking Daboll away from their AFC East rival Buffalo Bills should this hire come to fruition. Daboll has been a popular name on the head coaching trail for several years now but has yet to land the job of his personal preference. Daboll can afford to be picky as his role as offensive coordinator in Buffalo is extremely safe as he continues to coach an extremely efficient offense. Daboll is wrapping up yet another successful season as Buffalo's coordinator and play-caller. The Bills enter the postseason averaging 381.9 yards per contest and a haunting 28.4 points per game. They rank in the top five league-wide in both statistical categories. The Bills are legitimate Super Bowl contenders partially thanks to Daboll's presence. Starting quarterback Josh Allen has taken tremendous steps forward as a player under Daboll's watchful eye while executing his scheme to perfection. Miami's brass has had a front-row seat to Daboll's offensive brilliance. In two regular-season meetings (and wins) in 2021, the Bills scored 35 and 26 points against the Dolphins. In 2020, they scored a staggering 43.5 points per game against the Dolphins while sweeping the season series, including a 56-26 drubbing in Week 17 that ended Miami's playoff hopes. It's relatively straightforward to understand why Ross and Grier may view Daboll as a legitimate candidate.

MY PICK: DOUG PEDERSON

Former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson spent the 2021 season out of football after his firing from Philadelphia at the conclusion of the 2020 campaign. Pederson was in charge of the Eagles for five mostly successful seasons that culminated in an exciting and unexpected victory in Super Bowl LII. Pederson powered his Eagles past Tom Brady and the New England Patriots despite losing his starting quarterback Carson Wentz to a season-ending injury just weeks prior. The job done by Peterson that season was historically impressive as he catapulted fill-in starter Nick Foles to an unlikely Super Bowl MVP honor. The opportunity to hire a proven, Super Bowl-winning coach doesn't come around often. The Flores-led Dolphins often lacked an offensive identity as the defensive-minded head coach struggled with appointing the correct offensive coordinator, having gone through four coaches in his three years. Pederson would bring some much-needed vision and stability to a struggling offense. Pederson's tenure in Philadelphia came to a close after clashing with owner Jeffrey Lurie over personnel-related issues. One can't help but wonder how Pederson would get along with Dolphins owner Ross, who has earned a tumultuous reputation. If their two personalities mesh well together, appointing Pederson would be an excellent decision.

THE NO. 1 CONTENDER: MIKE MCDANIEL

Mike McDaniel's candidacy to usher the Dolphins forward has picked up considerable steam in recent days. McDaniels captured the hearts of social media by providing this excellent, in-depth answer regarding inside pitches. The 38-year-old offensive guru is in the midst of his fourth season as a top-ranking assistant to Kyle Shanahan, and his first as the offensive coordinator. McDaniel initially joined the 49ers as Shanahan's run game coordinator in 2017 and has done some rather impressive work. The 49ers have run the ball extremely effectively in recent years while utilizing a plethora of running backs in their backfield due to the lack of a legitimate bellcow paired with several injuries at the position. Those circumstances and challenges were consistently and impressively met head-on by McDaniels. After several successful seasons in that role, McDaniel was finally elevated to OC. Hiring McDaniel would undeniably represent a risk for the Dolphins. Although his coaching resume dates back to 2005, he's still a first-year offensive coordinator that's never called plays (Shanahan continues to wear that hat). His appointment would follow a recent league-wide trend of employing young, hot-shot offensive-minded coaches (Kliff Kingsbury, Zac Taylor, and Sean McVay come to mind). Hiring McDaniel would be a bold move indeed with the potential to pay off.

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Justin Melo