Today is “Black Monday”. We don’t have to wait for our head coach to be fired, we only need to start waiting for a new coach to be hired. Around the NFL, coaches await their fate. In St. Louis, Steve Spagnuola has joined the unemployment line as the first casualty of Black Monday and was followed closely by Raheem Morris in Tampa. In Miami, the Dolphins owner, Stephen Ross, and GM Jeff Ireland have already started their plans to interview and find the next head coach.
From up and coming coordinators to veteran coaches awaiting another shot, the Dolphins will take their time but in my opinion will have a coach in place no later than next week. Rumors abound about who the team is interested in and who they are not. From NY Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine according to a report out of NY. Rumors say that Ross contacted Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden and were turned down. Jeff Fisher is also a hot name being floated around as well.
Ross desperately needs to get this right and he needs someone who will help the team sell tickets. In Jacksonville, they have asked permission from the Atlanta Falcons to interview Mike Mularkey. That will not sell you tickets. It will alienate the fans however.
Over the last week I have posted a series on our staff thoughts about who would be the next HC in Miami as well as their wish list. You can read all four of those segments, here, here, here, and here. I also polled other Miami Dolphin fan site webmasters for their opinion as well. You can read their opinions, here. Today, as the coaching search officially kicks into gear, I give you my thoughts.
Brian Miller – Editor Phinphanatic.com, owner Finsradio.net/Phinatics.com
Who I want to be the next HC: Rob Chudzinski or Brian Billick
Chudzinski is from Miami. He played for the Hurricanes and knows what Miami fans expect and demand. He is fluent in the history of this team and knows it’s rich tradition. More importantly, Chudzninski understands how to coach QB’s. The Dolphins need an offensive mind that can take a young QB and make him better. You only need to look at the work he has done with Cam Newton to understand his ability. Or you can look at the stats of Phillip Rivers this year compared to the last two under Chud. Chudzinski is a serious up and coming coordinator and is someone that many Miami fans can already relate to it. The question is whether or not Ross feels the same way.
In Brian Billick Ross would get a smart HC who has proven himself. He has the ability to turn the franchise around. He may not take them to the Super Bowl but the mentality this team has will be far removed from the losing characteristics it displays. The Baltimore Ravens were a punishing team under Billick and they exuded confidence and the ability to win. Miami lacks that egotism. Billick would re-introduce a winning atmosphere in Miami. Furthermore, of all the “name” coaches, Billick is the only one who publicly has stated he truly wants back into coaching.
Who I think will be the Dolphins next HC: Jeff Fisher. I think Stephen Ross wants someone who has the name. I’m not sure that Fisher will change much of the attitude in Miami. I believe that his time with the Titans was tumultuous at best with the Titans owner. He was never in a position to have input into his own players, something that did not help him keep his teams together. However, Fisher is more or less a .500 coach and he doesn’t bring more than his long tenure to the table. If I’m Stephen Ross, I might interview him, but I would look elswhere.
Who I do not want as the next HC: The list is actually a three person list: Bill Cowher – If you want to coach, coach. If you have to throw money at them to convince them, they are not the right person for your team. Eric Mangini – A personal friend of Stephen Ross, Mangini has Ross’ ear. I’m not sure how much of his ear he has, but I would keep him pretty far away from me. Mike Mularkey – Aside from Mangini, no other HC candidate will take more fans out of the stadium.