The talk is that Cincinnati Bengal defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is the lead candidate for the Dolphins HC job. That’s all well and fine and should only further divide the fan base. Why? Because of his relationship with Jeff Ireland. Let’s face it, many Dolphins fans blame Stephen Ross‘ loss of Jeff Fisher on the fact that he wouldn’t strip authority from Ireland. So it goes without saying that when a new HC is hired, especially a guy like Zimmer, it will be because Ireland can work above him.
Whether that is a fair assessment or not is not relevant to the fans.
The issue with Zimmer is not whether he deserves a shot, he does. 12 years in the league as a DC more than warrants a shot at the next big gig, but he is a defensive minded coach who would take over a team that many would argue has a top defense. It’s the offense that is the problem. So naturally the question is, can Zimmer bring in a top OC candidate or will the Phins continue with Brian Daboll?
A lot has been made recently of the two interviews conducted with Chicago Bears special teams coach, Dave Toub. Recently Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel pointed out on Twitter that Toub could be a candidate for the Dolphins ST job. His contract in Chicago will be ending this off-season and the Dolphins could offer him more money. Chicago ownership is not known for spending. Just some food for thought and to be honest, I think that no fan would be against that move.
While Zimmer and Toub are at the forefront of the HC search, it seems as though it is far from over. The Dolphins now have three other potential candidates available to them and at least one of them will have fans pounding their fists for an interview.
With the conclusion of the NFL divisional round of the playoffs, Green Bay’s Joe Philbin, New Orleans’ Pete Carmichael, Jr., and Denver’s OC Mike McCoy are all available for interviewing now that their teams have been eliminated. For fans, Carmichael may be the guy that tops their list.
Joe Philbin has already interviewed once for the vacancy but the recent death of his son is something that may sway his decision from moving on from Green Bay this season. Mourning has only just begun and with the end of the Packer season, Philbin is likely to dedicate more time to his family to begin the healing process. Concentration on a relocation is not likely.
Pete Carmichael however is the kind of offensive mind that fans want to see in South Florida. His work with the New Orleans offense has not gone unnoticed. Unlike Philbin, Carmichael has been calling plays since October for the Saints proving that he understands the high energy passing attack importance in today’s NFL. He also clearly understands the importance of developing a quarterback as well as the importance a QB has to the team. In my opinion, Carmichael may be the best fit for Stephen Ross’ team.
While my first two choices would be Rob Chudzinski and Marty Schottenheimer, it appears that Chudzinski isn’t on the teams radar and several media members have stated that the Phins feel he isn’t quite ready for the next step yet. Schottenheimer is viewed more as a coach to turn things around but not a long term solution. That leaves Toub, Zimmer, and possibly Carmichael.
Of those three, Carmichael is the one who more than likely will sell tickets. Dolphins fans would be highly interested in his ability to bring a high scoring offense to the Dolphins. Something needed to compete with the Tom Brady led New England Patriots. If Carmichael could succeed in bringing the New Orleans style of play to Miami, fans would fill the stadium. Carmichael also fits two criteria for Stephen Ross. 1: He is a young up and coming HC who has learned from a previous up and comer in Sean Payton and 2: He would bring an exciting offense. Both should translate into ticket sales if he proves successful.
Stephen Ross has to tread carefully here and despite his resolve to keep Jeff Ireland in place (note that only three other HC’s in the NFL have final say. Pete Carroll, Bill Belichick, and Mike Shanahan), he must marry himself to the candidate that will best fit his desires and not Ireland’s. Ireland seems to have a lot of input in the next HC position and rightfully so. If what Jeff Fisher said regarding Ireland, that he would hire him for his GM if he were available, is true, then Ross is correct in his reliance on the young GM.
That however has yet to appease the fans. The hiring of Mike Zimmer may prove to be a very solid move for the Dolphins in the future but immediately will be met with some backlash from fans, hiring Pete Carmichael may instill faith and excitement in the fan base immediately, but long term may or may not prove to be the answer, ala Cam Cameron.
What all this does mean is even simpler. The Miami Dolphins search for a new HC seems far from over.