So Joe Philbin is the next Miami Dolphins head coach. 8th in team history unless you count the two interim head coaches and then it’s ten. Philbin will be tasked with remolding the Miami way of thinking. He is quiet and love his players and judging by the comments from Green Bay upon the announcement, the players feel the same way about him. His nine year NFL career as a coach has worked out well for him in Green Bay and his arrival in Miami bares a ring on his finger than neither Jeff Ireland, Stephen Ross, or even Tony Sparano possessed.
But who will his coordinators be? Who might he be bringing with him to Miami and what players could be fits for the Dolphins in this years free agency? Well, I would be lying if I said I had a clue, truth be told I don’t cover the Packers. So I reached out to Ray Rivard of the website LombardiAve and picked his brain a little bit. Here is what he had to say about some of those questions.
Rivard: In my opinion, and yes it’s just my opinion, Joe Philbin was probably one of the quietest offensive coordinators in the NFL. Clearly, he has a talent for coordinating (thus his title) an offense, given the success of the Packers over the pass few years on the offensive side of the ball. The thing about Philbin is that he wasn’t heard from much. Obviously he knows his stuff, thus his hiring by the Dolphins. He must have been the best kept secret and it’s true that Mike McCarthy didn’t let his coaches and coordinators talk much to the media. Though Philbin didn’t call plays, his success can be found in game planning. So, one would have to say he was very instrumental in the success of the Packers.
Rivard: I’m sure Philbin was instrumental in the development of Aaron Rodgers, having been a member of the Packers coaching staff and then its offensive coordinator for the past nine years. Judging by Rodgers’ comments about Philbin during the week the team was coping with his tragedy, one would think the quarterback thought highly of Philbin. I don’t think Rodgers’ comments were staged by any means. The coaching staff and the players held Philbin in high regard, so I think that he will do a good job of gaining the respect of the Dolphins’ players.
Rivard: Number one would be Edgar Bennett. The former Packer player, running backs coach, and wide receivers coach would be a huge loss for the Packers organization. With that said, I would think that Bennett may be the one who Philbin seeks the most. However, all assistant coaches in Green Bay have one year left on their contracts (from what I’ve read) and McCarthy can deny other teams from stealing them away. Though McCarthy has said he doesn’t like keeping coaches from improving their lot in life, he might give permission given that they would be going to the other conference.The other coach I would dislike him taking to Miami would be Kevin Greene, the Packers linebackers coach. Greene coaches like he played – with a deep love and enthusiasm for the game. He would be another coach who would be difficult to replace.
Rivard: That’s a tough one, but I wouldn’t mind him taking Shawn Slocum (special teams) and Tom Clements (quarterbacks coach). Though the special teams were much improved this year, mainly because of the addition of Randall Cobb and Ryan Taylor. Those two rookies were drafted not only for their skills as offensive players, but because they would improve the special teams, which have been mediocre for years.Though you might wonder about Clements, I think it wasn’t just his skills that have led to Aaron Rodgers’ meteoric rise … If you put together the talents of McCarthy, Philbin, Clements and Bennett … all of these coaches have had a big imprint on Rodgers. If we lose Clements it wouldn’t be a huge impact and may give Rodgers a new outlook for the future.
Rivard: If Jermichael Finley isn’t tagged, he would be number one, but he most likely will be tagged. The other, obviously, is Matt Flynn. The quarterback has a huge upside and will walk once the FA season gets under way. Another player who may find his way to Miami is Donald Driver. DD isn’t a free agent, but he’s caught in a situation where there are three receivers, Cobb, Tori Gurley, and Diondre Borel, who have huge upsides and may overtake Driver, who will turn 38 next season and will demand a $5 million salary. The Packers have to decide what they are going to do with him and his age and salary may require the team to cut the popular receiver. The only way Driver stays is if he takes a drastic cut in pay and accepts a reduced role in the offense. He may do that because he loves the organization and its fans really love the old guy. See the poll about Driver here: http://lombardiave.com/2012/01/20/donald-driver-what-to-do/Ryan Grant may be another target, though the Dolphins have Reggie Bush in their stable. Grant is more of a downhill runner who could complement Bush. He’s still got plenty left in the tank and will be an asset to some NFL team. Philbin may seek him out.