Miami Dolphins At 50: Coaches

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Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 – Jimmy Johnson

Jimmy Johnson was brought to Miami to do one thing: get Dan Marino a Super Bowl ring.

Unfortunately, Johnson thought the best way to do that was to take Marino’s audibles away, draft countless busts on the offensive side of the ball, and pad Karim Abdul-Jabbar‘s stats.

However, Johnson did build one of the best defenses in franchise history. Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas, Daryl Gardener, Derrick Rodgers, Madison, Surtain. Johnson drafted them all.

But that great defense wasn’t enough to get Marino over the hump. The team went 8-8 in Johnson’s first year and would never win more than 10 games under his reign.

What’s worse is that he turned a top 10 offense into a wretched abomination. From 1991 to 1995, the Miami offense never fell past eighth in offensive points or yardage. Under Johnson, the team never did better than 13th in points and 11th in yards.

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  • His dedication to running the football and trying to find the Terrell Davis to Marino’s John Elway was admirable, but mired in failure. He literally drafted a running back named McPhail (omen anyone?).

    His attempts to find weapons for Marino never panned out whether it was Yatil Green’s training camp injuries in back-to-back offseasons, drafting J.J. Johnson and Cecil Collins in 1999 only to have both of them flounder, or bypassing Randy Moss to select John Avery, another failed running back.

    Johnson deserves credit for building one of the franchise’s best defenses and guiding the team to the playoffs three of his four seasons. But nothing can undo the harm of watching Dan Marino’s last game become a 62-7 embarrassment to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    Johnson’s failures as a team builder led to that exact situation and it wasn’t a one-off thing. The Dolphins were shellacked the year before against Denver and the next season by Oakland. Johnson’s inability to build a complete team ultimately led to not only his departure, but Marino’s as well.

    Oh, and for some reason he was allowed to pick his predecessor, who ultimately sent the team into an unspeakable spiral from which it hasn’t returned.