Dec 6, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn points against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Atlanta Falcons 23-19. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Dolphins fan base banged the drum loudly for Joe Philbin to be fired after another late season collapse. Instead Dolphins owner Stephen Ross decided to declare his team safe after a come from behind victory against the Vikings, who were one of the worst teams in the league, late in the season. Ross declared his coach safe in the locker room after the game.
The Dolphins rewarded their owners declaration by losing their final two games of the season in blow-out fashion and thus knocking themselves out of the playoffs. Four games into the 2015 season, Philbin would be fired.
The Falcons had fired Mike Smith who had been hired the same season as Tony Sparano way back in 2008. Quinn was actually a choice of Mike Tannenbaum who had reportedly asked Ross to fire Philbin after last season. The Falcons got off to a fast start in 2015 but quickly fell off that pace and then out of playoff contention. Quinn however is an exciting coach who should turn the team around.
The Broncos mutually parted ways with John Fox and the Chicago Bears quickly added him as head coach. Fox hasn’t taken the team on his shoulders just yet but he has had success in Carolina and in Denver and is working to turn the Bears around.
With the departure of Fox the Broncos immediately turned to Kubiak. Kubiak has one of the best defenses in the league and his offense has a lot of potential but the team has to deal with the inevitable future of Peyton Manning. Manning has missed the last few weeks with an injury but Brock Osweiller appears to have shown enough to give confidence to the Broncos coaching and management moving forward.
The Dolphins previous interim head coach left his job as the Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator to take his first head coaching job in the NFL. The Jets are currently in position to make the playoffs but will need hang on the last three weeks. More impressive is that he is doing it with Ryan Fitzpatrick as the team’s quarterback. He has also beaten Miami twice, once in London in week four leading the Dolphins to fire Philbin.
Jack Del Rio
After a stint in Jacksonville as the team’s head coach, Del Rio has stabilized the Oakland Raiders. While the Raiders are not likely going to make the post-season this year they have been competitive and challenging all season showing signs of true relevance. Del Rio is a very good fit in Oakland.
Tomsula is on pace to be a one and done head coach in the NFL. He was a questionable hire after the team mutually parted ways with Jim Harbaugh. The 49’ers have been one of the worst teams in the NFL this year and it appears that Tomsula and quarterback Colin Kaepernick will be gone when the season ends.
Fans in Buffalo are disappointed in the team’s performance and Ryan’s robust ego has not transformed the Bills as expected. Off-season trades that included LeSean McCoy as well as free agent pick-up Charles Clay have not worked out as the Bills expected. Whether the players will buy into Ryan’s ego will be known after the 2016 season.
2015 in review
The Dolphins could have gone in a lot of directions had they fired Joe Philbin. It’s likely that Dan Quinn would have come to Miami on the recommendation of Tannenbaum. Rex Ryan was also a possibility or at least a rumored possibility given his history with Tannenbaum. The best coaches from this class are Kubiak and Fox but neither of them would have been realistic options for the Dolphins as both had already made it clear where they wanted to coach.
With the Dolphins firing Philbin after week four it was clear that Miami should have made a move last season holding him instead just a bit too long. What will be available for the Dolphins this year is a subject for a different article.