The year was 2005. Nick Saban was appointed the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. A new era was being presented to the fans and the players. Saban cleaned house and brought in a brand new coaching tree, one of them was Scott Linehan, who was selected as the Offensive Coordinator for the Miami Dolphins.
Scott Linehan produced an okay season. The Miami Dolphins didn’t make the playoffs, but Linehan produced enough to gain an interview to become a head coach. That interview went really well, as he became the head coach of the Saint Louis Rams in 2006.
Believe it or not, that was the last time a Miami Dolphins coordinator was poached away to become a head coach, until this past week. Vance Joseph, the Dolphins former defensive coordinator is now the head coach of the Denver Broncos. VJ, was a players coach. His player loved how he understood what he was actually teaching and how he adapted to their skill set. This was a complete 180 in philosophy, as Dolphins players were told over and over again, during the Joe Philbin era, that the system will work.
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His leadership was effective and his players played for him. However, VJ, is not ready to become a head coach. It was premature for him to leave the Dolphins.
VJ has learned a lot throughout his coaching era in the NFL. Which should demand respect amongst his peers, but one thing is that in his only year as a defensive coordinator he didn’t provide enough results. The Dolphins defense was actually worse this year than last. They broke records, but in the negative way, amassing the most amount of yards by the opposing team in Dolphins franchise history.
Although the Dolphins were plagued by his injuries throughout the season, it didn’t address the fact that VJ, failed to adapt to his schema. The blueprint is out on how to beat VJ defense. The Patriots, Ravens and Steelers exposed this weakness the last month of the regular season, and not once was there a change in his game plan. The NFL is a copycat league and all other teams just mimicked what the Ravens exposed.
That exposure was quick reads and less than a two second pocket for the quarterback. Re-watch any of the games, that were mentioned above and the QB released the ball in less than 2 seconds, thereby rendering the Dolphins defensive line useless.
The contrast to the Broncos hiring is that their defense is legit. VJ, isn’t coming into a similar situation he faced with the Dolphins, he is actually inheriting a top 3 NFL defense. The concern with the Broncos is their quarterback situation. Adam Gase, took control of that side of ball, during VJ tenure with the Dolphins, which makes the critics start thinking…Did the Broncos just hire a head coach that doesn’t know how to lead a NFL offense?
The Broncos hired Mike McCoy as their next offensive coordinator, which is great, but what does that say about VJ. He will just hand off the duties to a coach that was just fired? VJ had an excellent opportunity to learn from one of the newest and brightest minds in the NFL on how to lead an offense, but he decided against in.
That is the immaturity part that will be dissected.
As per the vacancy in Miami, that was quickly filled by an in house solution. To be honest, what Gase stated during his press conference was refreshing. Gase believes in his system and stood up for what he believed in. He didn’t see the benefit of bringing in another new coordinator thereby forcing the players to learn yet another new playbook. Although a serious case should have been made on the availability of Gus Bradley (who created the legion of boom), but Dolphin fans should feel good that the Dolphins are part of a system and not a person.
History has an ugly way of always trying to repeat itself. People should have learned from their peers previous mistakes. Scott Linehan was an aspiring coordinator that new how to move the chains. Vance Joseph, made the Dolphins defense relevant to warrant a ten win season. However, similar to Linehan, the concern is on the opposite side of their respected field. Here’s hoping that VJ doesn’t share the same “one and done” fate that Linehan did in Saint Louis.