Making Sense of the Dolphins’ Relatively Low-Profile Coach Search for Two Days


The Miami Dolphins didn’t just wake up on Monday and decided to Fire Chief Coach Brian Flores. It was a decision to be made for weeks – and maybe even months -. And yet, they have been among the quietest teams so far at the very start of this cycle. While the Broncos, Bears and Jaguars have at least called for meetings with apparently all of the top contenders, the Dolphins haven’t made the same headlines.

Miami Dolphins Coach Search

As of Tuesday evening, only three candidates emerged publicly. According to the NFL Network, the Dolphins have requested talks with Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel and Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

Two of those three candidates have ties to Miami. Daboll was the Dolphins OC in 2011. Quinn coached the Miami defensive line from 2005 to 2006. Daboll and Quinn both worked with Dolphins general manager Chris Grier, who was a national scout during Quinn’s time with the team, and the Director of University Scouting when Daboll was with the organization.

We haven’t had the opportunity to chat with Grier since the end of the season. So much of what we write here is educated speculation. But based on all the available evidence – including Grier’s decision to hire Flores three years ago and owner Stephen Ross’s edict for organizational communication and cohesion – it’s fair to assume that Grier would prefer to hire. someone with whom he has a personal history and a comfort level.

Are the Dolphins considering a Dan Quinn-Mike McDaniel partnership?

That’s why McDaniel’s interview request stands out. He has no connection to the Dolphins and no obvious connection to Grier. But it does make sense if you look at it through this lens: McDaniel was on Quinn’s Falcons staff in 2016 when Atlanta went to the Super Bowl. Quinn was the head coach at the time.

McDaniel was an offensive assistant. So maybe this interview request is a way for the Dolphins to sense McDaniel’s willingness to join Quinn’s team again, but this time as the offensive coordinator.

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Despite McDaniel’s title, Kyle Shanahan calls the plays in San Francisco. Still, it would be intriguing to see what he could do if he brought Shanahan’s system to Miami, which hasn’t made it to the top 10 in scorers since 2001.

Daboll would presumably call games wherever he lands, but he has a hole in his resume that could be decisive for Miami: He’s never been an NFL head coach.

Head Coaching Experience Will Be A Factor For Miami

When asked by PFN if it was important to hire someone with this previous experience, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross replied:

“We’re going to look for the best man. Of course, having the experience always helps. I’m sure if we think we’ve found someone great who has been a coordinator or some other position in football, I would definitely take that very seriously. Our mind is open. We’re looking for someone who could work together to take this list and take it to the next level. “

Dolphins should indeed do due diligence. But we have a feeling Ross – who hired and then fired three coaches for the first time since 2012 – would prefer someone who has already. That’s why they contacted Quinn, and why we expect them to consider Dennis Allen, Doug Pederson, and Jim Caldwell, among others.

All three have been NFL head coaches in the past. And since Pederson and Caldwell are not currently employed by an NFL team, either could speak to Miami at any time – assuming they haven’t already and we just haven’t heard of it.


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