Wait and see

There is much nonsense and gossip being spouted about the Miami Dolphins' head coach position. Everyone has a strong opinion about whom the Dolphins should hire and why. Media types are trying to skew the result by promoting close personal contacts for the job so they will have a "man inside". Fans are trying to get an entertaining product on the field that will hopefully also produce a winner. People are mind reading, trying to delve into the thoughts of Jeff Fisher, Steven Ross, Carl Peterson, etc. Very few have ever met the participants personally so they are strictly guessing. My only desire is to see the Dolphins put a winning team on the field, exciting or not.

As with Stephen Ross, I would prefer a young Don Shula. A commanding presence, brilliant football mind, and boundless energy. The apparent frontrunner, Jeff Fisher, has the first two. I am always skeptical of coaches who've been doing that job for a long period of time, afraid of Jimmy Johnson-type burnouts. Fisher has not produced much in terms of playoffs and Super Bowls but every situation is different. Like a family, nobody really knows what goes on internally within a football team unless he is a member of the organization (or unless the third-string QB mouths off, as with the Jets). Fisher is also a "big name", something the Dolphins have been chasing for the past fifteen years with often disastrous results (Johnson, Saban, Parcells). I am cautious about Fisher, although there are probably worse choices that could be made. Persons are speculating that Fisher wants a QB in place (e.g. Sam Bradford), others say he wants a more complete team in place. It is quite possible that he doesn't care about either and his wife will make the final selection. Perhaps Fisher only cares about who will be the highest bidder, in which case he wouldn't be a great choice for anyone.

Dave Toub is the fascinating name for me. A very successful special teams coach with the Chicago Bears. Observers often sneer at special teams but, actually, it is a very difficult position to coach. Successful special teams coaches have moved upward in the ranks. The classic example is John Harbaugh of the Ravens, who was hired directly from that position. Bill Cowher was also a special teams coach at one point. I have never met Dave Toub and perhaps he does or doesn't have great leadership skills. I don't know. Also the Dolphins haven't mentioned him very much, just that he came for an interview. Maybe they're not too interested, maybe they're trying to throw everyone off the scent. I don't know. Toub is my favorite candidate. Young and smart. I hope he gets the job. His lack of name recognition may be his downfall in this case.

Joe Philbin, offensive coordinator with the Packers, is another candidate. He didn't call plays for the Packers but, then again, every organization runs things differently. There is a tendency to hire persons from successful organizations, as if they "have the "secret" to winning. History doesn't speak too well of that idea (Todd Haley, Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Dave Waanstedt, etc., etc.). Again, I've never met Philbin so cannot judge his personal characteristics. The fact that he "might" bring Matt Flynn with him is a non-issue. Flynn is an unproven QB and it will cost the Dolphins a fortune in cap space to sign him. Let Philbin develop his own QB or, better yet, work with Matt Moore. Besides, we really don't know if Philbin and Flynn are joined at the hip, although there is probably a very strong comfort level already present.

I will permit myself to speculate intelligently about the role of Carl Peterson. I believe that Peterson has, informally, been running the Dolphins from the day Ross bought the team. Peterson is a football mind and administrator who has the full and complete attention of Stephen Ross. I believe Parcells' very early exit (even for him) was because Ross was listening to Peterson, not him. I also believe the main reason Jeff Ireland is still with the Dolphins is because of his personal relationship with Carl Peterson. I don't believe Ross' statements that Peterson is strictly an advisor, nothing more. It may be technically correct but Ross listens to Peterson 100%. That gives Peterson enormous clout within the organization. I don't necessarily object to this but it won't impress outsiders about the Dolphin leadership for the decision-makers to have such a powerful outside "advisor". Again, my viewpoint.