The Dolphins obviously believe they had a great day on Tuesday. They filled their inside linebacker coaching job and they made what seems like a widely popular hire of Mike Nolan as the new defensive coordinator.
Great job by them, it seems.
But work time is not over.
You see, I attended South Florida public schools and I know that if the Dolphins lost three assistants when the season ended and have hired two assistants since then, they are running a one assistant deficit. The Dolphins still apparently need to hire an outside linebacker coach.
I suppose it's possible Nolan can coach the outside linebackers as well as coordinator, but I don't see that happening. The carefully worded press release from the team -- no, this team doesn't do press conferences -- specified Nolan is the defensive coordinator, not the DC and outside linebacker coach.
And Bill Sheridan's brief press release called him the ILB coach.
So the coaching search must continue.
And rather than get into the speculative list of men who might fill the job, I wish to take this post a different direction. I wish to explain that the OLB coach job is seriously, unquestionably important. That's because the OLB in the 3-4 defense must be the most dominant player on the defense.
You need the 3-4 OLB to pressure the QB, bring sacks and strip sacks, cover, hold the edge against the running game, and maybe deliver a touchdown or two each year. If you're going to have a Defensive Player of the Year, the OLB in the 3-4 defense is often the position that dude mans.
Well, the Dolphins got the TD from Jason Taylor in 2009. But the results from the group was otherwise hit-and-miss.
Cameron Wake, who came to the Dolphins with obvious pass-rushing talents, took more than a quarter of the season to earn a pass-rush niche on the team. And he never, really convinced the coaching staff that he could both cover and defend the run.
Taylor, brought in to be a designated rusher, was pushed to full-time duty through October and then, curiously, he was coming off the field on many passing downs. His sack total understandibly stagnated.
Joey Porter, injured on and off part of the year, seemed to age before our very eyes. He still led the team in sacks with nine. But anyone with eyes saw he was a shadow of the player he was in 2008.
Matt Roth? Terrible with the Dolphins. Great with the Browns. An enigma wrapped in a riddle shrouded in mystery. Something went wrong in Roth's head but no way his position coach maximized this player in the four games he played and contributed four tackles.
Charlie Anderson? Role player who counted $2.58 million against the cap in 2009. Worth it?
Quentin Moses was a backup when the year began and was pretty much that when the year ended.
So which player did the Miami OLB coach develop? Which player did the Miami OLB coach milk for everything the player had? You tell me, because I didn't see it.
And the outside linebacker spot will continue to be a source of curiousity in 2010. We don't know if Taylor will be back. We don't know if the Dolphins want Porter back -- although signs point that they do not. We don't know if Wake can develop into a three-down player.
The position that is supposed to be where one of the defense's dominant players thrive is a source of uncertainty in 2010. And so the Dolphins must find the right coach to help answer some of the questions.
Nope, the coaching search is definitely not quite done.