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The breakdown of the Dolphins coaching seach

The Dolphins are quietly conducting a coaching search.

The club has made no public move to cement the future of their football operations but that does not mean things are stagnant behind the scenes, as ownership has already contacted two potential coaching candidates, according to multiple NFL sources.

The Dolphins in recent days reached out to former Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher to gauge his interest in becoming the coach, according to a source close to Cowher. But the team's conversations with Cowher included a scenario in which he would have final say over the organization but also retain general manager Jeff Ireland and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.

Cowher, apparently not comfortable with that setup because he wants autonomy over assistants, personnel and the hiring of a GM, has backed away from the Miami job at this time as a result. He is out of the Miami picture at this moment but that remains a fluid situation.

Another source indicated this morning that the Dolphins have made initial and preliminary contact with Jim Harbaugh's camp and that more conversations are expected in the coming hours and possibly days with the Stanford coach. Harbaugh, who authored Stanford's 12-1 season and their 40-12 defeat of Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl, has been in South Florida for over a week.

The Dolphins have had no official meetings or talks with Harbaugh per se. But having such discussions is apparently the plan, a source said. The story was first reported by NFL.com.

There is no certainty that Harbaugh will be hired by Miami, however.

He is perhaps the hottest college coach in the nation now and his pro-style offense is appealing to any NFL team looking to upgrade on offense -- a description the Dolphins fit. But that makes Harbaugh a candidate for jobs in San Francisco and Denver and at his alma mater, Michigan.

The 49ers are an apparent quality of life fit because they are 21 miles from Harbaugh's current address. But the 49ers seem intent on completing the hiring of a general manager first so that may hinder their attempt to land Harbaugh.

The Broncos are now guided, in part, by former quaterback John Elway, a Stanford graduate. Like a contingent of Dolphins employees, Elway was also on hand Monday night as Harbaugh's team did its work against Virginia Tech.

Michigan is a fit because Harbaugh played there and was a candidate for the job in 2002. But Harbaugh didn't land the Michigan job that year so his allegiance to the Wolverines may not be as solid as it once was. Ironically, Ross is a Michigan alumnus and major contributor but could be the reason Michigan doesn't land its prized candidate.

Harbaugh seems to fit what Ross apparently is searching for -- a name-coach that promises offensive fireworks that excites fans. But chasing Harbaugh is not without difficulty in that he would also have to agree to work with Ireland and keep Nolan, whom Ross seems intent on keeping at this point.

Two other possibilities are Jeff Fisher and Jon Gruden.

The Tennessee head coach has not been told by owner Bud Adams if he will be retained or fired. If he is fired, Fisher is a respected name that could attract Ross. The situation in Tennessee has no timetable for finding resolution.

Gruden, working for ESPN on their Monday Night Football broadcasts, is perhaps the most expensive candidate on the market. Because he is scheduled to be paid $5 million by Tampa Bay in 2011 and makes approximately $2 million from ESPN, he would be looking for a deal that could exceed $8 million. It is also not known if Gruden would be willing to work with Ireland.

And all the time, the Dolphins are keeping current coach Tony Sparano on hold. It is now clear he is the fall-back position.

While Sparano is still on the job, the team is also conducting a search.

Ownership is seeking what it believes is an upgrade. And failing to find one, will bring Sparano back for his fourth season as Miami's coach. His record in three seasons is 25-23 with a playoff appearance in 2008 and back-to-back 7-9 records the past two seasons.


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Gruden is a HACK...Ross will never ever consider that joke of a coach.

Dr. Roberts....I live in Baltimore ....the Ravens are 12-4 and fans are still calling for Cam Cameron to be fired....He is the equivelant of our Henning....if Bal. loses in the 1st round....look for it on ESPN

Some observations:

1) Why are we so stunned that a team won a division with a 7-9 record? I predicted this when the NFL went to EIGHT four-team divisions. It was bound to happen. The fewer the number of teams in a division, the greater the likelihood of a mediocre first place team. Coupled with the fact that there are EIGHT such 4-team divisions, well, as I say, this was bound to happen. And it will happen again.

2) This new overtime rule, where in the playoffs the sudden death factor is eliminated if the first team to field the ball scores a FG, SUCKS! The heretofore sudden death rules for the NFL were perfect. The NFL needlessly messed with success. I do not at all feel sorry for a team that loses a game in OT without getting to touch the ball. If the receiving team moves into possession for a FG, they've EARNED the victory.

3) Last night I watched the 1935 version of Crime and Punishment on Turner Classic Movies, starting Peter Lorre. It was a huge disappointment. The film was only partly faithful to the book, and I felt little of the tension, suspense, and moral issues raised in Dostoyevsky's masterpiece. Tonight, starting at 8 pm, Turner Classic Movies is running a 24-hour Our Gang marathon. Check out "Dogs Is Dogs." It's a masterpiece.

4) I watched the ESPN documentary on the Miami Hurricanes football team. Not being from Miami, I was never a Canes fan, but I noted the comments that, during their prime, the Hurricanes were more beloved than the Dolphins. Is that true? I can't believe ANYONE was ever bigger or more beloved than Dan Marino or Don Shula.

5) I don't care that one of Shannen Doherty's eyes is higher than the other. In 1992-1993 she was one of the most beautiful women on the planet. God, I had such a crush on her. Even Mrs. Dodsworth knows, and she understands.

6) As bad as the Dolphins were on Sunday against the Pats, there were still moments during the game where my childlike sense of wonder came out. When Henne would complete a first down pass to Marshall, for a split second joy would wash over my being like a morphine rush (not that I know what morphine's like, but I like the analogy). I was like - "My God! The Dolphins just got a first down! They're like the greatest team ever!" Being a Dolphin fan is like watching a TV drama - you have to suspend disbelief. Otherwise, the reality and banality of life steamrolls you.

7) When my brothers and I and our friends used to play hockey on our driveway, we would vote for the 3 Stars afterwards. If you were fortunate enough to be named a star, you wouldn't be announced as yourself, you would be announced as an NHL player of your choosing. One of my brothers always had to be Bobby Clarke. No one else could be announced as Bobby Clarke. That was really unfair.

LA, great post at 12:49

Don't understand why everyone deemed Saban a failure. He has more starters still in the NFL than every regime we've had before and since (Some of the guys we have starting shouldn't be)

Denny, we are by no means becoming irrelevant in the global market. The weak dollar is helping American corportions achieve record profits overseas. Its by design the weak dollar, a strong currency hurts your exports. Check the stock market, many companies hitting record highs on record profits. Now the flip side is that its not so good for the middle class, they are being phased out. Big brother arrived a long time ago, some just don't realize it yet.

Mallett is playing against the 4th ranked pass defense tonight. Let's see how it goes. One of these guys will fall into our laps - Mallett, Gabbert, Newton. They always do. We better be ready to pull the trigger this time.

Marc, he also assembled an aging roster that even Gruden would be envious of.

Uh, some of you who are afraid to let sparano go, should realize that he has had 3 years to get it right - the 1st year , he set a standard for himself. He has not lived up to that. He has regressed. The idea is to improve and win each year, not go backward. If you're thinking Harbaugh is not ready for NFL - I remind you he was a decent NFL QB in his day, and did actually coach on several teams before going to college. Sometimes, change is needed, S Fla is a football area, and we demand a lot. There's nothing wrong with that, and if the coaches can handle that pressure they need to move on.

One thing with Fisher (and I know he'd be a long shot) is that you'd have NO worries about the capabilities of his coaching staff. He's always attracted extremely good teachers who have usually gotten the most out of some marginally talented teams.

I just believe STRONGLY that Fisher---given the tools---would win anywhere.

Others feel differently, no doubt, but I wouldn't even call any of those other guys if he was available.

I would like Harbaugh, cuz he is young, used to be a QB in the nfl, and would believe he would know how to actually coach our QB and get the ball to our playmakers.

I really never felt worse than this for our team, i didnt feel this bad on the 1-15 season, cuz our team was top to bottom dreadful. We have a few pieces now that i think a young coach like Harbaugh can build around. Lets do it, bring him in.

Coward runs the most boring football, run run run, and run has the old school mentality that just doesnt work in this era of the NFL.

Curious that Ross is savvy enough to keep Nolan but ignores Ireland's record. It seems Ross and co. likes Ireland. Apparentaly all those millions wasted is not a big concern for Ross. Or maybe he blamed it all on Parcells and got away with it.

I think if Harbaugh ends up in SF, which I think he will, then the team sells the farm to move up and gets Luck. I mean literally sells the farm! I could see a blockbuster coming, involving a lot of draft picks. Might be too good for Carolina to turn down.

As I said, I'm not qualified to know whether Nolan would do better a second time around.

Neither are you.

I merely posed the question that asks what about his resume as a HC makes you think he'd be better at it than he was when given that shot before?

I have yet to see anything concrete said.

Nathaniel....A rush of Morphine is a lot like climbing up a rope in Gym class..Awesome!!!!

Kris--I'm in Philly. Folks here want REID fired on a yearly basis despite all the success!

Personally, Mallett was my favourite college Qb even going back to last year. If he's here, I'd be happy. Then again I also really like Christian Ponder but yet he is not that highly thought of by NFL scouts.

Also clamoured for a Jim Harbaugh since the New England special teams fiasco.

If those 2 things turn out in success for Miami - then I take all responsibility personally if the Dolphins don't succeed, haha


Personally, I'd prefer a Nolan to a Gruden. As long as he wasn't drafting. At least we know our defense would be good and he would be hungry to succeed and not quit to go back to tv.

Interesting to me that Carolina doesn't go hard after Harbaugh and take Luck with the first pick. Would be a great combo! I know that's not how Richardson does business but I think if I were part of their fan base I'd be outraged!

An excerpt from Jim Harbaugh's interview...

"Now..in Miami we believe strongly in giving the fans a feeling that they're 'brushing elbows' with real Celebrities.
In fact, our Goal is to transform Sun Life Stadium into a living breathing version of 'US Magazine' on Game Day!"
"Its all part of our 'Entertainment before Football' Marketing strategy -- So as Head Coach, there will be times, on Game Day, where Fans and VIP's will walk up to you on the sideline just to say Hi! Some of them might even want to give you advice and offer tips.
Now we need a Head Coach who can handle all of that and NOT go 1 - 7 at Home."

Do you think that you're the man for the Job?

What the F-_-c-k are you TALKING ABOUT !!????

The Niners making a play for Luck isn't out of the question, particularly if Harbaugh ends up there (which I think is likely even if Ross goes after him)

They're already drafting high enough to be able to put something together without giving up the farm.

Mallet supporters...Tell me what to look for during tonight game that has all of you guys excited about him. I'm not being negative, I just want a heads up as to what to look for. Besides being big, with a strong arm what does he do well?

Ok fellas I got to go get some field work done but am expecting you all to use your mental powers to get Harbaugh in the fold by the time I get off work and can check in with ESPN.

What is the thing he has for Ireland?? Send him packing too...

Darryl--He also gives us False Hope #158 since Danny retired!

(I'm kidding...he SEEMS to have all the skills and is a pretty fiery guy. Interesting, but I'd never tell you he's "the answer" because most of 'em wind up quite the opposite)

Denny - Good post at 1226. I like Sparano as a person. I think both Sparano and Henne have tried hard but to no avail. They are not the right folks to keep on doing it. But, they do not deserve name calling or chants of "Henne Sucks." He might well, but I clearly remember the same being done to Sammie Smith and it just destroyed him. It is classless to go after these men on a personal basis.

Critiquing how they do their jobs is another matter, however. We all have our opinions and I enjoy reading them, no matter how frustrating they can sometimes be (I'm sure my opinions frustrate others too!). But the facts are that I, nor anyone else here, have very little, if any, impact on Ross' decisions in this. Which is unfortunate, because he really should call me. :-)))

Miami needs an offensive minded coach. I don't want Tony Sparano whose expertise is nothing, bot Bill Cowher or Jeff Fisher. I want Jim Harbaugh, Jon Gruden or Brian Billick types. They are X and 0's guys. Who understand how to create favorable match ups and mismatches all over the field.

Mike Nolan is that way on defense. He puts his players in the best position to succeed. In back to back years he took good pass rushers to dominant pass rushers with Elvis Dumervil and Cam Wake. He featured his best player on defense and made them shine.

That is what offensive minded coaches like Harbaugh, Gruden and even Billick do.

Harbaugh - I know he is a college guy and the success rate throughout history is not good for college to pro guys but after watching him destroy Va Tech effortlessly after making halftime adjustments and him being that young exciting guy, I'm in.

Gruden - Love his X and O's breakdowns. He really understands offenses and how to get the most out of players. He made Rich Gannon a career journeymen a league MVP. He put up over 30 points per game in the playoffs the year he won the Super Bowl with Brad Johnson, Michael Pittman, Joe Jerivicious and Ken Dilger as big parts of an offense that also feature 2 pretty good players in Keyshawn Johnson and Keenan McCardell. Point is he knows how generate offense when he has little to work with.

Billick - knock him all you want. He never found his QB and that is why he was ultimately fired but for a coach who beleives in the pass he showed how good of a coach he was when he adapted to a running style team with Jamal Lewis and a great defense.

Dr. Robert, so only Head coaches become head coaches? he wasn't a coach and got the Job in San Fran, right?

What's on Nolan's resume right now is 2 consecutive Coordinator stints. His HC record is what it is. However, just so you know, there is another coach in this division that went on to win 3 superbowls. FYI, he wasn't a real winner in Cleveland! But he got another chance, so there are other examples that lead us to believe Nolan can be successful. he just needs a shot.

How about you answer my question now? What was on Sparano's resume that led you to think he even deserved consideration to be a HC? No one even knew who he was. But because Parcells controlled everything, he gets a job?

How wonderful is that? We have certainly reaped those rewards!

quick release and accuracy,also watch the yac from the wr's and such. they r not stopping to catch the ball.lol

Sparano shouldn't leave himself dangling in the wind. If he's not their first choice, he should simply resign on his own account.

Gil Brandt,

Is suggesting he thinks Kolb could be had for a conditional third round pick. I think he's off his rockers!


OK, fellas...gotta do various stunningly important and productive things.

Seeya later!

later 623

DD, watch Mallett's aggressiveness, fearlessness, and leadership. This guy will push the envelope. He has prototype NFL size and as good as an arm as there is - he will make all the throws. Add to that - he is darn accurate.

he does have flaws though and oddly they are the same as his positives - he will throw some picks thinking he can put the ball anywhere (as opposed to throwing picks because he is erratic). NFL scouts also question his footwork when the opposition applies pressure but I don't see that as a huge flaw - coaching can fix all of these things.

later dr r.

Craig M,

Remember that is what I was saying I would offer for Kolb yesterday a 3rd with a chance to be elevated to a 2nd if he meets certain stats or overall starts.


TE #2, #3
QB #3

Yep, only a few players a way from being "Elite"

Jam up roster you got there Parcells/Ireland

I say fire Sparano and hire Cowher. Let him do whatever he wants. Hopefully he'll get rid of Ireland,Henne,and Henning so we can move up in draft and get Cam Newton. Cowher can also be the G.M. Keep Nolan as DC. And hire new OC. Also Jeff Fisher would be an improvement. And Finally give Parcells his walking papers. Who needs his imput? This is a guy who quit on us earlier this season after he relized he failed us miserabley....

NFL Network....Cowher unlikley to accept job with Phins. Dolphins have had multiple conversations with Harbaugh about head coaching spot...Not sure this answers anything


Mark in Toronto,

I am with you on Ryan Mallet. My father is an Arkansas alum so we watch a ton of Arkansas football. Mallett is the real deal. He does have flaws but you are right on with his arm strength which is an over rated stat but he does have accuracy to go along with it. He also has that cocky swagger/confidence to his game. That "it" factor.

Some of his flaws are his lack of overall mobility but he throws great on the run and is pin point laser accurate.

I like Billick too, Andy. Doesn't get enough cred for what he did with a dude named Dilfer and that outstanding team he had (was Nolan not part of that?). Billick may be a horse's patoot when it comes to personality but he sure was a good coach.

I have no understanding of what Harbaugh would bring to the table except youth and fire. I am not critiquing, just stating that it is impossible for me to know with the info I have.

Andy, wasn't cameron an offensive minded coach? this actually reminds me a lot of 07. Saban leaves. We have a good defense. We keep mueller and DC and go get offensive minded coach. 1-15 was the result

Wow....what does it say to Sparano at this point if you do keep him..."We tried to find a replacement, couldnt, so you will have to do"...and what does it say to the Fans?? We tried to get better...but didnt...Dont you at this point HAVE to make SOME move??

marc. did you see koa puking in the 4th q.?

Nice of Dr. Roberts to reuest an answer to a question but leaves before answering one posed to him. Maybe someone else can help answer this for me.

What was on Sparano's resume that led you to think he even deserved consideration to be a HC?

I want Jack Del Rio

NFL.com has a picture of ross and peterson talking to harbaugh last night on the sidelines on their main page.

I must be the only one that wants to keep both
Sparano and Ireland, imagine that !

WOW, Marc/Marcia, Quite a list there...., Unfortunately I cant disagree with you on any of those.... BTW, How warm is it in He!! ????, Hopefully It's better then it is here...(BTW it's 38 degrees)

2 Watt, not sure I was paying that much attention by the 4th quarter. Actually, that was about the time my Jew girl started blowing me because I was upset....

Reports are all over the map so not even worth commenting on Coach Sporano's situation. What we do know is Jeff Ireland stays, which is good news. Shows some stability here so that's good. Glad to see less and less chance of Cow-Head coming here. Hopefully Gruden is out of the mix to, destroyed Dungy's team in less then two years with his ego and awful locker room presence.

I want Jack Del Rio

Posted by: Marc | January 04, 2011 at 01:14 PM

Marc/Marcia...... That sounds Gay... Not that there's anything wrong with that....

Actually, it's a pleasant 1000 degrees...No sweat

Jimmy Jam

You are so right on about Billick never getting the credit he should have as a coach. He is second to none with preparation and is all about finding the other teams weakest link and exploiting that.

Sparano is a joke. He beleives in one on one football and a battle of WILL. That crap doesn't get it done on a week to week basis. First Miami was a smash mouth team then they went pass happy but by pass happy I mean check downs and short passes. Down to your third string QB what do you do Sparano? This clown runs 9 times

Ted Ginn as a Phin again, I hope he brings his family. Actually, it would have been nice to have him this year...

Marc says, "I want Jack Del Rio" Do you want him in your mouth or ass is the only question I can think of when the dress wearing twinkle toes appears here

As a coach you punk...I like his coaching style...Plus he's the one that sealed Marino's/JJ's fate with one game. RELENTLESS

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