At 4 p.m. today the Dolphins will introduce Joe Philbin as their new head coach and one assumes they'll explain why they picked the former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator. That will be interesting.
Before that happens, let me take a moment to tell you why the Dolphins may not have picked Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.
McCoy, as I reported earlier in this space, was confident he was going to get the Dolphins job. At 39 years old, he was the only one of the finalists that fit into Stephen Ross's desire to hire "a young Don Shula."
But that's not the reason McCoy was so confident. Turns out he was reading signs from the team. He gauged their enthusiasm following his first meeting with them Monday. And he was even more confident after flying to New York for a Thursday interview because that went a full eight hours -- nine hours if you count the meal -- and afterward general manager Jeff Ireland told McCoy that if things went as expected, the team would send a plane for McCoy and the family to bring them from Denver back to South Florida on Friday.
But it never got to that point and McCoy thinks he knows the reason.
Seems during the McCoy interview, the topic of defensive coordinator came up. And the Dolphins told McCoy they really liked Todd Bowles and would like him to hire Bowles as the defensive coordinator.
This is interesting on many fronts because it suggests the team at the time already knew Bowles was not going to be selected as the head coach and was already planning another job for him. It's also interesting because as of late last night, the club had not told Bowles anything about becoming defensive coordinator. I'm told the only conversation between Bowles and Ireland Friday night was when the GM told the interim coach the Dolphins were hiring Philbin. It is also interesting in that it means the Dolphins were assuming Bowles, who is interviewing for other head coaching jobs, would not get any of those jobs.
At any rate, McCoy didn't agree to hiring Bowles as his defensive coordinator. He told the Dolphins that as a first time head coach, and an offensive-minded coach at that, he'd like to hire an experienced defensive coordinator. He told the Dolphins he'd like someone that had done the job and succeeded in the job previously so he could concentrate more on upgrading the Miami offense.
Todd Bowles, you must understand, has never been a defensive coordinator.
But the Dolphins insisted. And McCoy pushed back.
The Dolphins spoke of how well-regarded Bowles is and McCoy made the point that it is irregular to force an assistant on a new coach when that assistant just lost a job derby to the new head coach and that assistant is not experienced in the job the team wants him to carry out. It can be uncomfortable for all parties.
It wasn't contentious. But McCoy had definite ideas about people he'd like to interview for the job. And the Dolphins -- once they found out from McCoy that Steve Spagnuolo was already hired elsewhere -- had definite ideas about Bowles.
Ultimately, McCoy told the team he would be more than happy to include Bowles in the interview process for a defensive coordinator. He'd be happy to meet Bowles. But he declined to make any promises to hire Bowles.
Obviously, the club went with Philbin as the new head coach. They began talking to Philbin late into the evening Thursday and reached a deal with him Friday afternoon.
Now, I am not telling you the defensive coordinator issue is the reason McCoy was eliminated. I am telling you that's the reason McCoy thinks he didn't get the job.
The truest test of this will be seeing whom Philbin "hires" as his defensive coordinator. He's got a ton of coaching talent in Green Bay that he can draw from as a possible DC candidates. And he should have his own people and be comfortable with them if he wants. He's never worked with Bowles and, far as I know, didn't have Bowles in his plans when he began the interview process.
But if Todd Bowles becomes the Dolphins next defensive coordinator under Joe Philbin, you'll know this was indeed a tipping point in the McCoy interview. You'll know that perhaps the reason the team picked Philbin over McCoy was Philbin's willingness to meet Miami's desires to hire Bowles where McCoy wanted to hire his own people.
Follow me on twitter. I will be providing real-time updates of the Philbin presser on my timeline today.