Some thoughts on the Dolphins and their search for a coach:
1. They failed to land Jeff Fisher, the top candidate they wanted, and that is now two times that owner Stephen Ross identifies a coach he truly wants and fails to land him.
2. When I texted with a couple of Dolphins sources Friday afternoon after the Fisher news came out, their tone was of legitimate loss. There was a tone of disappointment, even anger in their words. Then I spoke with Ross and he stressed he's not disappointed. He spoke of finding a coach that 'hopefully will be in the hall of fame." So did the Dolphins pivot from their true feelings to spin mode? Of, course they did! They were disappointed, folks. No doubt about it. This failure to land Fisher is as much a loss as either game played again the Patriots during the season. It was a defeat.
3. Speaking of the message and the ability to communicate, I am seriously wondering the Dolphins' ability to do that even in the most intimate and what should be the most transparent venue -- within their walls, behind closed doors, during their sealed interviews. Ross told me in no uncertain terms that when Fisher came for his visit, he explained to the coach that Miami's philosophy is to have the head coach and the general manager work in a collaborative effort. Ross said the coach and GM must have a "partnership" and Fisher and he "had conversations that set forth the parameters of how the organization would be run and Jeff understood those and had no problem with it." But one very highly placed source close to Fisher called this morning and insists Fisher never agreed to anything like that, never indicated he was comfortable with that setup, and "the ultimate proof I'm telling the truth is [Fisher] will be the Rams coach and not the Dolphins."
So was Ross speaking a language Fisher didn't understand or vice versa? Did these folks spend hours together interviewing and when it was all done, they still didn't get what the other wanted or expected?
4. I think these next two paragraphs from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch speak poorly of the Dolphins:
"According to sources familiar with the negotiations, Fisher actually informed Rams owner Stan Kroenke sometime Thursday that he wanted to be the next head coach of the Rams.
"Because the contract hadn't been finalized, the Rams kept things quiet and even planned to continue their interview process. But Miami owner Stephen Ross kept pushing and pushing to land Fisher. Growing impatient, the Dolphins informed the Fisher camp they needed an answer Friday or they were going to move on in their search."
I cannot account for the paragraphs factually although the writer, Jim Thomas, is well-respected in journalism circles and has a reputation as a no-nonsense, solid reporter. So if true, I'm left shaking my head that the Dolphins would not be cool enough to play out the process. It seems dumb to pressure a candidate they're trying to land, and look nervous compared to the cool approach by the Rams. The Rams! The Dolphins made the Rams look laid-back, cool and under control! The Rams!
That doesn't speak well of the Miami approach, especially considering they could have continued on with their interviews with no problems anyway. Makes Miami look dumb.
5. Ross told me the process between Miami and Fisher was "sincere." He volunteered it. I'm glad he's comfortable. But I personally -- nothing to do with the Dolphins or what they're saying -- cannot get past the idea Fisher used Miami a bit. I have no proof of it. But it the possibility lingers for me.
6. So what now? Ross told me interviews will continue but that coaches they are eyeing are in the playoffs today. Obviously, that includes coaches on the staffs of the 49ers, Packers, Saints, Giants, Patriots, Broncos, Ravens, and Texans. I would hope Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, Baltimore defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, Saints OL/running game coach Aaron Kromer, Green Bay assistant head coach Winston Moss, and Giants defensive coordintor Perry Fewell all deserve a look.
7. I understood that neither Todd Bowles nor Mike Nolan had much of a chance to be the Dolphins head coach while Jeff Fisher was out there. But he's not out there anymore. The Dolphins should re-think the idea of Bowles, who went 2-1 against three division foes at the end of the season. The Dolphins should consider interviewing Nolan, whose defense recovered from a terrible season-opener against New England to post decent numbers, for the head job. Nolan was head coach in San Francisco and it didn't work out. But to not even get an interview? Really?
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