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72 posts from January 2012

January 03, 2012

Report: Jeff Fisher is interviewing with Dolphins today

Jeff Fisher is in town and interviewing with the Dolphins now, ESPN has reported. I have not yet confirmed this independently.

[UPDATE: I've confirmed Fisher is indeed in town today.] Fisher arrived at the Dolphins facility aboard a helicopter. Owner Stephen Ross was supposedly with Fisher.Dolphins copter

Assuming the report is accurate, this would be a good sign in that it shows aggressiveness by the Dolphins to move on the best candidate on the market immediately. You must remember, the Dolphins coaching job has been open about 36 hours.

This interview is interesting. It frankly promises to be more of a sell-job or recruiting mission than an interview. After all, are Ross or Jeff Ireland seriously going to interrogate Fisher as to his defensive strategies? They would never balk at anything he tells them.

Fisher, Ireland and Ross in the room is a room with one highly credentialed NFL man and two others trying to reach those heights. Sorry if that frays anyone's sensibilities but that is the truth.

The mission, now that Fisher is in town, should be to prevent him from leaving town. The Dolphins should show Fisher around, let him meet the personnel staff, get a clue whether Fisher would be comfortable working with Ireland (which I'm told isn't expected to be a problem), and then do one last thing:

Throw a brinks truck loaded with big bills at the guy.

Hire the guy!

The Dolphins would be foolish to let Fisher go to his interview with the Rams, which is scheduled for later this week. If Fisher stays in town, that's a glowing sign that he will be the next coach of the Dolphins. If he leaves town ... issues.

It would be a bad sign.

I am encouraged about a couple of things here: The fact Fisher is talking to Miami first is great for the Dolphins. The fact Fisher is at the facility is a great sign he's not put off by what Miami's current QB situation is. There was a report that said Fisher needed to be comfortable with a team's quarterback situation or prospects to be interested in a job.

Fisher's presence doesn't mean he'll be the Dolphins next coach. But it suggests good things for a team trying to make a splash in hiring their coach.

Today should be interesting.

Follow Armando Salguero on twitter for real-time updates.

January 02, 2012

Bowles interview complete, Toub on Tuesday

The Dolphins announced earlier this evening that interim coach Todd Bowles had completed his interview for the Dolphins coaching vacancy.

With that, the Dolphins have now complied with the NFL's Rooney Rule. Bowles went 2-1 as Miami's coach but, honestly, he is a longshot candidate by any definition.

Chicago Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub, the guy who makes Devin Hester run fast, is scheduled to interview for the coaching vacancy on Tuesday, according to The Herald's Barry Jackson.


There is no doubt Toub is quality. He's also available. He's also benefitting from the fact special teams coaches are now being viewed a legitimate candidates since John Harbaugh made the successful jump from special teams coach to head coach in Baltimore.

Frankly, Toub is also a fall-back candidate.

The Dolphins are scheduled to speak with Jeff FIsher this week although I probably wouldn't call that a classic interview. It'll be as much Fisher feeling out the Dolphins as vice versa. Fisher has hand during this entire coach-search process as he remains the biggest, hottest name available.

I apologize if I've given the impression that Brian Billick is not a candidate, but the truth is I haven't heard his name in recent days for whatever reason. Doesn't mean he wouldn't be considered or has been eliminated. It just means I haven't heard his name recently. Remember he could factor.

By the way, remember those Brian Schottenheimer rumors that seemed to dog the Dolphins earlier this winter? Hahahahaha. An NFL source tells me Schottenheimer likely will not be fired by the Jets. But internally they would not mind if he went elsewhere.

Schottenheimer is a candidate for the Jacksonville job. The Jets would love him to get the job. Schootenheimer is scheduled to make a whopping $3.2 million over the next two seasons so he probably won't take a lateral move that pays less.

But he is definitely not the "hot assistant" some Dolphins fans were expecting him to be earlier.

Kindly follow me on twitter: https://twitter.com/armandosalguero I often tweet whatever news I have first and then put it on the blog in long form. If you want the updates ASAP, my twitter account is the place to be.

Fisher to interview and Dolphins better land him

Jeff Fisher will interview for the Dolphins head coaching job this week, a source familiar with the process told The Miami Herald.

Good. Finally, the Dolphins doing what makes most sense.

Sometimes the NFL turns something that is as fundamental as running faster or being stronger into exotic, scientific sounding postulates and theorems on locomotion. Um, it's about getting from point A to point B and the faster, stronger guy usually does it better than the guy with no God-given ability.

Simple football can be.

And I recall that truth to relate it to the Dolphins current search for a head coach. The Dolphins really, truly need a simple search for a head coach. They need to hire the most accomplished, most respected, most experienced, hungriest, most formidable coach who can most quickly put together a staff of superstars that 10 years from now will look like a who's who in the NFL head coaching ranks.

The Dolphins need to hire Fisher.

The Dolphins need to deliver Fisher.


Anything else is settling for the next-best option.

Fisher is the best available coach on the current market. And so it makes sense he is expected to be the first coach the Dolphins interview outside of Todd Bowles, who will fulfill the team's Rooney Rule requirement.

Fisher has taken a team to the Super Bowl. He was widely respected enough to be named co-chairman of the NFL's pretigious Competition Committee. He represents rock-solid ability in a market that offers little certainty.

And that's the reason his name is also atop the list of candidates in Tampa, Jacksonville, St. Louis, Indianapolis and possibly San Diego if that team changes coaches. The St. Louis Post Dispatch today reported Fisher will also interview with the Rams this week.

Fisher is the proverbial fish with gold coin in its mouth. He is the prized catch this offseason. He is it and everyone else is the afterthought. That's why the Dolphins have to land him.

So why are we talking about Chicago special teams coordinator Dave Toub, who is reportedly already been given permission to interview with the Dolphins? Or Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine or Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Philbin? No disrespect to any of these men. They are all talented in their own ways. But they are all fallback positions and everyone knows it.

That's the truth.

So why is Fisher superior?

Which of the candidates has stood in front of a team at halftime at the Super Bowl and coaxed a comeback out of that team? Which one of these men has stood in front of a team and commanded respect based on his word and reputation? Which one of these men has called up a set of potential assistants and convinced them to come with him because they're pretty certain they're going to succeed?

Fisher has.

In future, any and all of the lesser lights of potential Miami coaches may grow to become stars. But Fisher is a star right now.

And, frankly, he is the surest thing the Dolphins can hope for.

I know, I know, you are looking at Fisher's record and see plenty of 8-8 seasons. Guess what? That's better than looking at a coach's resume and seeing no evidence he can even reach 8-8. Faith is great. I am a man of faith.

But when it comes to coaching, I prefer to live by sight rather than faith. Show me a guy who has succeeded and is still hungry and still relatively young and still wanting to win the big prize and I'll show you a better candidate than a guy who is coming up and promising big things with zero assurance of success.

The Dolphins have gone the latter route the past two coaches -- with Cam Cameron and Tony Sparano. Neither had any experience as an NFL coach. It didn't work out.

And now the Dolphins are thinking of returning to that very thing that failed?

Nope, sorry. That's not a plan for success. That's a plan for repeating the previous plan that failed. The Dolphins must land Fisher. The pressure is on.

Already, owner Stephen Ross went on a coaching search and didn't snatch Jim Harbaugh. The owner cannot afford to go on another search and fail at landing the biggest prize available.

It won't be easy. The Dolphins cannot offer a franchise quarterback on the roster. San Diego might. Indianapolis might. The Dolphins cannot offer the highest draft pick. Again, Indianapolis and St. Louis can do that.

But the Dolphins offer the keys to what they believe is an elite franchise. They offer tons of money. They offer a team that is a couple of players short of playoff-caliber.

That better be good enough. Because anything short of getting Jeff Fisher is picking the next best option for Miami.

Ireland statement: 'Search has begun'

Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland released a statement through the team relative to the kickoff the Dolphins search for a coach.

It reads:

"Steve Ross and I have a plan in place that is designated to insure that we identify and interview an outstanding set of candidtes for the head coaching position. The process will be thorough, it will be in compliance with NFL policies, and provide the best possible result for the franchise.

"That search has begun and there is no designated timetable; it will be conducted in a manner that give us the greatest opportunity to hire the individual we feel is best suited to become the team's head coach. Steve and I are excited to embark on this process, and we are confident that it will result in the selection of an outstanding individual who will return the Dolphins to their long-time status as one of the most successful team in the league."

The Dolphins did not make Todd Bowles available to the media today. They may get fined by the NFL for that but they did it, I'm told, to prevent putting Bowles in a tough situation of fielding questions he has no answers for.

The club also announced it will release the names of coaching candidates interviewed after the process is over as long as A. the candidate agrees. B. The team agrees.

Sounds redundant that Miami would have to agree to its own policy if the candidate already has agreed but, hey, it's the Dolphins. Don't ask me to explain their logic.

The Dolphins last announced names of coaching candidates just before Cam Cameron was hired. Once upon a time, they announced names of general managers interviewed and made them available to the media, going back to the Rick Spielman era.

Dolphins draft position is a coin toss which may lead to Flynn

I got an email from an NFL spokesman late Sunday night saying the NFL would release the 2012 draft order in the morning. Hate to do this, but to quote New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott, "Can't wait!"

I went and figured the thing out for myself.

For Dolphins fans worried about their team's draft position, here is the top 10:

1. Indianapolis    2-14.

2. St. Louis        2-14.

3. Minnesota     3-13.

4. Cleveland       4-12.

5. Tampa Bay      4-12.

6.  Washington    5-11.

7.  Jacksonville    5-11.

8.  Miami/Carolina 6-10

10. Buffalo            6-10.

The Dolphins and Panthers will have to toss a coin to determine which team goes first because they both have the same strength of schedule record of 129-127 or a .504 winning percentage. That coin toss will happen at the Indianapolis Combine in February.

The reason Cleveland picks ahead of Tampa Bay although both have identical records is the Browns had an easier strength of schedule tiebreaker. Same goes for Washington over Jacksonville.

When two teams are tied with identical records, the club with the lower strength of schedule mark goes first.

Despite all the buzz about where the Dolphins draft these last couple of months, the draft may turn out to be something of a downer if you're hoping for a franchise QB. Look at the order.

Indy wants a QB and will pick Andrew Luck barring extreme circumstances. Cleveland probably wants a QB at No. 4. And Washington wants a QB at No. 6. If the Dolphins are enamored with Robert Griffin III, they're going to have to give up a mint to trade to No. 2.

Just a guess here: I wouldn't bet on that happening.

Just another guess here: Matt Flynn will be on the Dolphins radar.

The Green Bay Packers backup, a former seventh-round pick, threw for 480 yards, six touchdowns and one interception in a 45-41 victory over Detroit on Sunday.

Matt Flynn will be a free agent in the offseason. Cha-Ching! He will be someone's starting quarterback in 2012 because that's what he wants. He'll leave Green Bay for the payday and the opportunity.

With a franchise QB probably beyond reach in the draft, Flynn now becomes a viable option. But remember, there will be competition for the kid. So don't go putting him in aqua and orange just yet.

Soon probably. But not yet.

OK, let's see ... draft status? Check. Quarterback possibility? Check. Ah, yes, coaching carousel. Got to mention that. My column in today's Miami Herald tells you what to expect.

Simply, the grand chase of a big-name star coach is almost dead on arrival. I write that sources are telling me Cowher and Gruden were contacted by the Dolphins but the answer Miami got was not in the affirmative as to interest.

That leaves Jeff FIsher. I tell you the teams Miami will have to wrestle to get Fisher and I don't see how that is going to happen, either, unless owner Stephen Ross is flying to Fisher's house right now to offer him $10 million per season.

Instead I give you a list of lesser-known candidates you should expect so please check out the column.

January 01, 2012

Jason Taylor cries at retirement (a lot)

He cried in thanking his wife. He cried in thanking his mom. He cried in talking about one of his sisters, and his brother. He also cried while talking about his brother-in-law Zach Thomas. Jason Taylor let the eyes leak plenty late Sunday afternoon at his retirement press conference.

I'm not making fun here. I don't mind sharing that it was emotional for everyone in the room.

Anyway, my words could never do justice to his words.

So let him tell you what he felt. Yes, this required I break up the video in two parts because JT talked for half an hour before he took his first question.

So here's Part I:


And here is Part II:

Dolphins win 19-17 to eliminate Jets from playoffs

The Colts lost today and will get Andrew Luck if they want him.

The Rams lost today and get the second pick in the April draft. That means a team that already has Sam Bradford will have the option of dealing Robert Griffin III if they wish.

And the Dolphins won, which simply means they eliminated the Jets from playoff contention but didn't really help themselves in draft positioning. Well, sometimes you just have to enjoy what happens before your eyes and that is that the Dolphins won to finish their season 6-10 and end the Jets' season at 8-8 and out of the postseason.

Jason Taylor ended his career today and it was a semi-eventful day. He caused a Mark Sanchez fumble. He seemingly scooped up another fumble and scored but the play was reviewed and overturned. It was fun to see the guy play like a youngster for one afternoon.

So what now?

As I reported earlier today, the Dolphins are scheduled to interview interim coach Todd Bowles on Monday for the open head coach job. As I also reported earlier today, the Dolphins are aware that neither Jon Gruden nor Bill Cowher are interested in their coaching vacancy and, frankly, might not be interested in any vacancy.

What matters is they're not coming to Miami, although I warn you, you may read in the coming days that Miami has reached out to them through official channels although they have already done so through back channels and been rebuffed.

That leaves Jeff Fisher as a possibility. That leaves Brian Billick as a possibility. And then comes the list of guys that may not necessarily impress much or sell tickets. (Sometimes, I warn you, those guys are the best choice.)

Dolphins trail Jets 10-6 to begin fourth quarter

If the Dolphins are going to ruin New York's season, it'll have to be in fourth quarter comeback fashion.

Neither team scored in the third quarter. Neither offense is looking very good right now. Neither quarterback is lighting things up. Neither running game.

Get the drift?

Let's see what happens in the fourth quarter. The live blog continues in the comments section. Go there now.

Jets lead Dolphins 10-6 going into the third quarter

At one point during the second quarter I tweeted how this game is rolling along ... like a root canal.

Dang this is terrible so far.

The Jets lead 10-6 as neither quarterback is playing very well. Matt Moore has trown two interceptions while Mark Sanchez threw one near the end of the half that the Dolphins turned into a 58-yard field goal by Dan Carpenter.

the live blog continues in the comments section. Assuming you can stand it.

Jets lead Dolphins 7-3 to start second quarter

The Dolphins are not doing their part to ruin the Jets' playoff chances.

They drove inside the New York 30 yard line on their first possesssion but settled for a field goal. The Jets have answered with a touchdown pass from Mark Sanchez to tight end Dustin Keller.

Touchdowns > Field goals.

So New York leads, 7-3. The live blog continues in the comments secton. Go there.

Live blog with coaching news starts here

I am reporting that the Dolphins will begin their coach interview process Monday, according to a source, when general manager Jeff Ireland, owner Stephen Ross and possibly others discuss the job opening with Todd Bowles.

I am also reporting that the team has already reached out in recent weeks to both Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden and have been told neither is interested in coaching the Dolphins. It is possible the Dolphins circle back around to one or both men thru official channels but the chances either will change his mind is small.

All this according to multiple league sources.

As for today, we've got a football game to play.

There is a live blog going on. It starts in the comments section. Go there now.

New Day, New Year, New season on horizon: Comings and goings

Happy New Year, everyone!

Today we celebrate the birth of 2012 ... and we witness the final day of the 2011 NFL season for the Miami Dolphins. Today we welcome the beginning of grand possibilities ... and say good-bye to all the possibilities that failed us last year. Today we say good-bye to the coaching staff ... and wait on the search for the next coaching staff starting tomorrow.

Today is about comings and goings on this blog and for the Dolphins.

It begins with the final game of the 2011 season -- a campaign punctuated by an 0-7 start that kicked the Dolphins out of the playoffs 10 weeks ago, the loss of the starting quarterback probably forever, and the firing of the head coach. Yeah, as eventful years go, 2011 is right up there for all the wrong reasons.

So today we say good-bye to a year whose best hope for delivering satisfaction is if Miami beats the New York Jets today and eliminates them from playoff contention. There will be a live blog of the game on this blog starting at kickoff so be sure to be here.

Today is also the last day the current coaching staff will be in Miami as currently constituted. Interim coach Todd Bowles will interview for the head coach job as early as Monday and that will officially kick off the search for Miami's 10th head coach, although back-channel communications with some candidates have already been made recently. (More on that later.)

My column in today's Miami Herald examines exactly how inviting the Dolphins head coaching job will be to elite candidates.

Owner Stephen Ross, a confident guy, believes the Miami job is elite. Of course he does. He's the owner and he's biased. I'm not biased. I give you the rundown on categories that make a job attractive or not to the best candidates. My opinion of how the Miami job compares to San Diego, Chicago, the Giants or other jobs that might come open?

Read the column.

Today will be the final day on their teams for several players on both the Dolphins and the Jets. NFL rosters turn over, people, and while the Jets are likely to have a typical turnover of about 15-20 percent of the roster this offseason, the Dolphins are bound for about a 25-35 percent turnover.

Today's about comings and goings, remember?

Jason Taylor is playing his final game today so he is departing. The Dolphins have a nice pre-game presentation set for Taylor. It includes a video and messages from various folks. The team is asking fans to be in their seats by 12:45 to witness the tribute to Taylor.

Think about this: Taylor is the last of Jimmy Johnson's draft picks still playing. Johnson hasn't coached a game since January of 2000. So the Dolphins doing their best as they are saying good-bye to JT.Jtgoodbye

And JT is saying good-bye to the fans. He purchased and had a billboard put up around I-95 and 171st street for all Dolphins fans, including those traveling to the game, to see today. The billboard, pictured above, basically says, "Thank You ..."

Nice move by Taylor.

Remember as all these comings and goings are happening, this blog remains. I'll be here today for the live blog. I'll be here for the reaction afterward. I'll give you all the latest information possible and will continue to try to do it as quickly as possible.

So while everyone else is coming and going, please stay here. I'll be here, too.