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The Miami Dolphins sent shockwaves through the league on Monday morning as the team announced the dismissal of head coach Brian Flores. Flores finished with an overall record of 24-25 across the span of three years and no playoff appearances. He was reportedly let go due to a power struggle between him and general manager Chris Grier, who was retained. 

A statement released by team owner Stephen Ross explains:

“After evaluating where we are as an organization and what we need going forward to improve, I determined the key dynamics of our football organization weren’t functioning at a level I want it to be and felt that this decision was in the best interest of the Miami Dolphins”

The Dolphins will be looking for their third head coach in the span of a decade. Here are the top options.

6. Doug Pederson, former Eagles head coach

Pederson is one year out after being dismissed by the Philadelphia Eagles where he finished with a 46-39-1 career record and led the team to their first-ever SuperBowl win in 2017. Pederson, a former quarterback as well, has the offensive experience and would be beneficial to Tua. His scheme even had Carson Wentz playing at an MVP level in 2017.

5. Brian Daboll, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator

A good hire for the Dolphins would land on an offensive-sided coach. After all, that is what slows the team down. Brian Daboll would be an instant option. Daboll has been the man behind the Bills’ elite offense and has helped develop Josh Allen into one of the best quarterbacks in the league in recent years. He was also the former Dolphins offensive coordinator in 2011 and Tagovailoa’s offensive coordinator at Alabama back in 2017. 

4. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan head coach

Early reports tied Harbaugh to Miami but Ross, who is one of Michigan’s largest donors, said “I’m not going to be the person who takes Jim Harbaugh away from Michigan”. However, with Harbaugh’s future in Michigan reportedly unclear it would not be surprising if this heats up again later this offseason if Harbaugh does in fact want to make the move to the NFL once again. Keep in mind, Ross has already tried once, in 2011, to bring him down to Miami. 

3. Byron Leftwich, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator 

Leftwich already has experience in Florida as the Jaguars’ former first-round quarterback and the current OC for the Bucs. In his three years in Tampa, Leftwich has led a dangerous Buccaneers offense that led the league in passing yards and touchdowns this year, ranking as a top 10 total offense again in his three years. He would not have to move very far and would lead an offense with young stars including Tua Tagovailoa and Jaylen Waddle. 

2. Kellen Moore, Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator

Moore has led the Cowboys’ explosive offense under Dak Prescott and would be an immediate boost to Tua and the offense as a whole. The Cowboys have the best offense statistically leading the league in passing yards and total points. With an offensive-minded guy at the helm, Moore could help unleash the full potential of Tua and take advantage of the weapons the Dolphins have on offense like Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki. Yes, Moore is young but he knows the fundamentals of this game really well and would be a positive hire.

1. Mike McDaniel, San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator

At the top of my list is McDaniel. Graduating from Yale, McDaniel is a bright mind under Kyle Shannahan as his right-hand man. In his fifth season with the 49ers, he does not call the plays, but helps create the game plan and is in charge of the run game. The 49ers run game finished seventh in the league in rushing yards, overcoming injuries to multiple starters. McDaniel, like Moore, is relatively young but knows how to scheme and win games based on their rushing attack, another weakness for the Dolphins. 

As of Thursday afternoon, the Dolphins have already submitted requests to interview Daboll, McDaniel, and Moore among other requests. Shortly after Ross said the new head coach would make the decision on the team’s quarterback, reports early Saturday morning conclude that Grier wants to move forward with Tua as the starter. If true, hopefully the Dolphins hire a former offensive coordinator and attack their weaknesses on the offensive line early in free agency and invest in more playmakers. 


Photo: Wilfredo Lee/AP