It’s decision time for Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
After meeting a second time with the three finalists, Ross’ selection of the team’s next head coach is considered imminent.
Ross and general manager Jeff Ireland met for several hours with Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Thursday in New York, after interviewing Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin and Dolphins interim coach Todd Bowles a day earlier.
None of the candidates had been informed of a decision as of Thursday evening.
McCoy entered Thursday with the belief that he was the front-runner, to the point that he removed his name from consideration for the Oakland Raiders head coaching job, according to a source. McCoy has met with the Dolphins twice this week.
Conversely, Philbin went ahead with his Thursday interview for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coaching job.
But there were indications Thursday that it remained a tight race between the two offensive coordinators, with Bowles a fallback option if Ross cannot decide between Philbin and McCoy.
The Dolphins were impressed by McCoy, and he reportedly has the support of Ireland, whose opinions carry significant weight with Ross.
But Ross also thinks very highly of Philbin, according to associates.
Bowles made the list of finalists partly because his presentation to Ross, Ireland and consultant Carl Peterson was impressive, according to someone briefed on the search.
Tale of the tape
So how do Philbin and McCoy compare?
• Philbin, 50, has more experience overall — 28 years in coaching, compared with 12 for the 39-year-old McCoy. But McCoy has more NFL coaching experience: 12 years (with Carolina and Denver), compared with nine for Philbin (all with Green Bay).
• Philbin has been an NFL offensive coordinator for five years — compared with three for McCoy. And Philbin’s offenses clearly have outperformed McCoy’s statistically, particularly this season, when Green Bay was third in offense and Denver was 23rd. But Philbin’s offenses have had more talent than McCoy’s, especially at quarterback.
• McCoy has more experience as an NFL play-caller (20 full games). In Green Bay, coach Mike McCarthy — not Philbin — calls the plays. But Philbin called plays as an offensive coordinator in three college jobs (Harvard, Northeastern, Allegheny College) and has put together Green Bay’s game plans the past five years. McCoy has no college coaching experience.
• Though Philbin assuredly has had a role in the development of Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn, he has never been a quarterbacks coach. McCoy has been a quarterbacks coach for eight years (including seven in Carolina), according to the Broncos’ website.
• McCoy played in NFL Europe and the Canadian Football League, and also spent time in training camp or on the practice squad of the Broncos, Packers and Eagles, and as a backup with the 49ers, before beginning his coaching career with Carolina in 2000. Philbin did not play professionally.
After losing out on Jeff Fisher, who accepted the St. Louis Rams head coaching job, Ross — who originally leaned toward hiring an experienced candidate — decided instead to hire someone young and hungry and with something to prove. Ireland also steered Ross toward assistant coaches who would work well within an organizational structure.
Hard to figure out
No generalizations can be made about the recent plight of first-time head coaches who were promoted from the assistant ranks. Some work out; some don’t.
Several have been highly successful in the past five years, including Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin (55-25), Baltimore’s John Harbaugh (44-20) and New Orleans’ Sean Peyton (62-34).
But of the 12 former assistants who were hired for their first NFL head coaching job since 2009, only four have winning records: Rex Ryan (28-20), Jim Caldwell (26-22), Mike Munchak (9-7) and Jason Garrett (13-11). And Caldwell was fired this week, after the Colts fell to 2-14 without injured Peyton Manning this season.
The combined record of those 12 coaches: 164-231. That group includes several who were highly regarded as coordinators, such as Minnesota’s Lesley Frazier (6-16), Todd Haley (fired by the Chiefs after going 19-26) and Steve Spagnuolo (dumped by the Rams after going 10-38, and agreeing to become the New Orleans Saints’ defensive coordinator Thursday). The caveat is that most of those 12 coaches inherited teams that needed serious roster upgrades.
Source: Miami Herald