The Miami Dolphins continue to do things that keep them stuck in their ways, and the surprising firing of Brian Flores as their now-former head coach is just another item on their list of remaining in mediocrity.

Having joined the Miami organization as their head coach back in 2019, Flores compiled a 24-25 record, including two consecutive seasons of nine or more victories. Flores helped lead the Dolphins to only their sixth double-digit win season in 2020 and the team’s first since 2016, so his firing certainly came as a shock.

Reports have surfaced and have begun to paint some sort of a picture as to why Flores is no longer in Miami anymore, citing reasons like broken relationships between Flores, management, ownership, and QB Tua Tagovailoa.

Regardless of what ended up being the ultimate reason why he was let go, the Dolphins now must make a fantastic hire in this year’s coaching cycle to try and make up for letting Flores go. Needing to keep pace in the ultra-competitive AFC East, these three candidates would offer them their best chance at remaining competitive.

Miami Dolphins head-coaching candidates to replace Brian Flores

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3. Josh McDaniels

Poaching a coach from a divisional rival is one thing, but if the Dolphins were able to take Josh McDaniels away from the New England Patriots, that would do a lot towards evening the playing field in the division.

There are plenty of red flags surrounding McDaniels, focused around when he spurned the Indianapolis Colts for their HC role back in 2018. But his offensive acumen, combined with his NFL experience and creativity, is exactly what the doctor ordered for this Dolphins team.

Remaining in the AFC East certainly would remove McDaniels from the good graces of Bill Belichick, potentially lessening the chance this happens, but the Dolphins need to grab a coach with an established track record, even if not as a head coach.

2. Doug Pederson

Taking the route that Mike McCarthy took last season, Doug Pederson sat out the ‘21 season in efforts to prepare for this year’s hiring cycle. Positioning himself as the most experienced option for teams to hire, Pederson’s championship pedigree is an appetizing quality that should attrack the Dolphins to him.

It is always a gamble to bring in an older-school coach that took time off, but McCarthy proved that route to be an effective one with the Cowboys this year, and Pederson can do the same if Miami chose him this year.

Bringing an amount of postseason experience and a winning pedigree to a team that desperately needs it, Miami could do much, much worse than hiring on Pederson.

1. Byron Leftwich

The final option on this list looks is the home-run option, as Byron Leftwich has made himself into more than a household name in coaching circles.

Being more than familiar with the state of Florida dating back to his playing days, Leftwich has been a strong figure on the sidelines for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, working directly with Tom Brady and helping keep him effective late in his career.

Leftwich would be a solid developmental coach to help Tagovailoa, Jaylen Waddle, and other members of the Miami offense, and if he could bring in his choice of defensive coordinators to lead a very strong unit, then this team could reach levels not consistently seen for over 20 years.