The Miami Dolphins finished the 2018 season 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the second year in a row and the ninth time in 10 seasons. The team made the somewhat surprising decision to fire third-year head coach Adam Gase on Monday after a 23-25 run with the Dolphins.
Now with the team looking to the future and the hope to get back into playoff contention, the Dolphins will certainly need to make a splash when it comes to the head coaching spot. The easy decision might be to just promote from within, but there are plenty of top possible candidates around the league.
The Dolphins made the playoffs as a 10-6 Wildcard team in 2016, Gase’s first year as coach, and last won the division in 2008. Let’s take a look at three head coaching candidates that could take the Miami Dolphins back into contention in the AFC.
3. Zac Taylor
The most popular decision for many teams when it comes to the head coaching vacancies will likely be to go after an offensive mind. After all, it has worked out very well for the Chicago Bears in Matt Nagy, likely the 2018 NFL Coach of the Year, Philadelphia Eagles, Super Bowl LII champion, and Los Angeles Rams.
Zac Taylor is the quarterbacks coach for the Los Angeles Rams and worked the 2018 season under Rams’ head coach Sean McVay. He is a young offensive mind that would certainly bring a dynamic look to the Miami Dolphins and many believe he is the next McVay, who is 24-8 in two seasons and brought the Rams to the brink of Super Bowl contention.
Taylor could certainly coach up the Dolphins’ quarterback, whether it’s Ryan Tannehill or a new face, and turn the offense into a powerhouse, something Gase was never able to do. He would also focus on bringing in new weapons on the offensive side of the ball and his hire might be enough to sway Le’Veon Bell to South Beach.
2. Kris Richard
If the Miami Dolphins don’t want to stick with offensive mind for their head guy, they could turn to Dallas Cowboy defensive coordinator Kris Richard. He was nearly stolen away from Dallas last year when he interviewed for the head job with the Indianapolis Colts, which eventually went to Frank Reich.
Richard has turned the Cowboys’ defense into one of the best units this year, as they are seventh in total defense and fifth in rushing defense. He would be able to take the Dolphins’ defense, which was already pretty good with Raekwon McMillan and Xavien Howard.
While the one defensive coordinator many teams have their eye on is Chicago’s Vic Fangio, he will be pretty tough to get with seven other coaching vacancies. The Dolphins might just be getting the diamond in the rough in Kris Richard.
1. Lincoln Riley
This might be a stretch, but Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley’s name has come up multiple times in the last few days, especially after the Sooners fell in the College Football Playoff. He has one of the most explosive offenses in the college ranks and he would certainly make a big impact in the NFL.
This would not be the first time the Miami Dolphins have gone after a big time college name. They hired Nick Saban in 2005, but his two seasons with the team were mediocre, going 9-7 and 6-10 before jetting to Tuscaloosa to become the greatest college football coach of all time. However, Riley should work out much better for the Dolphins.
His offense would be unlike one the NFL has ever seen and he already has a top class defense, something he doesn’t have in Norman. This would be a tough get for the Dolphins, but it would certainly be a big one.