The Miami Dolphins had a strong bounce-back season. They made noise throughout the league after finishing the 10-6 overall. However, after their turnaround season offensive coordinator Chan Gailey resigned after just one year and Miami is now on the hunt for a new OC.
The team is looking for a new OC that can build on the team’s growth and take them even further in its rebuild. After going 5-11 in 2019 and turning it around to the 2020 10-6 mark the Dolphins’ next sights are on competing with ball clubs such as the Buffalo Bills who finished three games above the .500 mark in the AFC East ahead of the Dolphins. Miami has interviewed candidates so far but the search for a new coordinator is still ongoing.
Dolphins Down to Five Candidates
The Dolphins have five candidates left on their list in the running for the position as of Wednesday, narrowing it down to Clemson University’s OC Tony Elliot, Los Angeles Chargers Quarterback Coach Pep Hamilton, San Francisco 49ers Running Game Coordinator Mike McDaniel and two in-house candidates, Running back Coach Eric Studesville and QB Coach George Godsey.
There are multiple reports that point to head coach Brian Flores and the Dolphins organization wanting to keep this hire in-house. With the candidates in the running, that makes sense.
Studesville was able to get a lot out of RB Myles Gaskin in 2020 out of nowhere. He has also been coaching for 24 years and could take the offense and incorporate more of a balanced run-pass system that could make them tough to go up against in the near future. Additionally, if he does that, it would enhance Miami’s chances in keeping RB Matt Breida whose specialty is a pass-catching back. Being able to build upon an offense with RB pieces already in place would also allow Miami to attack other positions in the 2021 NFL Draft instead of go after a back, as currently speculated.
Godsey on the other hand has already had the opportunity to work with QB Tua Tagovailoa. That relationship was able to develop in 2020 and potentially could increase even more whether or not Godsey moves into the bigger role or stays where he is with the team right now. Already having a hand in working with Tagovailoa is important as both Flores and General Manager Chris Grier have openly confirmed that Tagovailoa is the franchise QB moving forward. Likely avoiding the QB in the draft, the focus should hone in on wide receivers, and having a guy in place who has had a rapport with Tagovailoa would be able to help jump-start the multiple connections needed on the Dolphins’ growing offense.
Out of the Dolphins organization, Elliot expressed interest in staying at Clemson according to multiple sources, but also has been in talks with not just Miami but other college locations as well, like the University of Tennessee. Nothing has been finalized, but it looks as though Elliot would be the least likely of the five.
Hamilton has been called a QB developer. Last season he took rookie QB Justin Herbert and helped put together one of the best statistical rookie seasons in recent years. It has been reported that the Seattle Seahawks are also interested for various positions, as well as the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers for their open OC positions, so Miami will have to make an intriguing offer if it wants to land Hamilton who looks to be picking up a gig somewhere this offseason.
McDaniel on the other hand specializes in implementing a run game that has been found to be deceptive and create misdirection out on the field with his backs. If he came in he would be creative with Tagovailoa and perhaps have him work with play-action throws, but like Hamilton, there is also some strong interest from Seattle and others.
Flores Needs OC to Have Relationship with Tua Tagovailoa
Flores said in an interview with ESPN that he wants the new coordinator to establish a good relationship with Tagovailoa.
“I want them to build together,” Flores said. “Learn who he is as a person first and what he does well as a player. But I don’t want a coach who can only coach the QB — we’ve got to coach the whole offense, the line, backs, tight ends and receivers.”
It is easier to say that the Dolphins’ new OC would come from somebody that has already become familiar with the Dolphins’ schemes and can perhaps change it up or revitalize the offense so Miami can get into the playoffs next season. However, this position in South Beach has been a revolving door over Flores’ tenure and the Dolphins have to be looking for stability at this point as well.
Full Press Coverage will update this story as the OC search progresses.
Editor’s Note: Mike McDaniel does not have a player profile on profootballreference.com, the site FPC Dolphins uses to highlight NFL personnel. Additionally, college personnel do not have profiles either.