Jeff Fisher is not coming to Miami. By now, most of you know that, and many of you, judging by my Facebook and Twitter pages, are not happy.
I totally understand what you're feeling. It's frustrating to see a once proud Dolphins franchise continue to botch something as important as a coaching search. But, I'm here to give you a silver lining: this does not mean the Fins are doomed.
Yes, this is a dysfunctional franchise right now. Stephen Ross fired Tony Sparano with a month left in the season to get a jump start on all the other teams looking for coaches. Yet, here we are in mid-January, and the Dolphins are back to square one. So, I go back to the title of this post, what now for the Dolphins?
The simple answer is keep looking. Miami is in no rush to make a move. They hoped to get Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden or Jeff Fisher. None of them will be here. We can sit and complain about it until we're blue in the face or we can look forward. Ross still has a chance to find someone to turn this franchise around, but he can't botch this chance. I could use this blog to just rip on Ross, but quite frankly, haven't we all done that enough already?
The first step is to continue to look at the NFL assistants available. I'm a big fan of Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who the Dolphins already interviewed. Miami also spoke with Bears special teams coach Dave Toub and Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin. I would think Philbin is still a viable candidate, but he's unfortunately dealing with a family tragedy right now. His son was found dead after drowning in a icy lake. I'm sure it will take some time for Philbin to get refocused on football. If Philbin is someone the Fins like, Miami can wait.
Another interesting option could be Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. Miami fans will remember him as a former Hurricanes tight end. He also has become one of the top up-and-coming assistants in the NFL. For some reason, the Dolphins haven't reached out to Chud, while other teams have. I'm hoping the Fins give him a call and see what he could do. Meantime, current interim coach Todd Bowles is still an option, but that would seem like a fall back option at this point, as Ross knows he has a very frustrated fan base.
The next options may not excite Dol-Fans, but they need to be mentioned. Ross could look to the college ranks. Yes, I know the name Nick Saban is bringing back awful memories for fans, but give me a chance to explain. I know Saban failed while in Miami, and even worse, took the money and ran back to the colleges like a big liar. Still, that doesn't mean every college coach will now have the same result. Let's not forget Ross chased Jim Harbaugh last season before he eventually went to the 49ers. Look how that turned out.
Oregon head coach Chip Kelly is an interesting case. He's an offensive guru who is widely known as one of the most innovative offensive minds in the country. What is it that the Dolphins have lacked? The answer is offense. Ross would be wise to discuss the situation with Kelly, if he hasn't already. Again, I know fans may cringe at the notion, but Ross can't run and hide now that he didn't get his top choices.
The Miami Dolphins are a mess. Everyone in the NFL can see that. This is a monumental decision for Ross, and he can't afford to mess it up. I know most fans have lost faith, but I'm here to tell you to hold out some hope. That's about all you can have as a fan right now.