The Miami Dolphins fired their head coach, offensive coordinator, and defensive coordinator during the course of an underwhelming 6-10 season. They wanted to send the clear message that this level of play was not acceptable for the Miami Dolphins, and they wanted to bring in new faces that would get them back to their winning ways.
The first step was hiring former Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase to take over as head coach to help Ryan Tannehill make it to the next stage in his career. Gase brought in Clyde Christensen, who spent the last 14 years in a number of offensive coaching jobs for the Indianapolis Colts, to be the next offensive coordinator. From there, Gase also hired former Cincinnati Bengals defensive backs coach Vance Joseph to take over as the defensive coordinator.
Gase was also tasked with filling the rest of the coaching staff, and this is where he made a very interesting choice. Nine of Gase’s 21 hires are coaches who served under Joe Philbin, including former defensive coordinator, now defensive backs coach, Lou Anarumo, and assistant coach/special teams coach Darren Rizzi. This is not normal in a new coaching hire, so it has brought up many questions from fans and the media alike.
For instance, folks are wondering if this move sends the message that ownership thinks this team is on the right path, but just needs better leaders. On the flip side, could this be a sign that the front office doesn’t trust the NFL’s youngest active head coach to build his own staff?
At the Senior Bowl, Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum discussed the coaching hires with the media for the first time. “The coaching staff in particular reports to Adam, and certainly Chris and I made some suggestions, but they [all] went through and were vetted through a pretty rigorous process. They wouldn’t be on our staff if Adam didn’t feel good about them,” he told the Miami Herald. He also said that keeping the coaches “was the right decision, not the easy one.”
General Manager Chris Grier added, “They’re good coaches and good people, and obviously Adam did his background on them and stuff and feels comfortable with them. It’s good to have a little bit of continuity. They’ll help them in the transition.”
There have been a lot of rumors flying around about Gase not having full hiring control of his coaching staff, but both his VP and GM were quick to dispel such reports. Perhaps we will never know how much of a hand Tannenbaum and Grier played in the hiring of Philbin’s former staff, but it is definitely out of the norm, and that has people talking.