Miami Dolphins fire head coach: Here are 8 candidates who could replace Brian Flores

Tom D'Angelo
Palm Beach Post

The Dolphins formula to end years of misery was to stockpile draft picks, draft a franchise quarterback and bring in the coach to put it all together.

Very little has gone right as Miami missed out on the playoffs for the fifth year in a row and 18th of the last 20. The first decision to move on was made Monday by owner Stephen Ross, who fired Brian Flores after three years on the job.

Flores, who previously spent 15 years in New England, had never been a head coach at any level before coming to Miami. He was 24-25 and finished fourth, second, third in the AFC East.

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The Dolphins will start their search for he replacement. Chances are Miami will look for a bright offensive mind to work with current quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, if Tagovailoa remains with the team. Here are some names to keep in mind:

Byron Leftwich: Offensive coordinator, Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich before a November game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Leftwich has worked as an OC/QB coach in each of his five years in the NFL, most recently meshing well with Tom Brady in Tampa. Brady led the league in yards, completions and TDs this year. And Leftwich, who played 10 years in the league, could help the underachieving Tagovailoa, if the second year QB returns.

Eric Bieniemy: Offensive coordinator, Chiefs

Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy

Bieniemy has had several interviews and is considered the hottest assistant in the NFL. He has been the Chiefs OC for the last four years, where he helped develop Patrick Mahomes and won a Super Bowl. His 21 years in football also included time as a running backs coach in college and the NFL. Mahomes has said of Bieniemy, 'He gives me every single tool' to succeed.

Bill O'Brien: Offensive coordinator, Alabama

Alabama Offensive Coordinator Bill O'Brien during warm ups before the 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal game at the 86th Cotton Bowl in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas Friday, Dec. 31, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

O'Brien had an important game Monday night with Alabama playing Georgia in the college football national title game. Now he is expected to interview for the Jacksonville head coaching opening with the Jags looking for someone to develop QB Trevor Lawrence. He was the Texans head coach for seven years, winning four AFC South titles. Which means he coached Deshaun Watson, the Texans QB who did not play this year because of legal issues but one the Dolphins have pursued in a possible trade and could continue that pursuit in the offseason.

Josh McDaniels: Offensive coordinator, Patriots

Jul 30, 2021; Foxborough, MA, United States;  New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels reacts during training camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

McDaniels has turned rookie Mac Jones into a potential franchise quarterback; what the Dolphins would like to see from Tua. This could be a long shot considering the Dolphins went this route with Flores, who was New England's top defensive assistant, and that didn't work out. McDaniels was fired from his only head coaching job, the Denver Broncos, after two years.

Kellen Moore: Offensive coordinator, Cowboys

Nov 7, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore on the sidelines in the second half against the Denver Broncos at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Moore is just 33. The Rams' Sean McVay is the youngest coaching in the NFL at 34. He became the Cowboys OC in 2019 and this year his offense is ranked No. 1 in the league. The Cowboys averaged a league-high 407.0 yards per game and were second in passing offense with 282.4 yards per game. Dak Prescott threw for 4,449 yards with 37 TDs and 10 interceptions. He completed 69 percent of his passes.

Brian Daboll: Offensive coordinator, Bills

Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll walks on the field before an NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Orchard Park, N.Y., Monday, Dec. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

Since 2002, Daboll has been an offensive assistant in the NFL and one year at Alabama. That also includes being the Dolphins offensive coordinator in 2011. He became the Bills' OC in 2018 and has been part of Josh Allen's growth. This year the Bills were ninth in the league averaging 381.9 yards per game.

Doug Pederson: Former Eagles head coach

Aug 30, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson reacts on the sideline during the second quarter against the New York Jets at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-381377 ORIG FILE ID: 20180830_gav_sq4_055.jpg

Pederson has an extensive offensive background as the Eagles QB coach and Chiefs OC before returning to the Eagles in 2016. He led Philadelphia to a Super Bowl title in 2017 and was fired after the team finished 4-11-1 in 2020. He is known for developing quarterbacks and like Bieniemy, he learned under Chiefs coach Andy Reid. Pederson was signed by the Dolphins as a rookie free agent in 1991 and was with the organization from 1992-94 and part of 1995, and was the QB who won game No. 325 for Don Shula, making him the NFL's winningest coach.  

Jim Caldwell: Former Colts, Lions head coach

Dec 24, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell stands on the sidelines against the Cincinnati Bengals in the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

At 66, Caldwell is the most experienced of the group. He was hired by Flores in 2019 as a Dolphins assistant head coach/QB coach but stepped away soon after because of health concerns. Reports said he was ready to return to coaching in 2020. He has served as a head coach for the Colts and Lions and at Wake Forest and has coached quarterbacks for several college and NFL teams. He has won Super Bowls as an assistant with Colts in 2006 and Ravens in 2012.

Miami Dolphins All-Time Head Coaches 

George Wilson, 1966-69 (15-39-2)

Don Shula, 1970-95 (274-147-2)

Jimmy Johnson, 1996-99 (38-31)

Dave Wannstedt, 2000-04 (43-33)

Nick Saban, 2005-06 (15-17)

Cam Cameron, 2007 (1-15)

Tony Sparano, 2008-11 (29-33)

Joe Philbin, 2012-15 (24-28)

Adam Gase, 2016-18 (23-25)

Brian Flores, 2019-21 (24-25)