Now that the Miami Dolphins are once again on the market for a new head coach after firing Brian Flores, who will the team target to take over in 2022?
Here are five possible candidates for the job and why they (and the Dolphins) might or might not be interested.
Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Wolverines head coach
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is a Michigan graduate, which could make Harbaugh an enticing proposition. Ross has tried to lure Harbaugh to the Dolphins before, so there is no reason to think he wouldn't try it again. For Harbaugh, he might be wise to leave Michigan while the getting out is good. Harbaugh had proven success in the NFL, leading the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl during the 2012 season.
Harbaugh could be the most overrated candidate to be repeatedly mentioned in the coaching carousel rumor mill. Aside from Michigan's playoff appearance this season, the Wolverines have largely underachieved through his first seven seasons at his alma mater. Ross has already said he is "not going to be the person who takes Jim Harbaugh away from Michigan." But words don't mean much when it comes to deciding a football coach (right, Nick Saban?).
Brian Daboll, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator
Under Daboll's tutelage, Bills quarterback Josh Allen has developed into one of the NFL's top passers. Miami would no doubt be interested in tapping Daboll to help 2020 first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa solidify the quarterback position. Daboll and Tagovailoa have some history. Daboll was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Alabama in 2017 when Tagovailoa was there. Daboll also has experience coaching in Miami, having spent the 2011 season as offensive coordinator under Tony Sparano. It probably helps that he's the first person the Dolphins requested to interview about the vacancy.
Would Miami take another chance on a first-year head coach? The last three hires (Flores, Adam Gase and Joe Philbin) had never been head coaches at any level before. In fact, the last time the Dolphins hired someone with previous NFL head coaching experience was Jimmy Johnson in 1996. The Dolphins may seek veteran leadership this time around. Daboll also hails from the Bill Belichick coaching tree, just as Flores did. How many times can the Dolphins draw from that well?
Doug Pederson, former Philadelphia Eagles head coach
Pederson has a winning pedigree, going 46-39-1 (including the playoffs) in five seasons and leading the Eagles to their first Super Bowl victory during the 2017 season. Pederson, who was a backup quarterback for the Dolphins from 1992-95, helped Carson Wentz set a franchise record for most touchdown passes in a season with 33 and then coached Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles through the playoffs, culminating with a 41-33 victory over Tom Brady and the Patriots.
He's been out of football for a year since being fired by the Eagles last January. Pederson is also a candidate for the open Jacksonville Jaguars job, so if he's looking to soak up some Florida sunshine, he'd have his choice of destinations.
Eric Bieniemy, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator
The former Heisman Trophy finalist helped the Chiefs win their first Super Bowl in South Florida to cap the 2019 season, so Ross got an up-close-and-personal look at the job Bieniemy has done grooming quarterback Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City. His name has been bandied about for years, yet he has remained with the Chiefs.
Like Daboll, Bieniemy has never been a head coach, although he's spent the past nine seasons learning on the job under Andy Reid. Bieniemy is also coveted by several other franchises, including the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings. As a former running back, Bieniemy may be more enamored by some of the other jobs up for grabs.
Dan Quinn, Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator
The Dolphins have requested to interview Quinn for the job. In his first season with the Cowboys, Dallas ranks seventh in the NFL in points allowed and is first in takeaways with 33. Quinn spent five full seasons as head coach in Atlanta, leading the Falcons to back-to-back playoff appearances and a trip to the Super Bowl.
Quinn was fired by the Falcons after a 0-5 start to the 2020 season. Ross and general manager Chris Grier may have a sour taste in their mouths after Miami's poor start to the 2021 season, which could be a deterrent to hiring Quinn. It also seems like offense has been a bigger concern for the Dolphins in recent years, which would make hiring a defensive-minded coach like Quinn counterintuitive.