As of Thursday afternoon, the Miami Dolphins have six head coaching candidates they are known to interview.
The post fell vacant on Monday morning, when the Dolphins made a surprise announcement Firing of former coach Brian Flores, Flores had completed back-to-back winning seasons after exceeding expectations in his first year at the helm at Miami, going 5–11 with a roster devoid of NFL-caliber talent. He went 24-25 in three seasons.
The six known targets are three offensive coordinators and three defensive coordinators. All three with a defensive background also have previous head coaching experience, and three of the six have made a back stop with the Dolphins, two as a coordinator.
Flores, which owner Steve Ross reported did not communicate effectively within the organization, has since Landing an Interview with the Chicago Bears for their coaching vacancy.
Here are the coaches in alphabetical order and important things to know about each candidate:
Brian Dabol, Bills Offensive Coordinator
Dabol is related to the Dolphins and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He was offensive coordinator at Miami in 2011, Tony Sparano’s final year at the helm. He played the same role as quarterback coach for the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2017, Tagovailoa’s freshman season, when he was backup for most of the year before relieving starter Jalen Hirts in the title game and returning for an overtime win against Georgia. . ,
In his current role with the Bills, he has been instrumental in the development of quarterback Josh Allen. Dabol got to Buffalo in 2018, when the team drafted Allen with the No. 7 pick. Under Dabol, Allen took a huge leap forward in his third season, the 2020 Pro Bowl, when Dabol also won the AP NFL Assistant Coach of the Year.
Dabol’s other coordinating stops are with the Kansas City Chiefs (2012) and the Cleveland Browns (2009–10). Like Flores, he is also a member of the Bill Belichick Coaching Tree. He made his NFL debut in 2000 as a defensive assistant with the New England Patriots. Between that experience and flipping over to wide receivers coach from 2002–06, he was part of the Patriots’ first run of three Super Bowls in four seasons under Belichick. He later returned as tight end coach to New England from 2013–16, winning two more Super Bowls to bring his total to five. The Bears have also asked to interview Dabol.
Leslie Frazier, Bills Defensive Coordinator
if the dolphins want to go Path to Hiring Someone with Previous NFL Head Coaching Experience, Frazier is an option. He is the latest to be reported as a Miami target for the vacancy. Wednesday night news,
Frazier, 62, was the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings from 2011 to 2013, holding a 21-33-1 record including the playoffs. He was Minnesota’s interim head coach to end the 2010 season and then retained the job full-time. Frazier was also the defensive coordinator with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014–15), Vikings (2007–10) and the Cincinnati Bengals (2003–04). He was Tony Dungy’s defensive back coach and assistant head coach at the 2006 Super Bowl-winning Indianapolis Colts, and also played supporting roles with the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens.
As a player, he also won a Super Bowl in 1985 with the Chicago Bears. The defensive back made 20 interceptions in his five-year playing career from 1981–85 that was cut short by a knee injury in that Super Bowl. Frazier’s defensive plans have dominated the Dolphins in recent meetings, with Tagovailoa posting some of his worst performances against Buffalo. The Byers also requested to interview Frasier.
Vance Joseph, Cardinals Defensive Coordinator
Joseph, 49, who was the Dolphins defensive coordinator in 2016, is another former head coach in the group. He was at the top for the Denver Broncos in 2017 and 2018 and had an 11-21 record.
His one season in Miami was the first of the Adam Gass era and the last time the Dolphins reached the playoffs. Joseph’s defense was crucial in the post-season race to Miami that year. This landed him a job in Denver, and after his brief stint with the Broncos, he moved back to Arizona, coaching defense.
Prior to his first NFL coordinating job with the Dolphins, he was the defensive back coach for the Cincinnati Bengals (2014–15), Houston Texans (2011–13) and the San Francisco 49ers (2006–10). Joseph played two NFL seasons as a defensive back (1995–96) after taking offense in college in Colorado. Dolphins are the only known interview requests for Joseph.
Mike McDaniel, 49ers offensive coordinator
McDaniel, 38, is one of two candidates under 40. He is a Yale grad who has a long relationship with San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan. McDaniel is completing his first season as the 49ers’ offensive coordinator — although Shanahan calls plays — after serving as the team’s run game coordinator since 2017, when Shanahan first got a job in San Francisco. The 49ers’ run game was the strength of their offense when they scored a run for the Super Bowl in 2019 and lost to the Kansas City Chiefs at Hard Rock Stadium.
This is the second straight season the Dolphins have chased McDaniel. He was interviewed for the inauguration as Miami’s offensive coordinator last January, which eventually passed to co-coordinators George Godse and Eric Studdsville after Chan Galley left.
McDaniel was also an offensive assistant with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015 and 2016, when Shanahan was there offensive coordinator, reaching a Super Bowl that was won by the Patriots. McDaniel was also under Shanahan during his tenure as offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns and Washington, taking on wide receivers coach and offensive support roles when he first arrived in the NFL in 2011.
Kellen Moore, Cowboys offensive coordinator
If there is one coach with whom Tagovailoa might most identify, it would be Moore, who before Tagovailoa was the last left-handed quarterback to start in the NFL. Moore, 33, was a backup as an undefeated quarterback with the Cowboys and Detroit Lions after a storied career at Boise State, where he went 50-3 from 2008 to 2011.
Soon after retiring from playing quarterback, Moore moved into coaching, first as a quarterback coach for the Cowboys. After one season in that role, he was promoted to offensive coordinator and play caller in 2019. Even when the Cowboys changed coaches from Jason Garrett to Mike McCarthy, McCarthy retained Moore.
The Dallas offense has risen to No. 1 in points and total yards this season. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has called him a “genius phenom”. Moore, who would become the NFL’s youngest active head coach, should he take on such a role, has also been requested by the Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos.
Dan Quinn, Cowboys Defensive Coordinator
The candidate with the most coaching experience and most success as head coach among interview requests is 51-year-old Quinn. He was at the helm for the Falcons from 2015 to 2020 and the leader of the franchise took a 28-3 lead. Super Bowl for the Patriots with Shanahan and McDaniel on staff. He has a 46–44 record including the playoffs as head coach.
Coordinating the Cowboys defense this season, Quinn was the defensive coordinator of the “Legion of Boom” Seattle Seahawks defense in 2013 and 2014, winning a Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos and losing to New England in the big game the following year. While there’s a lot to like about Quinn, he lost to the Patriots twice in the Super Bowl—in a historic fashion—the Dolphins fired just one coach, who had the Patriots’ tally, 4 against a division rival in three years. -2 ahead in Miami.
Quinn was also the defensive line coach, leading the Dolphins (2005–06) for two seasons under Nick Saban in Miami. Other past stops: University of Florida defensive coordinator (2011-12), Seahawks assistant head coach and defensive line coach (2009-10), Jets defensive line coach (2007-08) and 49ers defensive line coach (2003-04). The Bears and the Broncos are the others to take an interview with Quinn.