After a listless 1-3 start with seemingly nothing going right, the Miami Dolphins fired Joe Philbin and elevated tight ends coach Dan Campbell to interim head coach Monday. ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported Miami owner Stephen Ross was contemplating Philbin’s removal on Sunday night and the Florida Sun-Sentinel confirmed Campbell’s temporary promotion.
The Dolphins ended Philbin’s 52-game run at the helm that saw him go 24-28 over three-plus seasons, highlighted by consecutive 8-8 campaigns with no postseason appearances. His ouster comes on the heels of Miami’s 27-14 loss to the AFC East rival New York Jets in London that saw the Dolphins offense generate only 226 total yards and give up 425 yards.
Campbell, who spent 11 years in the NFL as a tight end with the Giants, Cowboys, Lions, and Saints, first joined the Dolphins in 2010 as a coaching intern when Tony Sparano was head coach, and was promoted to tight ends coach the following season.
Ross believed the signing of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to the tune of $114 million over six years would push the Dolphins over the top and snap their six-year playoff drought. However, the Dolphins are currently No. 30 in total defense, have surrendered 25.3 points per game and have forced only one sack through the first quarter of the season.
Miami also inked fourth-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill to a $77 million contract extension this summer, but he’s shown little improvement this season. In the last two games, Tannehill’s tossed four touchdowns to five interceptions, and completed 45 of his 93 pass attempts for passer ratings of 59.7 and 53.0. His offensive line hasn't played well either, with Tannehill's taking 10.0 sacks this season.
Campbell has leapfrogged defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, however, he’s never held a head coaching job at any level and its possible Miami looks elsewhere in the offseason.
As of now, the coaches Miami interviewed when it hired Philbin in 2012 are all unavailable. Several reports stated the Dolphins heavily pursued Jim Harbaugh before he rejoined the college ranks with alma mater Michigan, while former Broncos offensive coordinator turned Chargers head coach Mike McCoy and even former Miami interim head coach Todd Bowles, whose now gone 3-1 in his first four games as the Jets head coach, appear to have sturdy job security.
Bowles took over for Sparano after he was fired 13 games into the 2011 season, and posted a 2-1 record. The Dolphins would pick Philbin as their head coach, with Bowles moving on to Philadelphia and eventually Arizona as their defensive coordinator for two seasons.
However, there are a number of former head coaches and current coordinators who were up for jobs last year that could be on Miami’s radar in the future. Former Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith could be a candidate, as could Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, who coached Suh into an All-Pro in Detroit.
Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, former Buffalo Bills head coach and new Jaguars offensive line coach Doug Marrone, or even Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, were all linked to head coaching jobs in the last two years as well.