Grier is still well respected throughout league circles so this should be perceived as a positive change, given the previous structure had three men with their hands in the football pot – Tannebaum (free agency/trades), Grier (draft) & Gase (53 man roster).
When the preverbal $h!t hits the fan, there was lots of finger pointing and blame being passed around. In 2019, the majority of credit and/or blame will simply fall on one man, Chris Grier. He will be tasked with two VERY IMPORTANT jobs, first is to find a Head Coach, and second is to find a QB. Let me break down the names of the candidates currently being linked to the Dolphins in order of my preference:
Eric Bieniemy (KC Offensive Coordinator, 49 years old) – Bieniemy was brought to KC as RB coach when Reid was hired in 2013. He was promoted to OC in 2018, leading KC to one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL. Yes, Andy Reid calls the plays. Yes, Patrick Mahomes is the QB. But the strongest trait coming out of the Bieniemy camp is his teaching skills, while holding players accountable, something the Dolphins have lacked since the Shula days. Also, the Andy Reid coaching tree has produced many solid coaches such as John Harbaugh, Doug Pederson, Ron Rivera, Sean McDermott & Matt Nagy. Three of these coaches have reached the SB (two winning).
Brian Flores (NE Defensive Coordinator, 37 years old) – Flores appears to be the hot name in the 2019 coaching circles. He has been with New England since 2004, holding various roles from scouting (2004 – 2007), to special teams and offensive roles (2008 – 2010), before settling in as defensive coach in 2011, and being elevated to Defensive coordinator in 2018. Flores’ well versed background has him positioned to be a strong HC wherever he may land. Not to mention, learning the Patriot way for the past 15 years is a plus.
Vic Fangio (Chicago Defensive Coordinator, 60 years old) – I am not as high on Vic Fangio as most. While there is no debating he is a defensive mastermind, unfortunately, that has been his entire existence since 1979. All he has ever done is coach defense, no head coaching experience whatsoever. While Bieniemy & Flores also don’t have any head coaching experience, they are 11 & 23 years younger respectively. Fangio has also recently come out and said he is not doing any prep work for his Monday interview because he is getting ready for a Sunday playoff game. While I am sure a 60 year old with almost 40 years of football experience could wing an interview, this reeks of the old “get off my lawn” grandpa mentality. Not my preference.
Darren Rizzi (Miami ST Coordinator/Asst HC, 48 years old) – Now this is an interesting candidate. The PR job his agent is doing is one for the ages. Getting players, both current and former to take to social media to publicly petition for Rizzi is an approach I have never seen. I mean, the guy has gotten Jarvis Landry & Jordan Phillips to go to Twitter to say the Dolphins should hire Rizzi (job well done). However, I do not believe the players should be running the show and Grier should select the most viable candidate, not the one the players like the most. I remember when Butch Davis left UM for the Browns, all the Hurricane players went to the Athletic Director petitioning for Larry Coker to take over. We all know how that turned out.
Kris Richard (Dallas DB Coach, 39 years old) – I want to like Richard a lot (I mean, the guy did play for the Dolphins in 2005). Richard was instrumental in helping to build the Legion of Boom in Seattle from 2010 – 2017, but was mysteriously fired as the Seahawks DC after the 2017 season. Pete Carroll has never fired a DC before, and he never even said why he fired him. Not sure why, but that concerns me a little.
Mike Munchak (Pittsburgh Oline Coach, 58 years old) – this is brief, no thanks. If I have to tell you why, well, sorry.
There have also been rumors of the Harbaugh brother floating around, but let me bless you with your wisdom for the day. Neither is happening, and you should be glad about that. As for Jim, it appears the game has passed him by a bit. He fled the coop in San Fran and has under produced in Michigan, to say the least. Mr. Ross may love Michigan as much, if not more than the Dolphins and he would not pouch from one team to the other. His brother John though, that’s a good coach. Good coaches come with hefty price tags, which is said to be TWO first round picks. While I like John Harbaugh, I am not trading two first round picks while we are “rebuilding.”
Now that we have analyzed Grier’s first task of landing the next Don Shula, lets see what he does to find the next Dan Marino. My thoughts on that are as follows:
If you haven’t picked it up by now, Ryan Tannehill AKA Pocket Presence Patty, will not be under center for your Miami Dolphins in 2019. Grier will try to trade him, but his salary may make that difficult, in which case he will be set free. I envision Grier will sign a Teddy Bridgewater or Nick Foles, or maybe even a Derrick Carr if he becomes available in an effort to become that bridge QB while we draft our “next Marino.” Given the lack of 2019 draftable QBs (and Dolphins drafting position) the more likely scenario is to draft your QB in 2020 when you may have a better draft position combined with more proven QBs (ex: Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Jake Fromm) to choose from.
My last two cents as we head into 2019. I suggest you pump the breaks on calling 2019 a “rebuilding” campaign. While changes will be made, I strongly believe most of these changes would have been made even if Gase/Tannebaum were still around. Hence, I prefer the “rebranding” approach. For example, the departure of Tannehill, Quinn, Parker & Branch just to name a few were already going out the door this offseason. That being said, I would agree you are looking at a “rebuild” if you see Grier move on from the younger players with value such as a Xavien Howard (potential contract holdout), Stills or Drake’s of the world in order to get picks for 2020 to make the move for your QB.
Like most years, this one is sure to be a roller coaster. Cheers to finding our next HC & QB, again!