Ranking the Importance of Every New Hire for the Miami Dolphins This Offseason

Scott AltmanCorrespondent IFebruary 19, 2012

Ranking the Importance of Every New Hire for the Miami Dolphins This Offseason

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    Last week, the Miami Dolphins rounded out their new coaching staff. 

    Headlined by Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman, the 'Fins have assembled a staff loaded with highly-qualified coaches from both the collegiate and pro ranks. Philbin retained nine coaches from Tony Sparano's staff, but has brought in a gang of his own trusted assistants.

    Which hires will make the biggest impacts?

    Here's a look. 

No. 8: Ken O'Keefe, Wide Receivers Coach

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    After 12 seasons as the University of Iowa's offensive coordinator, Ken O'Keefe has decided to make the leap to the NFL. The Dolphins named him their wide receivers coach back on Feb. 4. 

    Even though Iowa didn't produce any notable NFL wideouts during O'Keefe's tenure, there's still reason to be excited about this hire. O'Keefe coached alongside Joe Philbin at Iowa from 1999 through 2002 and clearly left a great impression on Miami's new head coach. 

No. 7: George Edwards, Linebackers Coach

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    From 2005 through 2009, George Edwards was Miami's linebackers coach. 

    After a pair of one-year stints with the Buffalo Bills and the University of Florida, he's back in his old role.

    Edwards is tasked with coaching Karlos Dansby, Kevin Burnett and Koa Misi, amongst others. The Dolphins linebackers corps hit its stride toward the end of the last season, and Edwards must find a way to capitalize on that built up momentum. 

No. 6: Zac Taylor, 'Assistant' Quarterbacks Coach

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    Oddly, the Dolphins have decided not to hire a quarterbacks coach. Instead, they are going to rely on two coaches—Mike Sherman and his son-in-law, Zac Taylor—to tutor Miami's QBs.

    Check out what Sherman had to say about Taylor: 

    "He's extremely, extremely bright. I'd be very shocked in 10 years if he's not a head coach in the National Football League," Sherman said. "He knows the quarterback position. He knows offense. He knows the players. He's great on his feet. Very calm and poised. He's done all my signals from the sidelines since we don't have headsets in college football. He's very respected and liked. I see a bright future for him. He has a very good offensive mind."

    Looks like the Dolphins might have made a great hire. 

No. 5: Lou Anarumo, Defensive Backs Coach

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    Neither Vontae Davis nor Sean Smith have become the elite cornerbacks we all hoped they would be by now. On top of that, Miami's secondary ranked 25th in NFL last season. 

    The Dolphins believe Lou Anarumo can help turn the tide. 

    Anarumo and Joe Philbin coached together at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy for one season (1989) and Harvard for two seasons (1997-1998). Now, they are reunited on a team that needs a secondary overhaul. The Dolphins must add a free safety and at least one cornerback to help bolster this ailing unit. Hopefully, Anarumo can help integrate the new pieces in his first NFL coaching job. 

No. 4: Jim Turner, Offensive Line Coach

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    The entire right side of Miami's offensive line will undergo a facelift this offseason, and Jim Turner has been hired to aid the reconstruction. 

    Turner served as Mike Sherman's offensive line coach at Texas A&M from 2008 through last season, and he'll now coach the Dolphins offensive front.

    Under Turner's watch, the Aggies offensive line was dominant. Last season, they surrendered only eight sacks—fewest in the nation. Hopefully, Turner can replicate his success in Miami, where the offensive line has been a major liability for years. 

No. 3: Kevin Coyle, Defensive Coordinator

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    I doubt any Dolphins fan knew who Kevin Coyle was before the team named him defensive coordinator on Jan. 27. I know I didn't.

    But Coyle now has a golden opportunity to establish himself as a top-flight NFL coach. He inherits a Dolphins defense loaded with budding stars that could soon mature into an elite unit. 

    Coyle served as the Bengals defensive backs coach for the last nine years and did some outstanding work. He helped groom lockdown cornerbacks like Jonathan Joseph and Leon Hall, so let's hope he can replicate that magic with Vontae Davis and Sean Smith.

    Coyle coached alongside Mike Sherman at Holy Cross from 1985 through 1988. Their familiarity should help the coaching staff gel quickly. 

No. 2: Mike Sherman, Offensive Coordinator

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    The Dolphins hired a head coaching candidate as their offensive coordinator? Sounds like a dream come true. 

    Sherman, who was actually Joe Philbin's superior for three years in Green Bay, takes the reigns of an offense that's just a quarterback away from becoming potent. He is easily the most qualified member of the Dolphins staff, having served as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers and at Texas A&M. 

    Credentials aside, Sherman has been instrumental in luring some of these assistant coaches to Miami, which makes him an even more valuable hire.  

No. 1: Joe Philbin, Head Coach

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    Of course, Miami's new head coach has to be their most important hire.

    Philbin is about to inherit a team on the cusp of competing for a championship, but it'll be on his shoulders to propel it there.