The Dolphins have hired former Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Brian Daboll for the same position in Miami, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.
Mortensen broke the news via twitter Monday afternoon, only to be contradicted by ESPN colleague Adam Schefter moments later, who said Daboll was to be the Dolphins' quarterbacks coach. Schefter retracted his own tweet a minute later, saying Daboll was indeed hired as offensive coordinator.
Other candidates known to have interviewed with the Dolphins include former Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress; Hartford Colonials (UFL) head coach Chris Palmer; Cowboys tight ends coach John Garrett—who will remain on his brother's staff in Dallas; and former San Diego Chargers tight ends coach Rob Chudzinski—who is expected to become Ron Rivera's new offensive coordinator in Carolina.
Daboll replaces 68-year-old Dan Hennning, who is retiring from the NFL after 31 seasons, including the last three as the Dolphins' offensive coordinator.
The Dolphins now have two vacancies on their current coaching staff, with quarterbacks coach David Lee gone to Ole Miss and strength and conditioning coach Evan Marcus having joined the University of Virginia.
One spot on the staff that won't need to be filled will be that of secondary coach, where Todd Bowles is expected to remain in Miami now that the Dallas Cowboys have hired Rob Ryan as their new defensive coordinator.
After playing safety at the University of Rochester, Daboll became a restricted earnings coach for William & Mary in 1997.
Daboll them served two seasons as a graduate assistant on Nick Saban's staff at Michigan Sate from 1998-1999 and subsequently joined Bill Belichick's staff in New England as a defensive assistant from 2000-2001. He earned his first Super Bowl ring with the Patriots' victory over the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.
In five seasons as the Patriots' wide receivers coach from 2002-2006, Daboll earned two more Super Bowl rings in wins over the Carolina Panthers (XXXVIII) and Philadelphia Eagles (XXXIX). Wide receiver Deion Branch earned the Super Bowl MVP award against the Eagles under Daboll's tutelage.
Daboll joined former Patriots' assistant's Eric Mangini's staff with the New York Jets in 2007, serving two seasons as the team's quarterbacks coach. He worked heavily with future Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington in 2007 and helped Brett Favre to his 10th career Pro Bowl selection in 2008.
When Mangini became head coach of the Cleveland Browns in 2009, Daboll followed him as offensive coordinator. Daboll's offense ranked 31st in scoring in 2010, although he is credited with quarterback Colt McCoy's progression as a rookie and helping running back Peyton Hillis gain 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.
My primary concern with Daboll is his lack of experience as an offensive coach. He played safety in college and began his pro coaching career as a defensive assistant last decade. In all, he has nine years as an NFL assistant on the offensive side of the ball, including just two as a play-caller.
On the positive side, he does come from the Nick Saban-Bill Belichick coaching tree, which of course has its roots in the Bill Parcells coaching tree. He should mesh better with head coach Tony Sparano than some of the other candidates considered.
You also can't really fault Daboll for Cleveland's offensive woes in 2010, as they went into the season without any kind of answer at quarterback and were severely limited in terms of talent at offensive skill positions.
At the very least, Daboll shouldn't have the blatant problems with senility that Grandpa Henning did and probably won't utilize drive-killing wildcat formations and play-action passes on 3rd-and-20.
It will also be interesting to see if Daboll's brief history with impending free agent Chad Pennington plays any kind of role in the veteran quarterback returning as either a player or assistant coach.
While Daboll isn't the sexiest name the Dolphins could have hired, he does have some highlights on his resume and should have a chance to succeed if the team can give him adequate personnel.
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Chris J. Nelson majored in journalism at Georgia State University and is currently a programming coordinator for Turner Sports in Atlanta. He operates his own Miami Dolphins website, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and he can be followed on Twitter here.
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