In a surprising turn of events, the Miami Dolphins have filled their vacant quarterbacks coach spot in-house with wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell.
Dorrell will replace David Lee, who left the Dolphins earlier this month to become the offensive coordinator at Ole Miss.
According to multiple Dolphins' reporters from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., newly-hired offensive assistant Ike Hilliard will take over for Dorrell as the team's new wide receivers coach.
A former standout receiver at UCLA, Dorrell, 47, has never worked specifically with quarterbacks in 21 years of coaching between the college and pro levels. He has held wide receiver coaching gigs at the college level with Central Florida (1989), Colorado (1992-93), and Arizona State (1994), as well as in the NFL with the Denver Broncos from 2000-02 and the Dolphins since 2008.
Dorrell has also served as offensive coordinator for Northern Arizona (1990-91), Colorado (1995-98), and Washington (1999). He was head coach at his alma mater UCLA for five seasons from 2003-07, compiling a 35-27 record with one bowl victory in the 2005 Sun Bowl over Northwestern.
With the shifts, the Dolphins' currently have a complete coaching staff. However, that does not preclude them from hiring other general offensive or defensive "assistants" or coaching interns.
There is also the possibility the Dolphins' could soon be in need of a new secondary coach, as Todd Bowles reportedly "wowed" Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt in an interview for the team's defensive coordinator position.
Bowles made great strides with the Dolphins' young secondary in 2010 and has been interviewed for various head coaching and defensive coordinator positions in the past few years.
One potential replacement for Bowles could be Eric Mangini, who was new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll's head coach with the Jets and Browns.
I must admit this move confuses me. The way I think about the situation is this:
- The Dolphins need much better play from their quarterback, either via progression from Chad Henne or a totally new player
- The Dolphins hired a relatively inexperienced Brian Daboll as offensive coordinator, despite just two years as a play-caller and two as a quarterbacks coach
- The Dolphins moved a receivers coach to quarterbacks coach, despite the fact that he had plenty of play-calling experience but no quarterbacks coach experience
That all being the case, why not promote Dorrell to offensive coordinator (he certainly has more experience and has paid his dues more than Daboll) and have Daboll serve as quarterbacks coach, having both coaches work at positions they've already had before?
I could be wrong here, and it's not impossible that Dorrell could be a good quarterbacks coach after years as a receivers coach and coordinator. Maybe he could even provide some insight to Henne or whoever ends up quarterbacking the Dolphins because of how much he's worked with receivers.
On a team that has been so desperate to find a quarterback over the last decade and one that may be facing the reality that their hand-picked selection from 2008 may not be that guy, it seems a little risky for a head coach on the hot seat like Tony Sparano to have a guy that has never coached quarterbacks coach his quarterbacks.
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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.