As of Thursday afternoon, the Miami Dolphins have six head coach candidates they are known to be interviewing.
The position vacated on Monday morning when the Dolphins unexpectedly announced the dismissal of former coach Brian Flores. Flores has just completed several winning seasons after blowing his first year at the helm in Miami, going 5-11 with a lineup lacking NFL-caliber talent. He went 24-25 for three seasons.
The six known targets are three offensive coordinators and three defense coordinators. Three of the defensemen also have previous experience as head coaches, and three of the six have previously stayed at the Dolphins, two as a coordinator.
Flores, whose owner Steve Ross didn’t feel like communicating well enough within the organization, has since been reported to have been interviewed by the Chicago Bears for their coaching vacancy.
Here are the coaches in alphabetical order and key facts to know about each of the candidates:
Brian Daball, Bills offensive coordinator
Daboll has connections with the Dolphins and defender Tua Tagovailoa. He was the offensive coordinator in Miami in 2011, Tony Sparano’s final year at the helm. He held the same role alongside Alabama Crimson Tide quarterbacks coach in 2017, Tagovailoa’s first season, when he was a stand-in for most of the year before taking over from starter Jalen Hurts in the title game and leading a comeback against Georgia for an overtime win. .
In his current role with the Bills, he was instrumental in developing quarterback Josh Allen. Daball made it to Buffalo in 2018 when the team drafted Allen seventh overall. Under DaBall, Allen made a huge leap into the Pro Bowl in his third season in 2020, with DaBall also named AP NFL Assistant Coach of the Year.
Daball’s other coordinators are affiliated with the Kansas City Chiefs (2012) and the Cleveland Browns (2009-10). Like Flores, he is also a member of Bill Belichick’s coaching tree. He began his NFL career as a defensive assistant with the New England Patriots in 2000. Between that experience and moving to wide receiver coaching in 2002–06, he appeared in the Patriots’ first three Super Bowl draw in four seasons under Belichick. He later returned as New England tight end coach from 2013 to 2016, winning two more Super Bowls, bringing his total to five. The Bears also asked to be interviewed by Daball.
Leslie Frazier, Account Protection Coordinator
If the Dolphins want to go the route of hiring someone with previous NFL head coaching experience, Frazier is an option. He became the latest candidate for a job in Miami after the Wednesday evening news.
Frazier, 62, was the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings from 2011 to 2013, posting a 21-33-1 record including the playoffs. He was the interim head coach of Minnesota until the conclusion of the 2010 season, and then retained the job full-time. Frazier was also the defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014-15), Vikings (2007-10) and Cincinnati Bengals (2003-04). He was the defensive end coach and assistant head coach to Tony Dungey on the 2006 Super Bowl-winning Indianapolis Colts, and has also held assistantships with the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens.
As a player, he also won the Super Bowl with the 1985 Chicago Bears. The defenseman had 20 interceptions in his five-year playing career from 1981 to 1985, which was cut short by a knee injury sustained in that Super Bowl. Frazier’s defensive schemes have dominated the Dolphins in recent meetings, and Tagovailoa has had some of the worst games against Buffalo. The Bears also asked to be interviewed by Frazier.
Vance Joseph, Cardinals defensive coordinator
Joseph, 49, who was the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator in 2016, is another former head coach in the group. He was at the helm of the Denver Broncos in 2017 and 2018 and had an 11-21 record.
His only season in Miami was the first in the Adam Geise era and the last time the Dolphins made the playoffs. Joseph’s defense was critical to Miami’s playoff run that year. This got him a job in Denver, and after a short stint with the Broncos, he returned to coaching defense in Arizona.
Prior to his first job as an NFL coordinator with the Dolphins, he was the defensive end coach for the Cincinnati Bengals (2014–15), Houston Texans (2011–13), and San Francisco 49ers (2006–10). Joseph played two NFL seasons as a quarterback (1995-96) after playing offensive line in college in Colorado. Dolphins is the only known interview request for Joseph.
Mike McDaniel, 49ers offensive coordinator
McDaniel, 38, is one of two candidates under the age of 40. He is a Yale graduate who has a long association with San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan. McDaniel is wrapping up his first season as the 49ers’ offensive coordinator — although Shanahan names the game — after having been a tag team coordinator since 2017, when Shanahan first landed the job in San Francisco. The 49ers’ play was a strong point in their offense as they reached the Super Bowl in 2019 and lost to the Kansas City Chiefs at Hard Rock Stadium.
This is the second offseason in a row that the Dolphins have been chasing McDaniel. Last January, he gave a pre-opening interview as Miami’s offensive coordinator, which ultimately went to coordinators George Godsey and Eric Studesville after Chan Gailey left.
McDaniel was also an offensive assistant in 2015 and 2016 with the Atlanta Falcons when Shanahan was offensive coordinator there, and also won the Super Bowl, which was won by the Patriots. McDaniel has also been under Shanahan during his tenure as offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns and Washington, holding positions as receiving coach and offensive assistant since he first entered the NFL in 2011.
Kellen Moore, Cowboys offensive coordinator
If there is a coach Tagovailoa could identify with the most, it would be Moore, who was the last left-handed quarterback to start in the NFL before Tagovailoa. Moore, 33, was a stand-in as an undrafted quarterback with the Cowboys and Detroit Lions after a storied career at Boise State, where he went 50-3 from 2008 to 2011.
Shortly after retiring as a quarterback, Moore took up coaching, first as a quarterbacks coach with the Cowboys. After one season in this role, starting in 2019, he was promoted to offensive coordinator and game operator. Even when the Cowboys changed coach from Jason Garrett to Mike McCarthy, McCarthy kept Moore.
The Dallas offense has risen to number one in points and total yards this season. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott called him “a genius phenomenon.” Moore, who would have become the NFL’s youngest sitting head coach had he been given such a role during the offseason, has also been invited by the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Denver Broncos.
Dan Quinn, Cowboys defensive coordinator
Among those invited to the interview, the candidate with the most coaching experience and the most success as a head coach is 51-year-old Quinn. Super Bowl Patriots with Shanahan and McDaniel on staff. He has a record of 46-44, including playoffs, as head coach.
Coordinating the Cowboys’ defense this season, Quinn was the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks’ massive Legion of Boom defense in 2013 and 2014, winning one Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos and losing in the big game the following year to New England. While there is a lot to love about Quinn, he lost to the Patriots twice in Super Bowl—once in historic fashion—after the Dolphins had just fired a coach with a Patriots jersey after going 4-2 against a divisional opponent in three of the year. in Miami.
Quinn was also Miami’s defensive line coach for two seasons with Nick Saban, who led the Dolphins (2005-06). Other previous stops: University of Florida defensive coordinator (2011–2012), Seahawks assistant head coach and defensive line coach (2009–10), Jets defensive line coach (2007–08) and Photoniners defensive line coach (2003) –04). The Bears and the Broncos are the others who want to interview Quinn.