Dolphins OC candidates include Chargers' Pep Hamilton, Clemson's Tony Elliott
The Dolphins might be settled at quarterback. They’re still working toward that end at offensive coordinator.
Coaching turnover has already become a running theme during coach Brian Flores’ two-year tenure. In fact, the organization has had five OCs since Chris Grier became the general manager in 2016. The two are conducting a wide-ranging search for their next one, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday.
Their list of candidates includes: Clemson OC Tony Elliott, Chargers quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton, 49ers run game coordinator Mike McDaniel, Steelers QBs coach Matt Canada, and Dolphins QBs coach George Godsey and running backs coach Eric Studesville.
Hamilton is the lone member of the group to have been an NFL OC, serving in that role for the Colts from 2013-15. It’s a stretch that produced a pair of Pro Bowl selections for Andrew Luck and an AFC championship appearance. A year ago, Hamilton was the head coach of the XFL’s DC Defenders, before taking a job with the Chargers. His work with rookie phenom Justin Herbert could lead to interviews for other OC vacancies as well.
Elliott was Clemson’s co-offensive coordinator for five seasons before having the reins to himself this past season. The six-year run has encompassed sparkling QB play, first from Deshaun Watson and then Trevor Lawrence, who is a strong candidate to be selected No. 1 in the 2021 draft after announcing his intentions last week.
The Dolphins hold the No. 3 pick, leaving room for the possibility that they too could be looking at quarterbacks. Grier dismissed that notion a week ago, stating “Tua (Tagovailoa) is our starter.” Of course, that proclamation came on the same day Flores said he expected OC Chan Gailey to return — Gailey resigned the following day.
Gailey’s pairing with Tagovailoa generated mixed results. After being inserted into the starting lineup in Week 8, the rookie QB led a conservative attack that limited interceptions but didn’t often translate into touchdowns. While Miami won six of his nine starts, but Flores ended up benching Tagovailoa for Ryan Fitzpatrick on two occasions, both of which saw the offense come to life with the veteran’s insertion.
With Fitzpatrick unavailable for the regular-season finale, Tagovailoa was picked off three times in a blowout loss to the Bills that kept the Dolphins (10-6) out of the postseason. Miami finished the 2020 campaign with the league’s No. 15 scoring offense and No. 6 scoring defense — the latter figure was tops among non-playoff teams.
That’s why it will be crucial for the next OC to get more out of the quarterback position and the offense in general.
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