The Dolphins’ coaching search shifted north Tuesday, as the team met with candidates Mike Shanahan and Teryl Austin in New York.
And up next: a meeting with Rex Ryan ally Anthony Lynn on Wednesday.
Shanahan, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Broncos, is by far the biggest name. His 170 regular-season wins are tied with Tom Coughlin — the longtime Giants coach who is also available — for 11th in NFL history.
But Shanahan, 63, has won just one playoff game since John Elway retired after the 1998 season, and the Redskins went 3-13 in his final season in Washington.
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The San Francisco 49ers have also expressed interest.
Austin, meanwhile, has never been a head coach on any level of organized football. He spent the past two seasons as the Lions’ defensive coordinator. Detroit ranked second in total yards in 2014, but dropped 18th in 2015. Losing Ndamukong Suh to the Dolphins surely hurt; now Miami owner Stephen Ross is at least considering reuniting Suh and Austin in 2016.
As for Lynn, he has closer ties to Shanahan than he does the Dolphins. He was a backup running back on the two Broncos’ two championship teams. Lynn got into coaching immediately after his playing career ended, and has had stops with six teams, most recently the Bills. Lynn followed Ryan from New York to Buffalo, serving as assistant head coach and running backs coach in 2015.
Both Lynn and Austin are African-American, so the Dolphins will have more than satisfied the Rooney Rule, and can hire a coach at any time.
But they are apparently going to let the process play out. The Dolphins have already met with former Falcons coach Mike Smith. And they have a sit-down with Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase set for Thursday, will meet with former Bills head coach Doug Marrone at some point and have requested interviews with Patriots coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia and Bengals play-caller Hue Jackson.
Plus Dan Campbell will at some point get a chance to make his case for keeping his job.
ODDS AND ENDS
▪ Left tackle Branden Albert had plenty of doubters after shredding his knee midway through the 2014 season. He believes he has since proven them all wrong.
“I was banged up and injured,” Albert said. “That's all I hear, that's all I hear, that's all I see what people write about Branden Albert. I finished. I finished stronger than I started. That was the whole point. I proved people wrong once again, and I'm going to keep proving people wrong. I do it for myself and this team, and me protecting Ryan Tannehill. You ask Ryan Tannehill if he don't trust me protecting his blind side.”
▪ Olivier Vernon and Derrick Shelby were the Dolphins’ starting defensive ends to finish the season. Both are pending free agents.
Shelby said Monday that he doesn’t expect to hear from the franchise about a contract before a new coach is in place. Vernon, a South Florida native, added: “I’d love to be here and play for my city, but at the same time it’s all totally up to the guys upstairs.”
▪ Lamar Miller, whose contract is also up, said Monday that his top priority when picking his next team is “fit” — more so than money or a chance to win. Miller averaged 4.5 yards per carry in 2015 (ranking 17th in the league), but had fewer than 200 carries for the third time in four seasons. He is disappointed that he fell short of 1,000 yards this season.