Before kicking off their exhaustive search for the Dolphins’ next coach, Mike Tannenbaum and his staff researched the past two decades of NFL hires to determine what approach has worked the best.
So he surely knows this:
It’s best not to dilly-dally.
There’s little evidence that much (if anything) is gained by a deliberate approach.
The dominoes began falling into place Wednesday, as news broke that New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton would be remaining with the team.
“This is where I plan on coaching,” Payton said. “I don’t envision myself coaching for any other club.”
With Payton spoken for, the rest of the pool of candidates could soon find homes.
That includes Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, who has an interview with the Dolphins on Sunday, NFL Network first reported.
Then there’s this:
Since 2012, coaches hired in the first week of a team’s search have had more success than those who took longer to land a job. They have won 53 percent of their games, and 60 percent went on to make the playoffs in their first two years.
Compare that to those hired two weeks out. They have had an ugly winning percentage of just .353, and more coaches from this group were fired before their second season than qualified for the postseason by Year 2.
Granted, this is a small sample size, but it also makes sense. The best coaches are the first to get hired. And if your franchise misses out on one of those, there’s a high likelihood that the new coach won’t be much better (if at all) than the last one.
Roughly half of the coaches hired since 2012 have already been fired, but none that accepted the job in the first week of a team’s search.
This all jibes with the word around Dolphins camp that Tannenbaum wants the process to be quick.
Of course, there are exceptions to all of these rules. Bruce Arians is one of the best coaches in the NFL, and the Cardinals had to wait 18 days to hire him because Arians was busy coaching the Colts in the playoffs.
But for every Arians, there are at least two Joe Philbins. The Dolphins got no reward for their patience the last time around.
That’s why the stakes are so high with candidates such as Adam Gase, who meets with Tannenbaum and owner Stephen Ross on Thursday.
Gase could have a job somewhere this week if he wants it. Chicago’s offensive coordinator is the hottest candidate of this year’s class.
And since the Dolphins have more than satisfied the Rooney Rule — on Wednesday they interviewed Bills assistant Anthony Lynn, who is black — they can make a hire whenever they want.
Gase, who has already met with the Eagles, is likely on the Dolphins’ short list. He is considered a quarterback fixer, getting the most out of Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning and Jay Cutler in recent years.
But if Gase doesn’t impress or prefers another job, the Dolphins have plenty of other options.
Mike Shanahan, the two-time Super Bowl champion coach, met with the Dolphins on Tuesday. Former Falcons coach Mike Smith and Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin have also interviewed. Dolphins interim coach Dan Campbell and former Bills coach Doug Marrone are scheduled to interview Friday.
And the Dolphins still could sit down with Patriots assistants Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia. Plus, there’s bound to still be a surprise or two.
If there is good news for the Dolphins, it’s this: Every possible replacement for Philbin is still on the board.
No one else has hired a new coach yet either.
So how long will the Dolphins’ search take? Recent history suggests at least another week. The average search in the past four years has lasted around 16 days.