For the past week, the Dolphins have been dating around.
Soon enough, it will be time to settle down.
The Dolphins’ coaching search is kicking into high gear, as three of the year’s strongest candidates will meet with the team’s executive committee over the next few days.
Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase, viewed highly by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, was the first to go. His interview with Ross and his team of advisers was Thursday at the team’s Davie headquarters and went well into the evening.
Up next: Former Bills coach Doug Marrone, who will make his pitch Friday. So will Dan Campbell, who will try to keep the job he held on an interim basis.
And on Sunday, the Dolphins will chat with Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, who is busy preparing for Cincinnati’s playoff game against the Pittsburgh.
So if all goes as planned, the Dolphins by Monday will have interviewed the four candidates many in and around the organization view as most likely to take over: Gase, Marrone, Jackson and Mike Shanahan.
That doesn’t mean one of them will absolutely land the job. But the odds favor one of them doing so.
The top candidates in this year’s game of musical chairs will soon start finding a seat, with the possible exception of legendary coach Tom Coughlin, who is open to coaching at age 70.
Coughlin and the Giants parted ways Monday, but if he has interviewed with any team since, that news hasn’t been made public.
And Lovie Smith might generate some interest after getting fired by the Buccaneers late Wednesday night. The Dolphins had requested an interview with Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, but most expect him to stay in Tampa Bay and replace Smith.
The Dolphins have also interviewed Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and Bills assistant Anthony Lynn.
But none has the buzz of Gase, who already has met with the Eagles and Browns.
Gase, 37, has been coaching since his days at Michigan State, where he worked for Nick Saban as an undergrad. He followed Saban to LSU before jumping to the NFL.
Gase is best known for the work he did with Tim Tebow and, to a lesser degree, Peyton Manning while an assistant with the Broncos. He was John Fox’s offensive coordinator in Denver in 2013 and 2014 then moved with Fox to Chicago last season, where he had the same role.
Mistake-prone Bears quarterback Jay Cutler had the most efficient season of his career under Gase’s tutelage. Cutler has made it clear he wants his guru to stay in the fold, but that doesn’t seem likely considering the amount of interest in his services league-wide this winter.
If the Dolphins hire Gase, he would be their eighth consecutive coach with no prior NFL head-coaching experience, including interims.
The previous seven had a combined record of 79-104.
▪ Mike Pouncey, who missed the last two games of the season with foot and ankle injuries, has pulled out of the Pro Bowl. Jets center Nick Mangold replaces him.
▪ The Dolphins have signed wide receiver Tyler Davis to a futures contract. Davis was the MVP of the German Football League in 2015, catching 94 passes for 1,733 yards on offense and intercepting six passes on defense. Davis played collegiately at Missouri Valley.