And then there were two.
Ten days into the coaching carousel season, just two teams are without a coach:
And the Miami Dolphins.
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With a flurry of hires this week, the field has been narrowed.
Matt LaFleur to the Packers.
Bruce Arians to the Buccaneers.
Kliff Kingsbury to the Cardinals.
Freddie Kitchens to the Browns.
Vic Fangio to the Broncos.
And ... Adam Gase, Miami’s fired coach, to the Jets.
And just like that, the eight NFL coaching vacancies were down to two.
And the good news for the Dolphins:
All of the candidates they have interviewed remain available.
Of course, they cannot hire the four they have met with yet anyway. No one can. The Patriots’ Brian Flores, the Chiefs’ Eric Bieniemy, the Saints’ Dennis Allen, and the Cowboys’ Kris Richard all have playoff games this weekend.
They can only be hired when their seasons end.
(Dolphins special-teams coach Darren Rizzi, their fifth candidate, will get his meeting with Stephen Ross and Chris Grier on Friday.)
But by winnowing the field, the odds of the Dolphins landing their top candidate have never been higher.
The Browns and Packers had interest in Flores (who is believed to be near, if not at the top of the Dolphins’ list). The Buccaneers sat down with Bieniemy and Richard.
Now that those teams are out of the picture, the Dolphins only need to worry about the Bengals (who have Bieniemy on their list).
If Flores is truly their target, there is nothing stopping the Dolphins from offering him a job once New England’s season ends.
And the Bengals seem more intent on bringing in an offensive coach.
So the Dolphins could ultimately have their pick of Flores or Richard, widely believed to be the top two candidates, at least heading into Rizzi’s interview with the team.