Barry Jackson

Dolphins at great risk of losing Joseph; Stills prefers to return

Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph talks to the media at the Miami Dolphins training facility Aug. 15, 2016, in Davie, Fla.
Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph talks to the media at the Miami Dolphins training facility Aug. 15, 2016, in Davie, Fla. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

The Dolphins stand at risk of losing defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, who will interview on Tuesday with the Denver Broncos, one of five teams that have asked for permission to speak with him about their head coaching job, according to a league source.

According to The Sporting News, Joseph already has reached out to recently fired San Diego Chargers coach Mike McCoy about serving as his offensive coordinator if Joseph gets the Broncos job.

Dolphins linebackers coach Matt Burke would be among strong contenders to replace Joseph if Joseph gets a head-coaching job, according to a league source.

Linebacker Kiko Alonso said that if Joseph leaves for a head coaching job, “we would miss his mentality, bringing that energy every day. His competitiveness is unbelievable and rubs off on his players.”

Safety Michael Thomas said Joseph’s candor in discussing player performance – both publicly and privately – is “something we needed. It definitely helped change the culture.”

Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins running back, talks to the media about their loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL Wild-Card Playoffs and how he does not see the season as a success.

STILLS’ FUTURE

Receiver Kenny Stills, positioned to land a big free-agent contract as an unrestricted free agent after catching nine touchdowns, was asked Monday how much he wants to return next season.

“I am not going to say how much I want to come back here,” he said. “I mean I want to be back here, yes. I love this team. I love these guys. We did something really special. We are going to do whatever we can to try to make that happen.”

▪  Defensive end Andre Branch, another impending unrestricted free agent, said he wants to return. “I love this place,” he said. “They believe in me when not too many people did. [But] I don’t know what the future holds.”

▪  Two other unrestricted free agent starters, linebacker Jelani Jenkins and guard Jermon Bushrod, said they have been given no indication if the Dolphins want them back. Miami is expected to try to upgrade at both positions.

▪ Center Mike Pouncey, who was limited to five games because of hip injuries, said he will be healthy long before the start of next season.

“I feel great right now,” he said. “I know I’m healthy, I’ll be healthy in a minute or so. I’m ready for the offseason. I’m going to attack it just like I do any off season…. I ain’t retiring for 10 years.”

▪ For all the disappointment of Sunday’s loss, Alonso made this clear: “It was a good season. Winning 10 games is hard to do.”

▪ Ignominious Dolphins achievements: The Dolphins are the first team in history to lose four consecutive playoff games by at least 14 points each…. The Dolphins have been outscored 119-19 in their last three road playoff games…. The Steelers’ 219 yards in the first quarter were the most by any NFL playoff team in 25 years.

▪ Albert, who had a good year, had one of his worst games of the season on Sunday. According to Pro Football Focus’ grading of the game, Albert recorded a team-worst 31.4 grade and allowed a sack, two hits and two hurries, “while consistently being unable to stop [linebacker James] Harrison from turning the corner.”… Damien Williams allowed two sacks in pass protection.

Matt Moore, Miami Dolphins quarterback, expresses the importance of his teammates learning a lesson from their loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL Will-Card Playoffs at Heinz Field, January 8, 2017.

▪ The Dolphins on Sunday gave more snaps to backup defensive ends Terrence Fede (20) and Nick Williams (18) than to Mario Williams (5). Mario Williams is expected to be cut this offseason…Ndamukong Suh played 54 of 59 defensive snaps, with Cam Wake logging 38… Walt Aikens logged his first three defensive snaps of the entire season.

▪ With the New Orleans home game being shifted to London, the Dolphins’ 2017 home schedule will include New England, Buffalo, the Jets, Denver, Oakland, Tampa Bay and Tennessee.

The 2017 road schedule includes the three AFC East teams, plus Kansas City, San Diego, Atlanta, Carolina and Baltimore.

Incidentally, NFC teams that visit Miami in future years are Chicago and Detroit in 2018 and Philadelphia and Washington in 2019.

▪ Coach Adam Gase did not speak on Monday but will hold his season-ending news conference later this week.

▪ The NFL has initiated a review of the Dolphins' administration of the concussion protocol after the hard hit by the Steelers' Bud Dupree on Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore, who returned to the game after missing only one play. The NFL and NFLPA will conduct the review.

The Dolphins say Moore was evaluated and cleared by an unaffiliated neurological consultant and the team physician before re-entering the game.

Please see my other two posts from this morning with tons of offseason information. Click here for an in-depth look at the team’s cap situation and what draft picks are going and coming. And click here for a position by position look at where the roster stands.

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