Greg Cote

Greg Cote: Let’s play name the new Miami Dolphins’ coach

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton watches his team during an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Tampa, Fla.
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton watches his team during an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Tampa, Fla. AP

Happy New Year! Time to symbolically turn the page and look ahead, a particular imperative for your Dolphins after yet another depressing season. Can’t put this team’s 2015 in the rear-view mirror fast enough.

So let’s play Name the Next Coach.

I first floated the idea of Sean Payton-to-Miami on Oct. 22, ahead of the curve, assuming the still-likely possibility Payton and the Saints would part ways. He continues, as a Super Bowl-winning coach, to be the should-be favorite for Miami, but there are two complications.

One is compensation. The other is Mike Tannenbaum.

Compensation is an issue that can be overcome. Just be prepared to give up a first-round draft pick. I believe I would. Tannebaum is a higher hurdle to jump. Payton reportedly would want the kind of control over personnel that Tannebaum currently has. I doubt Miami wants another organizational restructuring, so Payton might find better options (i.e. more power) elsewhere.

That means the Dolphins better have other options, too.

Forget the Jon Gruden/Bill Cowher axis. You’re as likely to haul Jimmy Johnson in off his fishing boat.

I’d forget coordinators lacking head-coach experience, too. Sorry, Adam Gase and Mike Shula. Miami needs to stop gambling on head coaches with training wheels.

Miami needs a proven, experienced winner.

Nick Saban The Sequel? Let’s stick with reality.

I’d very strongly consider Chip Kelly. I’d even give a look at Jim Mora.

If I were Stephen Ross I might even make another run at Jim Harbaugh. Hey, Steve’s a Michigan guy. Just give the school a $10 million sorry-I-stole-your-coach donation.

The added complication with any hire is that if the new man is good enough, he will have other options likely offering a better roster than Miami’s, and maybe a better QB than Ryan Tannehill.

The new coach needs to believe he can elevate Tannehill to the next level.

I think Payton could. Kelly, too. That makes those two the place where Miami’s next-coach search should logically begin.

▪ The playoff picture, quickly: AFC — Patriots, Bengals, Broncos and Chiefs are in. Jets and Texans control their fate and are in with a win. Steelers need a win and help. Colts need a win and a miracle. NFC — Panthers, Cardinals, Redskins, Packers, Vikings and Seahawks are in; no openings left. Only seeding remains to be determined.

▪ If Texans or Jets make playoffs, likely, this will be 26th season in a row at least four teams are in the postseason that were not the season before.

▪ Cardinals and Patriots are now Super Bowl co-favorites at 7-2 odds, via Bovada, followed by Panthers at 5-1 and Seahawks at 15-2.

▪ The 795 TD passes entering Week 17 are most ever by 27. Nine QBs have topped 30, tied for most in a season, with Lions’ Matthew Stafford and Jets’ Ryan Fitzpatrick both at 29.

▪ Chiefs are second team in NFL history with a nine-game winning streak and five-game losing streak in same season. The other: 1986 Jets.

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