Joe Philbin's first task: Get Matt Flynn

January, 20, 2012
1/20/12
6:52
PM ET
Truth be told, I did not see much of a difference in the Miami Dolphins pursuing Joe Philbin and Mike McCoy. I've heard good things about both offensive coordinators, who did great jobs this season for their respective teams.

But there was one thing Philbin has over McCoy: He coached Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn, who arguably will be the NFL's most sought free agent. If Philbin can help the Dolphins land Flynn, Miami made the right choice with what was left in this year's thin crop of coaches.

The Dolphins know as much as anyone that first-time NFL head coaches are a roll of the dice. Sometimes you land John and Jim Harbaugh. Sometimes you get Tony Sparano. That is why the Dolphins first tried to hire a proven commodity with Jeff Fisher.

But Miami's turnaround is just as much about the quarterback as it is the next coach. You need both to be successful. McCoy worked with Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore in Carolina. Barring a significant trade up in the draft, McCoy and Moore most likely would have led the Dolphins in 2012.

In contrast, Philbin has the potential to make this hire a two-package deal from Wisconsin. Philbin and Flynn could be the exciting, fresh start the Dolphins need. Think Green Bay's high-powered offense meets South Beach. Sounds intriguing, right?

The Dolphins, known for their dysfunction, did their best with what was left on the market. They missed out on the home run (Fisher). But they still hit a double (Philbin) that potentially could be stretched to a triple if Miami's new coach uses his influence to snag Flynn in free agency. With Philbin now in Miami, you have to peg the Dolphins as one of the favorites in the Flynn sweepstakes.

Philbin and Flynn are not New England’s power pair of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. But it would be a good start back to respectability for the Dolphins.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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