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Friday, January 13, 2012
Now comes the hard part for Dolphins

By James Walker

There will be no sexy offseason coaching hire for the Miami Dolphins. That opportunity passed Miami by when veteran head coach Jeff Fisher chose the St. Louis Rams Friday over the Dolphins.

But this doesn't mean the Dolphins' coaching search has to be a total loss. It simply means Miami needs to work harder and smarter to find the right coach in 2012.

Jeff Fisher
The Dolphins missed out on the most experienced coaching candidate available when Jeff Fisher opted to go to St. Louis.
Targeting Fisher was easy. Anyone with some semblance of football knowledge could identify Fisher as the best and most experienced coaching candidate this offseason. But with Fisher out and time running short -- the Senior Bowl is in two weeks -- now we're going to find out how much football smarts owner Stephen Ross and general manager Jeff Ireland really have.

The Dolphins most likely will go with an NFL assistant coach. That person will be unproven and inexperienced, and this year it appears an even bigger roll of the dice than usual.

Dave Toub? Joe Philbin? Mike Zimmer? Todd Bowles?

Who knows?

These are all candidates the Dolphins are looking at for Plan B. Compared to Fisher, these were really Plans C or D for Miami. Some additional names may enter in the next week or two, but those candidates probably will be just as inexperienced.

Here is the rub: Dolphins fans will simply have to trust Ross and Ireland that their next coaching hire is the right choice. Miami could bring in the next John Harbaugh from the assistants ranks or another Tony Sparano. That is the position Miami is in.

There will be no quick fixes for the Dolphins. Fisher would've sold tickets and put butts back in the seats before the Dolphins ran their first play in 2012. Barring a miracle and some unforeseen change of heart from Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher, Miami's next head coach will not.

Miami's only easy out accepted a job in St. Louis Friday.

Now comes the hard part for the Dolphins.