“I’m excited that Mike Sherman and Kevin Coyle have decided to accept the positions of Offensive and Defensive Coordinator of the Miami Dolphins, respectively,” Philbin said. “They are exactly what I am looking for in terms of leadership, character, and teaching ability. They are both very passionate about the game of football and the players they coach, and that enthusiasm is evident in the meeting rooms and on the field. They are excellent family men and I’m thrilled they are joining the Dolphins’ football family. I can’t wait to get started to work with them.”
In addition to all of his years in the coaching profession, Sherman also served as Green Bay’s executive vice president and general manager from 2001-04. He actually was gave Philbin his first NFL coaching job with the Packers in 2003 as an assistant offensive line coach.
Under Sherman, the Packers offense set numerous team records, including producing at the time two of the four highest-scoring seasons in franchise history. In 2003, Green Bay totaled 442 points, which was just 14 points shy of the franchise record of 456 set in the team’s world championship season of 1996. Sherman’s team followed that up with a 424-point season in 2004, which was good for fourth-best all-time.
Sherman’s 2004 team set team records with 6,357 total net yards and 4,449 net passing yards. That year the team surrendered only 14 sacks in 598 attempts, another franchise record. The 2003 squad at the time ranked third in Packer history with 5,798 yards and set a franchise record for rushing yards with 2,558, thanks in large part to running back Ahman Green’s franchise-record 1,883 rushing yards. Green Bay also set a franchise record by averaging 5.05 yards per rush attempt that year.
As for Coyle, he comes to Miami after more than a decade with the Cincinnati Bengals, the last nine (2003-11) as their defensive backs coach. His first two were spent as the team’s cornerbacks coach after moving up the college ranks with seven different schools.
Coyle got his start as a graduate assistant at the University of Cincinnati from 1978-79 after one year as a high school football coach. He was a coaching assistant at Arkansas in 1980 and the defensive coordinator at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1981. He moved on to Holy Cross in 1982 as an assistant coach and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1986 where he stayed through 1990.
Syracuse University had him as its defensive coordinator from 1991-93 and then he held the same position at Maryland from 1994-96 and Fresno State from 1997-2000.
In 2011 the Bengals finished seventh in final NFL total defense rankings, which included a pass defense that finished ninth allowing just 211.6 passing yards per game. The defense led by Coyle’s secondary helped Cincinnati accomplish a feat not seen by Bengals fans in nearly 30 years, a defensive touchdown in three straight games, with each of the scores initiated through a turnover created by a member of the defensive backfield.
The year before was Coyle’s most challenging as five veteran defensive backs due for starting jobs or significant reserve roles wound up being placed on Injured Reserve. The five players, safety Chris Crocker, cornerback Adam Jones, safety Chinedum Ndukwe, cornerback Morgan Trent and safety Gibril Wilson, missed a combined total of 46 games. Three other members of the defensive backfield saw their seasons end prematurely by injuries or illness, bringing the total to eight.
Also hampered by injuries, though not placed on a reserve list, were starting cornerback Jonathan Joseph and starting strong safety Roy Williams. With spots open to fill, Coyle guided solid performances out of newcomers Reggie Nelson and Jonathan Wade, while continuing the development of second-year pro Rico Murray.
Now Philbin can move forward with the installation of an offensive system and a defensive system and filling out the rest of his coaching staff and General Manager Jeff Ireland and his scouting department can zero in their focus on the types of players Philbin, Sherman and Coyle like.