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AC In The AM: Spotlight Shifts To Finding Right Head Coach

Posted Jan 5, 2016

A slow offseason? Not for these Miami Dolphins. Their plate is already overflowing.

(Andy Cohen In the Morning – AC in the AM – will appear on Dolphins.com during the offseason as events warrant. You can also follow AC in the AM by Twitter at @acohenfins).

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An offseason of change has begun. Only one day after the season ended, the Dolphins promoted Chris Grier to General Manager and the search for a head coach gained steam. All the while, the players emptied their lockers, savored a season-ending victory over New England and, for many of them, headed into the unknown.

A slow offseason? Not for these Miami Dolphins. The plate is already overflowing and Mike Tannenbaum, the executive vice president of football operations, is clearly overseeing all the proceedings. He stood at a podium Monday afternoon in the team’s large meeting room and spoke candidly about the challenges ahead, none more important than finding the right man to lead this team.

“For us,” Tannenbaum said, “it’s about getting it right. We want to get the best coach we possibly can.”

I believe that Tannenbaum possesses the correct DNA to find that person. One of the things that impresses me about him is the relationships he has built all over the league. Not just people he knows, but people he knows who will tell him the truth.

I asked Tannenbaum Monday after his press conference if he has someone like that in every NFL city. He simply smiled and nodded.

Why is this relavent? Because this hasn’t always been the case here and because you need to seek out feedback from people in the know and people you trust as you intensify this search. That’s so important in making the right decision.

As for the hiring of Grier, he has been with the team since 2000 and has been the Director of College Scouting for nine years. He is a tireless worker and I’ve been told by many that his talent evaluation skills are outstanding. He has literally been raised on the personnel side of this business and he would have been a general manager this offseason somewhere in this league if hadn’t gotten this job.

Grier didn’t mince words in his opening press conference. “The past decade here has been unacceptable. I love this organization and I feel like I’m the right man for the job.”

He’s going to get plenty of chances to prove it.

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Meanwhile, with the victory over the Patriots still so fresh, several points deserve re-visiting:

• I’ve never seen the Dolphins stay with All-Planet tight end Rob Gronkowski the way they did on Sunday. He had two catches for 18 yards. Nothing he did came easily.

• The late-season emergence of rookie receiver DeVante Parker only adds enticing intrigue to the thought of Parker and Jarvis Landry starting together for years to come. The Dolphins haven’t had two young receivers together this talented since, well, The Marks Brothers.

• Ryan Tannenhill was the quarterback the Dolphins need him to be against the Patriots. Now he’s got an offseason to ponder how he can do that on a more regular basis. He had no less than five difficult throws in this game that had elite type of accuracy.

• The All Aqua jerseys really grow on you.

Matt Darr, by the way, has a chance to punt here for the next decade or so.

• The Dolphins were 8 of 17 on third downs. Much much better.

• Still far too many penalties, in this game 10 for 93 yards in losses. That was a recurring theme all season and it cost them at least a couple of games.

• It was great to see veteran Greg Jennings get significant playing time for the first time in a while against the Patriots. I know this season didn’t work out the way he had hoped, but my lasting impression of Jennings is a class act who should be a big-time success in his post-football career.

• The Dolphins defense had far and away its best game of the season on Sunday. Every part stood out. The rushing defense held the Patriots to 2.6 yards per carry, the pass defense held Tom Brady to an almost unheard of 134 yards through the air, mere mortal numbers, and the pass rush got to Brady twice and hit him hard at least a half dozen other times. Why now? Why not more often? We’ve got a few months to try to figure that out.

• Monday was Don Shula’s 86th birthday. Wishing you only the best, coach.

• Finally, I will continue to write columns on dolphins.com during the offseason, but only as things happen that justify my opinion or perspective. Got a feeling, though, you’re going to be hearing from me quite a bit. In the meantime, enjoy the New Year.

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(You can also follow AC in the AM by twitter @acohenfins.)

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by our columnists and bloggers represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

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