The Dolphins continue their search for a replacement for Adam Gase, but there is growing sentiment that their new head coach may already be in the building. And while it isn’t often that a special teams coordinator emerges as a possible head coach, there is some merit that Darren Rizzi is the right guy for the job.
Rizzi will apparently be interviewing this weekend or Monday with new head of football operations and GM Chris Grier about the vacancy. So it’s no secret that he is under consideration. How strongly? That’s another topic.
Rizzi has run the Dolphins special teams since 2011 and is highly thought of, as a coordinator. He also has a previous background not only as a collegiate special teams coach, but in two places, he was a college head coach. This included at his alma mater the University of Rhode Island in 2008
And, what cannot be disputed is: that past and current Dolphin players are backing Rizzi’s candidacy.
Here are two examples:
One is from Hall of Fame defensive lineman Jason Taylor who took to social media to let everyone know he backs Rizzi as the choice:
It’s about time someone recognizes how good Darren Rizzi is. Glad to see he’s getting a look. Played for him and have known him for years. Great coach, leader, pro and teacher. Demands accountability and respect https://t.co/97gL2AG4d3
— Jason Taylor (@JasonTaylor) January 3, 2019
And another one of Rizzi’s former players/punt returner, Jarvis Landry of the Browns also agrees:
Finally!!! 🤟🏾🤟🏾🤟🏾 https://t.co/AqfalSztDB
— Jarvis Juice Landry (@God_Son80) January 4, 2019
Now for the interesting comparisons to the Ravens, and their head coach John Harbaugh.
Even though Harbaugh’s father was a legendary college coach, and, his brother Jim was a very distinguished college and NFL quarterback, who later became a quality head coach, Harbaugh had never been a head coach before when the Ravens hired him in 2008. And the same knock existed then- that Harbaugh was simply the special teams coordinator for the Eagles.
Obviously, Harbaugh has demonstrated the skill set and ability to manage coaching staff and players. And, the Ravens won a Superbowl in 2012 and are back in the playoffs again this weekend.
So, that is a compelling example that you should not just disregard a candidate, because he’s not an offensive or defensive coordinator interviewing for the job.
There is no doubt that owner Stephen Ross wants to make a splash hire, but equally as important he wants to get back to winning games, as the Dolphins have only had two playoff appearances in the last 14 seasons.
And just like the Ravens took a gamble on the lesser-known of the Harbaugh brothers back a decade ago, it may be a smart move for the Dolphins to try the same thing with Rizzi.
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