The Miami Dolphins are moving forward in the search for their next head coach. The Miami Herald reported Tuesday that the team has narrowed down its list of candidates to three finalists: interim coach Todd Bowles, Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Philbin and Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.
McCoy interviewed with the team on Monday following the Broncos' elimination from the NFL playoffs over the weekend. The Packers were also eliminated last weekend, freeing up Philbin for a second interview conducted on Wednesday. Team owner Stephen Ross and general manager Jeff Ireland met with Philbin in Ross' offices in New York Wednesday morning.
McCoy and Bowles are also expected to meet with Ireland and Ross this week, and a decision from the team as to who to hire could come as soon as Friday, according to the Herald.
Bowles interviewed for the coaching job after the close of Miami's season. While he was originally seen as a courtesy interview meant to fulfill the NFL's Rooney Rule (which mandates teams interview at least one minority candidate for any coaching job), it appears he impressed the team with his performance over the final three games of the season.
The Dolphins won two of their final three games after Bowles took over for the deposed Tony Sparano, and he reportedly has considerable support from the Dolphins' locker room.
Chicago special teams coach Dave Toub and Cincinnati's defensive coordinator also interviewed for the head coaching job, but they apparently did not pass muster. Jeff Fisher had been the Dolphins' top choice, but he opted to sign a five-year deal to coach the St. Louis Rams.
Miami contacted the agent of University of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly last week, fueling speculation that the team might make a run for the architect of one of the most innovative offenses in college football. But that hope appears to be dead for now, barring any unforeseen surprises.
Also of note, the Dolphins have allowed defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to leave the team for the Atlanta Falcons, where he will assume the same role. Nolan was considered one of the top assistant coaches in the NFL prior to the 2011 season, but the performance of the Dolphins' defense since then has tempered that opinion.
The Dolphins finished the season squarely in the middle of the pack, allowing the 15th-most yards in the NFL. While the team had the third-best running defense in the league, opposing quarterbacks picked them apart. Their 3,992 passing yards allowed were the eighth most in the NFL.