Two weeks after the Miami Dolphins fired head coach Brian Flores, the search for his replacement continues to proceed as quietly as ever.
While the team has decided against announcing candidate interviews, beforehand or after they're completed, multiple reports indicate they've spoken to seven candidates.
Those seven should be well known by now, but for the record they are: Dallas DC Dan Quinn, Dallas OC Kellen Moore, Bills OC Brian Daboll, Bills DC Leslie Frazier, 49ers OC Mike McDaniel, Cardinals DC Vance Joseph and Rams RB/assistant head coach Thomas Brown.
Here's where things stand early Monday afternoon:
THE GIANTS OBSTACLE
The Dolphins obviously will have competition for some of those candidates, and the New York Giants is one team to watch here.
The Giants are set to begin second interviews this week, and those are expected to include both Daboll and Quinn. Daboll has a clear connection to the Giants after they hired Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen to become their GM.
As for Quinn, he's also believed to be one of the three finalists for the opening with the Denver Broncos, so it could be that the Dolphins' list of options (based on the identified candidates) could be down to five before too long. He's also scheduled to get a second interview with the Bears, per reports.
BACK TO THE DOLPHINS?
Daboll and Quinn, it should be mentioned, are among the three of the seven candidates who previously have coached with the Dolphins.
The other is Joseph, who was defensive coordinator under Adam Gase in 2016 before he became Broncos head coach and had an 11-21 record before being fired after two seasons.
That prior connection to the Dolphins could end up being a deciding factor in Joseph's favor, particularly when you remembers the words of owner Stephen Ross when he announced the firing of Flores and talked about wanting collaboration and communication in the organization.
With Quinn having been linked to the Denver job from the beginning and the Daboll/Giants connection, could it be that Joseph would become the favorite to land the Dolphins job because of his prior experience in Miami and his prior history as an NFL head coach?
THE HARBAUGH FACTOR
Through all of this, there has been no mention of the Dolphins interviewing University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, which certainly jibes with Ross saying in the Jan. 10 press conference he wasn't going to be the man to take Harbaugh away from Michigan.
Harbaugh is under contract at Michigan, but he's been linked to the Las Vegas opening with conflicting reports as to whether the Raiders truly want to go that route, while it's also been suggested that Harbaugh is using the threat of returning to the NFL to get a sweeter deal from Michigan.
Harbaugh has stayed silent on the topic, but the recent hiring of defensive line coach Mike Elston away from Notre Dame certainly would suggest he's staying at the school.
But there's been no public declaration from Harbaugh despite all the NFL speculation (the Bears also have been mentioned as a potential landing spot) So what if, as we've suggested before, Harbaugh at one point decides to publicly announce a return to the NFL? Ross already made a run at him in 2011 before Harbaugh instead decided to take the San Francisco 49ers job and at that point it wouldn't be Ross taking Harbaugh away from Michigan, it would be Harbaugh doing it himself.
It's a possibility that, however remote at this point, should not be completely dismissed.