Now that the Miami Dolphins have announced the resignation of offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, the next step is finding a replacement to run the offense and work with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
There are four candidates who immediately come to mind: two current members of the Dolphins coaching staff and two former NFL head coaches let go during and after the 2020 season.
• Tight ends coach George Godsey: As it turned out, Godsey was more than tight ends coach in 2020 because he did a lot of work, including on game days, with Tagovailoa after quarterbacks coach Robby Brown missed some time because of COVID-19 issues. Head coach Brian Flores downplayed that aspect late in the season, but Godsey also offers previous offensive coordinator experience after handling that role for the Houston Texans in 2015-16. Godsey's offenses ranked 19th and 29th in total yards and 21st and 28th in scoring, but it should be pointed out his starting quarterbacks for those two seasons were Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden, T.J. Yates, Ryan Mallett, Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage — none of them with a career passer rating higher than 82.1.
• Running backs coach Eric Studesville: One of the rare assistants that Flores retained when he took over as head coach, Studesville does not have coordinator experience, but he did serve as interim head coach for the Denver Broncos for the final four games of the 2010 season after Josh McDaniels had been fired. Flores spoke highly of Studesville during a conference call with Denver media prior to the Dolphins game at Empower Field at Mile High in November. “Yeah, Eric’s phenomenal," Flores said. "I think he’s a phenomenal coach. He’s a phenomenal teacher, communicator. He’s someone I’ve leaned on in different situations over the last 18 months since I’ve been here. Obviously he was here before I was here and we kept him on the staff. Just as far as the lay of the land here in Miami, he’s been someone that I’ve been able to lean on. I think he’s a great coach. I think he’s got a coordinator and head-coaching future. I think the players gravitate to him. They listen. He’s a very, very good coach.”
• Former Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien: Flores has worked with O'Brien before when the two were assistant coaches with the Patriots. Before he became head coach with Houston and before that Penn State, O'Brien served as Patriots offensive coordinator in 2011. The Patriots finished second in the NFL in total yards and third in points that season on their way to the Super Bowl, though O'Brien did have the advantage of working with a quarterback by the name of Tom Brady.
• Former Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn: Flores and Lynn don't have a prior working relationship, but met a couple of years ago at a coaching symposium, where Lynn made a major impression on Flores. "I went to him when I was a position coach. I met him at a symposium a few years back and picked his brain on a few different things," Flores said in October. "He probably doesn’t remember that, but I have a lot of respect for him as a coach, as a man. I think he has leadership qualities that are out of this world. His teams are tough. They are physical. And there are a lot of things that I took from him that I try to bring here, that I try to implement here. A lot of respect for him." Lynn interestingly interviewed for the Dolphins head-coaching opening after the 2015 season before they hired Adam Gase. Lynn was assistant head coach/running backs coach for the Buffalo Bills in 2015-16 and became offensive coordinator early in the 2016 season. Buffalo was 10th in scoring and 16th in total yards that season, which he ended as interim head coach of the Bills. He served as head coach of the Chargers for four seasons, but was fired after a 7-9 finish in 2020. If the Dolphins were to hire Lynn, he would go from working with Justin Herbert to Tua Tagovailoa, two of the three quarterbacks selected among the top six picks in the 2020 NFL draft.