Written by Matthew Cannata at 8:00 AM EST | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
After Joe Philbin had fired then Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman in the offseason, he set out on a search to replace him. At the time, there were various rumors of who he might be targeting and names were popping up left and right. Philbin talked a little about the process and gave us a behind the scenes look into his thinking during that time.
“Before I ever placed a call to anybody, I wrote down on a piece of paper, took a pencil out, and wrote down 15 or 20 things that I was looking for in an offensive coordinator. I wanted somebody that had quarterback coaching experience. I wanted somebody that was an excellent communicator, somebody that communicate not only with the players, but with the staff, a guy that had leadership skill, a guy that had play calling experience at some level whether it be college or the National Football League. I wanted a team player, a guy that didn’t have a big ego. That was what I did before I ever picked up the phone."
Philbin ended up bringing in Bill Lazor, Ben McAdoo and Kyle Shannahan. Hours after McAdoo interviewed with the Dolphins, he accepted the job with the New York Giants. Then came the rumors that Lazor was headed to Detroit. However, in a last ditch effort, Philbin was able to secure the services of Lazor and Shannahan went to the Cleveland Browns.
"I think I brought in three different people. It was a gradual thing. I had Bill in for an interview, I don’t think I hired him for about six or seven days later. We talked through a lot of things. Obviously, I have an offensive background, so I wanted to make sure he was compatible with some of the things that I believed in. It wasn’t really about if Bill called it a nine-route and I called it a go-route, that to me wasn’t the issue. The issues were, does he believe in execution, does he believe in fundamentals, does he believe in teaching, those are things that I believed in. It was a gradual process. It wasn’t one thing I don’t think. We just talked throughout the process and at the end of the day he made a decision that he felt was best for him and his family. I didn’t even know about or wasn’t even concerned about anybody else he was talking to.”
It seems that there was good reason why Philbin wasn't concerned. According to Jim Caldwell, head coach of the Detroit Lions, there was never any real chance for him to sit down with Lazor because he was hired by the Dolphins before Caldwell officially took the Lions job. Caldwell and Lazor had only known each other through mutual acquaintances so it wasn't something that would've been able to be worked out behind closed doors.
"Obviously, there were a number of different people that, supposedly, we had talked to, and this was before I had the job," Caldwell said. "Things that we did subsequent to that, the guys that we interviewed were the guys — he was already gone to Miami at that time."
All that matters now is that Lazor is with the Dolphins and they now have the ninth highest scoring offense in the NFL. While he'll be able to get a glimpse of what he could've had in Detroit, his focus will be on the Dolphins and winning the football game, thus proving that he made the right choice.