While I may have just written a post regarding whether or not Joe Philbin will keep his job and the fact that we won't really know until the dust settles after the next two weeks, it's not too early to start identifying possible candidates for the next head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports that the inner circle for Stephen Ross includes Mike Tannebaum and Dan Marino. This is interesting because Tannebaum is an agent for several coaches in the NFL in addition to him working on analytics with the Dolphins. The NFL is all about connections and like any other job out there, it's who you know and not always what you know. That's why Dan Quinn, defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks and Hue Jackson, offensive line coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, are two possible candidates.
Quinn and Jackson are both represented by Tannebaum. Quinn, who was once on the Dolphins coaching staff, has no prior head coaching experience. The knock on him is that he is a product of Pete Carroll and the Seahawks defensive system rather than someone who has turned it into a successful unit.
Jackson is interesting because he is the former head coach of the Oakland Raider in 2011. That year, despite a limited roster and turmoil in the front office, he finished 8-8. However, he was fired after the season and has been working to revive his career.
While some people have been throwing Rex Ryan out there, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald is reporting that Ross isn't a big fan of his but would be a possible fallback option if his top choices don't take the job. That conflicts the report from a New York Jets beat reporter saying that Ross loved Ryan. However, it's hard not to trust Jackson on this one.
Jason Cole of Bleacher Report says that the top three candidates will be Jim Harbaugh, Dan Quinn and Pep Hamilton. We all know what Harabaugh brings to the table and he's been mentioned by every one who has a voice as someone who may be headed to Miami. Hamilton is scary because many believe that Andrew Luck makes him look good. Indeed, Hamilton was under lots of controversy early in the season for poor game-planning and schemes.
Other candidates that have been thrown out there include Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher. However, neither of them see interested in returning to the sidelines. As for college coaches, no one has been linked to the Dolphins but keep your eye on Gus Malzhan as someone who Ross may want to go after if he doesn't land Harbaugh.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs