On Friday, the Green Bay Packers' offensive coordinator was named coach of the Miami Dolphins.
"We are thrilled to have Joe Philbin join the Miami Dolphins as our head coach," owner Stephen Ross said in a press release. "Joe has all the attributes that we were looking for when we started this process. Jeff Ireland and I felt Joe was the right choice to bring the Dolphins back to the success we enjoyed in the past. I know I join our fans in welcoming him as the newest member of the Dolphin family."
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Starter: Matt Moore. Backups: J.P. Losman, Pat Devlin. Injured reserve: Chad Henne. The skinny: Moore led the Dolphins to a 5-5 record when he replaced an injured Henne as the Dolphins starter. It's clear he's a superior option to Henne based on his 87.1 passer rating, which blows anything Henne's done the past three seasons away. Henne's a free agent and it's unlikely he'll be re-signed. At this point, Losman is a journeyman who has one foot out of the league, and Devlin's lack of arm strength likely means he's a practice squad option at best in 2012.
Philbin's departure leaves the Packers without an offensive coordinator. Quarterbacks coach Tom Clements is the presumed favorite to be promoted, but he interviewed on Thursday to be Tampa Bay's head coach.
The Dolphins' top choice, Jeff Fisher, turned them down a week ago to become coach of the St. Louis Rams. Ross and general manager Jeff Ireland then conducted a second round of interviews this week with Philbin, Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and Todd Bowles, the Dolphins' interim coach at the end of the season after Tony Sparano was fired.
The Dolphins are coming off a third consecutive losing season, their longest such stretch since the 1960s.
"I want to thank Steve Ross and Jeff Ireland for giving me the opportunity to become the head coach of one of the premier franchises in professional sports," said Philbin. "I also want to thank the Green Bay Packers for all the support the organization has given me during my time there. The Dolphins have a strong nucleus to build around, and working with everyone in the organization, I know that together we will return the team to its winning tradition. I have seen how much the fans in South Florida care about the Dolphins, and that passion is one reason why I'm really excited to be here. I'm looking forward to their support, and I can't wait to get started."
Philbin never has been a head coach at any level.
Philbin's 21-year-old son, Michael, recently died as his body was found in a Wisconsin river. The funeral was held Jan. 13.
Philbin, 50, first interviewed for the Dolphins' job two weeks ago. His hire will only fuel speculation that Miami will make a run at Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn in free agency.
While coach Mike McCarthy called the plays for the Packers, Philbin is a respected offensive mind credited with making strong halftime adjustments. He joined the Packers' staff in 2003 as an assistant offensive line coach after spending 19 years coaching at the college level. Green Bay promoted him to offensive coordinator in 2007.
"A huge congratulations to Joe Philbin," Green Bay tight end Jermichael Finley tweeted. "No one deserves it more than this guy. The Pack will miss him!"
Wide receiver Greg Jennings credited Philbin with running offensive meetings and pregame walk-throughs. He had the majority of the duties of top offensive coaches, including direct interaction and game-planning with quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The recent death of his son sent shockwaves through the Packers' organization last week. But Philbin returned to the team in time to coach from the press box during Sunday's loss to the Giants.
"He's a special, special human being," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday. "What Joe has gone through, and what his family has gone through, obviously tough is not the proper word. ... His ability to come back meant a lot to all of us. It was not expected, it was not asked of him. But Joe's a class act?. I think he would make an excellent head coach."
According to the NFL Network, Philbin is open to keeping Bowles and part of his defensive staff. However, Bowles has interviewed for the Raiders' head coaching vacancy, and could have other opportunities, as well.
Philbin will become the Dolphins' seventh head coach since the start of the 2004 season.
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