Monday, January 10, 2011

Dolphins' quarterbacks coach David Lee leaving for Ole Miss

In addition to a replacement for retiring offensive coordinator, the Miami Dolphins will also be in search of a new quarterback coach for 2011 after the news that David Lee will be heading to Ole Miss to serve as offensive coordinator.

Lee, who was hired by the Dolphins in 2008 upon the arrival of Tony Sparano, previously served under Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt as quarterbacks coach in Arkansas (2001-2002) and again as offensive coordinator in 2007.

It was during his second stint with the Razorbacks that Lee was credited with introducing what was then known as the "wild hog" offense with running back tandem Darren McFadden and Felix Jones.

The similar "wildcat" offense Lee helped Dan Henning bring to the Dolphins took the league by storm in 2008, beginning with a 38-13 route of the New England Patriots that saw Miami running back Ronnie Brown rush for four touchdowns and throw for another.

The wildcat has become decreasingly productive over the past two seasons, and Lee has shouldered part of the blame for the lack of progression by former second-round quarterback Chad Henne, who has been the primary starter since early 2009.

Some have also criticized Lee for failing to get something out of 2009 second-rounder Pat White, who was released prior to the 2010 season. However, I personally am of the opinion that White never should have been drafted that high and that he never possessed the potential to be a legitimate NFL quarterback.

As the Dolphins continue to search first and foremost for a new offensive coordinator, no potential candidates to replace Lee as quarterbacks coach are currently known.

Exactly what quarterbacks the yet-to-be-determined coach will work with is also not entirely known, as both Chad Pennington and Tyler Thigpen are slated for free agency this offseason.

Only third-year player Tom Brandstater and incumbent starter Chad Henne are under contract, though Henne is in the last year of his rookie deal and has many fans calling for his departure.

With head coach Tony Sparano nearly fired this offeason and potentially coaching for his job in 2011 despite two-year extension, the pressure will be on both Sparano and the new quarterbacks coach to get more production out of the position in a hurry.

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