Thursday, January 13, 2011

Former Vikings' head coach Brad Childress to interview with Dolphins

The most high-profile name to date in the Miami Dolphins' search for a new offensive coordinator has emerged, as reports have former Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress slated to interview for the job Saturday.

Childress is the fifth known candidate to be considered for the job, following San Diego Chargers tight ends coach Rob Chudzinski, Hartford Colonials (UFL) head coach Chris Palmer, Dallas Cowboys tight ends coach John Garrett, and Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.

The 54-year-old Childress was hired as the Vikings' head coach in 2006, replacing Mike Tice. He guided the team to consecutive NFC North titles in 2008 and 2009, losing to the Eagles in the Wild Card Game the first year and losing to the Saints in the NFC Championship last season.

After a 3-7 start to the 2010 season, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf fired Childress and replaced him with defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who shed the interim tag earlier this month.

While Childress might simply have an insatiable itch to coach (he has coached at the college or pro level every year since 1978), one reason he might not be willing to work for the Dolphins or any other team this season is the money he's owed by the Vikings.

The Vikings must pay Childress $3 million for both the 2011 and 2012 seasons, and any pay he receives from a new job will be deducted from that total; thus, he'd essentially be working any other position for free.

Other concerns with the potential hiring of Childress are Sparano's unfamiliarity with him or his offense, and the fact that Childress has long been a proponent of the West Coast Offense.

Childress found great success with the WCO as a quarterbacks coach and then offensive coordinator under Philadelphia Eagles' head coach Andy Reid, helping quarterback Donovan McNabb to five Pro Bowl selections between 2000-2004.

The WCO, which calls for a short-horizontal passing game to set up the run, would almost certainly conflict with Sparano's run-first, power-blocking offense utilized through Henning for the past three seasons.

It's also unclear how such a change would affect current starting quarterback Chad Henne, although the Michigan alum did work in the WCO under former Wolverines quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler.

There is also no guarantee Henne starts for the Dolphins in 2011, though he would remain the favorite without a veteran free agent or trade acquisition.

Despite his two-year extension through 2013, Tony Sparano needs to win this season if he wants to keep his job beyond 2011. Such a situation would making hiring Childress a risky move.

While Childress has certainly been a productive offensive coordinator in the NFL and would be an upgrade over Henning's tired scheme, such a drastic change with a desperate Sparano on the hot seat may not be the best match.


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