Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dolphins complete coaching staff, announced four more assistants

New head coach Joe Philbin's staff is now complete, as the Dolphins announced a handful of additions Sunday. Among the new additions are Blue Adams as assistant defensive backs coach, Charlie Bullen as a defensive assistant, and Ben Johnson as an offensive assistant.

Other announced moves that I'd previously addressed include the addition of Chris Mosley as the assistant offensive line coach, and the retention of running backs coach Jeff Nixon. The final staff also confirms that pass rush coach Bryan Cox was not retained.

Interestingly, one title that was not handed out was quarterbacks coach, as it was revealed that new assistant head coach Zac Taylor will work with offensive coordinator and father-in-law Mike Sherman in tutoring that position. Previous quarterbacks coach Karl Dorrell was recently hired in the same capacity with the Houston Texans.

In all, Philbin's inaugural coaching staff (which you can see here) breaks down into a dozen new additions and eight retained from Tony Sparano's 2011 staff, although only two of those retentions—Nixon and tight ends coach Dan Campbell—is on the offensive side of the ball.

Blue Adams

A Miami, Fla. native, Adams played college football at the University of Cincinnati was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the seventh round of the 2003 NFL Draft. He later joined the Jacksonville Jaguars and played in eight games as a rookie, amassing four tackles in special teams.

After attending training camp with the Jaguars followed by a brief stint with the Chicago Bears prior to the 2004 season, Adams signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2005 and was an All-NFL Europe selection that offseason. He went on to appear in 29 games for the Buccaneers over the next two seasons, totaling 32 tackles and a forced fumble.

Adams signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2007 and appeared in 13 games, recording 15 tackles and his lone career sack while playing for then-defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle, who is the Dolphins' new defensive coordinator. He had a preseason stint with the Atlanta Falcons in 2008 and the CFL's Montreal Alouettes in 2009 before ending his playing career.

In 2010, Adams spent a season working with the secondary at Purdue under new Dolphins' defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo. Most recently, he was the secondary coach at Northern Iowa.

Charlie Bullen

A former quarterback at Harper College in Palatine, Ill., Bullen spent the past two seasons as a graduate assistant at the University of Iowa, working with the Hawkeyes' defense. Before that, he spent two years assistant new Dolphins' offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe, who was Iowa's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the time.

In addition to his experience with O'Keefe, Bullen was also an assistant under Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, who is a long-time friend of Joe Philbin and employed the Dolphins' new head coach as an offensive line coach from 1999 to 2002.

Ben Johnson

Johnson spent four years (2004-07) as a walk-on quarterback at the University of North Carolina, but he never attempted a pass during his collegiate career. After working as a software developer in 2008, Johnson was a video graduate assistant for the Boston College football team. He spent the past two seasons as an offensive graduate assistant.

I can't find any connections between Johnson and other members of the Dolphins' staff, as offensive line coach Jim Turner and assistant offensive line coach Chris Mosley were only at Boston College in 2007 before Johnson seemed to have arrived.


First off, I'd like to say that I like the Dolphins' decision to retain Nixon as the running backs coach. While he came in as a relatively inexperienced assistant coach, you certainly can't argue with the results he got from Reggie Bush in what was easily the former No. 2 overall pick's best season as a pro. Between Bush and the development of 2011 second-rounder Daniel Thomas, it's nice to have some continuity here.

I also like that the Dolphins have hired a number of young coaches to assist with some of the more experienced vets on the staff. The more sets of eyes on this team the better, and it's obvious that Joe Philbin believes strongly in developing coaches from a young age. Some of these assistants like Adams, Bullen and Jonson don't have a whole lot of experience and won't be asked to do much initially, but they obviously have potential that Philbin likes.

Finally, I wouldn't worry about the lack of an anointed "quarterbacks coach." Between Philbin, offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, assistant quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, and wide receivers coach Ken O'Keefe (who tutored quarterbacks for a decade at Iowa), the position is certainly going to receive the attention it deserves.

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