Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Bill Lazor named Dolphins offensive coordinator

In a surprising turn of events, Eagles quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor has agreed to become the new offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins, according to reports.

Lazor's most recent play-calling experience came at
the University of Virginia from 2010-12.
The news conflicts with Tuesday reports which had Lazor leaving the Eagles for Detroit, where he would become the Lions' offensive coordinator under new head coach Jim Caldwell. Combined with yesterday's news that Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo was the Giants, things were looking bleak for the Dolphins' coordinator job heading into Wednesday.

Although he has never been a play-caller at the NFL level, Lazor comes with a nice track record working under quality head coaches (Dan ReevesJoe GibbsMike HolmgrenChip Kelly) and is coming off a season of tutoring Pro Bowl quarterback Nick Foles. Lazor did serve as offensive coordinator at the college level with Buffalo (2000-01) and Virginia (2010-12).

While it's impossible to know what to expect from a first-time NFL play-caller, it seems likely the 41-year-old Lazor will bring the Dolphins' offense into the 21st century after a season under the brilliant Chip Kelly in Philadelphia. He certainly can't do much worse than departed Dolphins coordinator Mike Sherman, who led the Dolphins to a 27th-ranked offense in back-to-back seasons with some mind-numbing faults.

In Miami, Lazor inherits a third-year quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, who statistically improved in 2013 and certainly has the tools to get better. I worry about Tannehill's pocket awareness, deep ball accuracy and overall instincts at the position, but Lazor's presence may very well do Tannehill some good despite bringing the challenge of a new offense.

The Dolphins also have a solid running back in Lamar Miller, more than capable wideouts in Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline, and an emerging receiving tight end in Charles Clay. However, the problematic offensive line that allowed 58 sacks in 2013 remains a huge question mark, with only center Mike Pouncey a lock to return as starter.

In a curious move, Wednesday reports indicate head coach Joe Philbin has opted to keep his offensive position coaches under Lazor. One would have assumed quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor and offensive line coach Jim Turner, who have ties to Sherman from their time at Texas A&M, would have been shown the door if anything. However, it's possible the team might make such a move after the report on the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin scandal is released.

George Paton on radar for Dolphins' GM position

A Wednesday report indicates Vikings assistant general manager George Paton is expected to interview for the Dolphins' vacant GM position.

Paton began his NFL career working for the Chicago Bears, ascending to the role of assistant director of pro personnel in 2001. He worked with current Vikings and former Dolphins GM Rick Spielman in both Chicago and Miami.

A UCLA alum, Paton would join five of the other six Dolphins GM candidates in having no prior NFL GM experience. He did, however, interview with the Rams for their open GM spot in 2012.