Monday, January 20, 2014

Dolphins hire Mark Duffner to coach linebackers

Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin made his first addition to the position coaching ranks of his 2014 staff, hiring former Jaguars linebackers coach Mark Duffner for the same role in Miami.

Mark Duffner served as the Jaguars linebackers coach
for three different head coaches from 2006-13.
The 60-year-old Duffner replaces George Edwards, who was in his second stint with the Dolphins before becoming the Vikings' defensive coordinator under new head coach Mike Zimmer.

A William & Mary alum, the former collegiate defensive lineman began as a graduate assistant under Woody Hayes at Ohio State in 1975 before holding defensive coordinator roles at Cincinnati and Holy Cross. He was head coach at Holy Cross (1986-91) and Maryland (1992-96), compiling an overall record of 80-40-1.

Duffner's first NFL work came as the Bengals' linebackers coach in 1997 and he later added the title of defensive coordinator. He joined Mike Sherman's staff in Green Bay, serving as linebackers coach from 2003-05 when Joe Philbin was working with the Packers' offensive line and tight ends.

After leaving Green Bay, Duffner served as linebackers coach in Jacksonville under three different head coaches—Jack Del Rio, Mike Mularkey and current head coach Gus Bradley.

In Miami, Duffner will have his hands full two two massive free agent busts in middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler. Both have contracts that likely keep them in Miami through at least 2014, while there is little youth to speak at the position aside from 2013 fourth-rounder Jelani Jenkins.

Duffner becomes the second new assistant added by Philbin this offseason, joining offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. The team's general manager search is ongoing and reports indicate the pool may expand beyond the six already interviewed.