Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Dolphins interview Eagles assistant Bill Lazor for OC position

The Miami Dolphins are currently without a general manager, but the search for Mike Sherman's replacement as offensive coordinator is already underway as the team is reportedly interviewing Eagles quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor for the position on Wednesday.

Lazor (center) with Eagles quarterbacks (left to right) Nick Foles,
Matt Barkley and Michael Vick in 2013.
A former college quarterback at Cornell (1991-93), Lazor spent seven seasons as an assistant at his alma matter before becoming the the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at the University of Buffalo in 2001.

He has spent much of the past decade in the NFL, serving as an offensive assistant in Atlanta (2002-03) and Washington (2004-05), as well as holding quarterbacks coach positions with the Redskins (2006-07), Seahawks (2008-09) and Eagles (2013-present). From 2010-12, Lazor served as OC/QB coach at the University of Virginia under Mike London.

Lazor is certainly a hot name right now given the immense success of Chip Kelly's offense in Philadelphia. Second-year quarterback Nick Foles emerged as a true star in 2013 after replacing an injured Michael Vick, going on to post one of the highest single-season passer ratings in NFL history.

While it's impossible to know just how much impact Lazor had on Foles' development given the offensive brilliance of Kelly, it's certainly fair to assume Lazor had some impact. The 41-year-old has an impressive résumé after working under Dan Reeves, Joe Gibbs, Mike Holmgren and with quarterbacks such as Foles, Vick (both in Atlanta and Philadelphia), Mark Brunell and Matt Hasselbeck.

Lazor certainly seems like a quality candidate to interview for the coordinator position, even if he never has held the title in the NFL. However, the larger issue with the interview already taking place is that it indicates head coach Joe Philbin is almost certainly safe in 2014 and that his presence is "part of the deal" when it comes to owner Stephen Ross searching for a new general manager.

I personally lost a lot of faith in Philbin after the Dolphins' late-season collapse and with Jeff Ireland gone I was hoping for a total overhaul in personnel. Forcing Philbin onto the next GM limits the candidate pool, potentially the more high-profile, experienced candidates.

It's possible the Dolphins plan to keep Philbin for only one more season barring a tremendous turnaround. Some have suggested the team could pursue Eagles exec Tom Gamble and then try and land 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh in 2015, but there are a lot of moving parts there and I'm not going to hold my breath.

For now, I'm concerned that Ross still simply "doesn't get it" and that he's continuing to try and mix and match pieces that don't fit. That's been a recipe for mediocrity in the past and if Ross isn't putting his best foot forward then the team doesn't stand much of a chance of turning things around.