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Dave Hyde: It’s time for Steve Ross and Jim Harbaugh to decide if coaching the Dolphins is right for them

Dave Hyde: It'S Time For Steve Ross And Jim Harbaugh To Decide If Coaching The Dolphins Is Right For Them

I’m not saying that Jim Harbaugh is the greatest and most important football coach on the market. It’s not clear if it’s big, necessary, or even on the market.

I’m just saying that if University of Michigan owner Steve Ross won’t let Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross hire Harbaugh out of some sort of high school loyalty, it won’t be fair to his professional team. And his players. And his fans.

Ross said three weeks ago as owner of the Dolphins, “I’m not going to be the man to take Jim Harbaugh out of Michigan.”

But what if Harbaugh leaves Michigan? The Minnesota Vikings interviewed Harbaugh on Saturday night, according to Pro Football Talk. Maybe this is the discovery Ross has been waiting for.

Harbaugh could have cleared up the absurd search for a Dolphins coach. slow cooking process? Lose one candidate in Brian Daball to the New York Giants, perhaps because they were waiting?

The dots connect in this process if Ross and Harbaugh connect. Let’s see. Rumors swirled among some NFL officials last week that Harbaugh was going to wait until after National Signing Day on Wednesday before exploring NFL options. It’s all about the kids, right?

If the finalists for the Dolphins are Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel, and Harbaugh, then there’s no question who has the best portfolio in the NFL. Moore did not coordinate a playoff victory. McDaniel’s good offensive work lies in the offense of coach Kyle Shanahan. How important is it?

Harbaugh did more by leading San Francisco to the Super Bowl in 2013. But he also coached for 10 mostly mediocre years at Michigan. So it’s up to the Dolphins’ brain trust – Ross, general manager Chris Grier and team president Tom Garfinkel – to decide who performs best.

They interview these guys. They see their plans and headquarters. Their job—and in Grier’s case, their entire career—is about making the right decisions.

There is another side to this: a year ago, Harbow had a pay cut in Michigan. After reaching the playoffs of the national championship this year, does he want a refund? Is that why his name pops up there?

Harbaugh is also known for not getting along with everyone. This is part of the package. At one point, San Francisco chose general manager Trent Baalke to replace him. This should be a theme for the Dolphins, given that Brian Flores was fired for not getting along with team officials.

If Moore or McDaniel comes along, the coach will not be a traditional NFL head coach with full say and power over everything. They’ll lead the offense with the quarterback they’re given. This is one model.

Harbaugh is a different model. He will be the traditional trainer and owner of the estate. He will decide on the roster, select his staff, and referee the quarterback the most. Maybe he will find a common language with everyone. Maybe not.

The question that all of these candidates face seems to have been solved by the Dolphins. The Dolphins think they’re close and point to rising defense, free agent money, and the Cincinnati Bengals’ move from the worst team of 2019 to the Super Bowl.

Cincinnati received Joe Burrow in the 2020 draft. When the quarterback matters, every other decision matters. And, yes, this is evidence that the Dolphins ruined their tanking, which they missed on him. On the other hand, they missed Justin Herbert as well.

That’s how close the Dolphins are at the moment: they went 2-5 and lost to the playoff teams 209-109. If we take into account the teams that reached the second round, they went 0-4 and lost 138-31. Can one off-season close that?

Bottom line: the coach matters. But it’s not just the coach – unless he improves the selection of players, the development of the players and the overall philosophy of this team.

A decade ago, Ross flew across the country with general manager Jeff Ireland to woo Harbaugh in a not so secret way. This infuriated coach Tony Sparano and divided the franchise.

Ross was right about one thing: Harbaugh was the coach to take on. He built a team and took San Francisco to the Super Bowl in 2013. But that was then. And now?

Ross’s name is on the Michigan Business School. His cell phone ringtone is set to the Michigan fight song “Hail to the Victors”.

He said he wouldn’t hire Harbaugh from that school. It’s also the franchise that Nick Saban once stated, “Well, I have to say this: I’m not going to be Alabama’s coach.”

Harbaugh realizes the dolphins’ slow search for a trainer. The only question is whether he is suitable for this job.

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