Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said shortly after firing Tony Sparano that he'd be looking for a "young Don Shula." So it sort of surprised us when he went all-in on the pursuit of Jeff Fisher. The man is certainly no young Don Shula. Jeff Fisher is, well, an old Jeff Fisher. So we're not exactly heartbroken to read multiple reports this morning that Fisher is definitely more interested in taking the job with the St. Louis Rams than with the Miami Dolphins.
An official announcement on Fisher's decision isn't expected to come until at least Tuesday or Wednesday, but all preliminary signs point to St. Louis.
"A source close to Fisher says the former Titans coach is '95 percent certain' he's going to accept an offer from the Rams," writes CBS Sports' Mike Freeman. "An official decision could come early next week. Now, there's a caveat here, and it's a big one. It's the wallet of Miami owner Stephen Ross. It's very possible Ross makes a huge, final offer that could sway Fisher. So far, a source says, that hasn't happened. But that doesn't mean it won't and that's the only reason, I'm told, it's not a totally done deal. Fisher is waiting for the final word from Ross."
Several other reports carry on in the same vein, and Fisher was in St. Louis yesterday to meet with Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. Previous reports indicated Fisher wanted to land at a team with a more stable QB situation.
So, is Fisher worth Ross opening his wallet to expand the chance he'd sign with Miami beyond just a measly 5 percent?
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He's certainly the safest choice. Safe in the way that coaches such as Jimmy Johnson, Dave Wannstedt, and, to a certain extent, Nick Saban seemed. If history is to be believed, a "safe" head coach by Dolphins standards seems to get you a few playoff appearances and not much more.
The Dolphins have a bunch of back-up choices if Fisher spurns them. The Miami Herald mentions names such as Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer (a Jeff Ireland buddy) and Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey (a Miami native and former Dolphins tight ends coach). Interim coach Todd Bowles, Bears special-teams coach Dave Toub, and Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin have also been previously interviewed.
What exciting choices! Such a dazzling array of sort-of-impressive assistants! Surely one of them (average age of the group: 50) is destined to become a young Shula. Eh, is there any way we can just give Bowles another year and see if there's anyone more exciting in 2013?