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5 Candidates to be the Miami Dolphins' Next Head Coach

Mike Shanahan

Mike Shanahan

Now that the 2015 NFL regular season is officially over for the Miami Dolphins, the real fun begins. While interim head coach Dan Campbell will interview to be the permanent head coach according to owner Stephen Ross, he isn’t expected to return after finishing with a 5-8 record after Joe Philbin was fired. 

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The team has already moved on from former general manager Dennis Hickey, naming Chris Grier, previously the Dolphins' director of college scouting, as his replacement. Now the focus will shift to filling the head coaching vacancy. Miami already has a number of interviews lined up this week. The candidates vary from coordinators to a veteran with multiple Super Bowl titles. Ross said on Sunday that it isn't necessary that the next head coach have previous head coaching experience. 

Here are some of the top candidates to become the 12th head coach in Dolphins history.

Mike Shanahan

In his press conference on Monday, Dolphins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum confirmed that the former Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins head coach will interview on Tuesday.

ESPN has reported that Tannenbaum previously interviewed Shanahan on Dec. 22. Tannenbaum said the two have spoken, but it wasn’t an official interview.

Shanahan last coached in the NFL from 2010-13 with the Redskins, where he led finished with a 24-40 record, making the postseason just once. His most well-known success came when he was with the Broncos. That's where Shanahan won two Super Bowls in 1997 and '98 and finished with a 138-86 record in 14 seasons.

It will be interesting to see if Shanahan would be willing to accept a head coaching job where he isn’t the person making the personnel decisions. In his previous two jobs with the Broncos and Redskins, Shanahan had the power to mold the roster to his liking. In Miami, Tannenbaum is currently the person making the decisions about which players to draft and to pursue in free agency or through other means.

Shanahan could be the coach the Dolphins need to jumpstart Ryan Tannehill’s career. After completing 66.4 percent of his passes and throwing 27 touchdowns in 2014, Tannehill took a step back this season. The fourth-year veteran completed 61.9 percent of his throws with 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Josh McDaniels

McDaniels, like Shanahan, is a former head coach of the Denver Broncos. However, while Shanahan found success in the Mile High City, McDaniels struggled in his two-plus seasons.

After going 8-8 in his first season, he was fired 12 games into his second season in 2010 ending his tenure in Denver with a 11-17 record.

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Miami has reportedly requested an interview with McDaniels, who is now in his fourth season of his second stint as New England's offensive coordinator. At the time he was hired in Denver, McDaniels was just 33, so maybe the Dolphins believe he could be much better in his second stint as a coach much like Bill Belichick, the man he currently works for.

New England finished the 2015 regular season ranked sixth in the NFL in total offense and third in points per game with 29.1.

Matt Patricia

Miami also has reportedly requested permission to speak with Patricia, the Patriots' defensive coordinator. While he doesn’t have head coaching experience, Patricia has been in the New England organization since 2004.

He worked in various positions before becoming the team’s defensive coordinator in 2012. This season, Patricia oversaw a New England defense that was ranked ninth in the league in total defense.

Miami finished 2015 25th in defense, so Patricia could help improve that Dolphins in that area.

Adam Gase

After helping quarterback Jay Cutler have one of his most productive seasons of his career, Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Gase has once again become one of the hottest coaching candidates that several teams are sure to reach out to.

The NFL Network reported that Gase will interview with the Dolphins on Thursday. While the Bears finished 21st in offense, Gase helped Cutler finish with a quarterback rating of 92.3, the best of veteran's 10-year career.

Gase also is scheduled to meet with the Cleveland Browns and the Philadelphia Eagles at some point about their head coaching vacancies.

Todd Haley

Miami is very interested in Haley, the Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator, but the team cannot interview him this week because the Steelers play the Bengals on Saturday in one of the AFC wild card games.

After a rocky beginning with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Haley has transformed Pittsburgh’s offense to one of the best in the NFL. The Steelers finished this season third in offense and fourth in points per game with 26.4 per contest.

Haley does have previous head coaching experience with the Kansas City Chiefs from 2009-11. After winning the AFC West in 2010, Haley was fired 13 games into the 2011 season after a 5-8 record.

Former Dolphins Vice President of Football Operations Bill Parcells has reportedly endorsed Haley as the franchise's next head coach. Even though Parcells is no longer in the organization, he still gives advice to owner Stephen Ross on occasion.

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.