The Miami Dolphins ousted a one-time offensive coordinator to bring back an old veteran out of retirement.
A day after firing Chad O’Shea following his first season, Miami will make Chan Gailey its new coordinator, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday, per sources informed of the situation.
The 67-year-old Gailey last guided the New York Jets in 2016 to a lackluster finish before heading into retirement after a 42 year coaching career. He has been the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys (1998-99) and Buffalo Bills (2010-2012), and coordinated the offense for five different NFL squads, including the Dolphins in 2000-2001.
It’s notable that in his last five years of coaching, with the Bills and Jets, Ryan Fitzpatrick was Gailey’s gun-slinging quarterback. After Fitzmagic authored one of the more impressive campaigns last season given the circumstance — a sieve offensive line, no running game, WRs in-and-out — Miami bringing in Gailey screams loudly they’d seem to be leaning towards bringing back the veteran quarterback for at least one more season while possibly grooming a rookie.
Gailey, one of the first to embrace the spread passing game at the NFL level, returns to a pass-happy league that has begun to accept pass-first concepts more openly. In his last two seasons as the Jets‘ OC, with Fitzpatrick at the helm, Gailey’s offense ranked 10th in yards and 11th in points in 2015, then sunk to 26th in yards and 30th in points in 2016. Much of his coordinating career included up-and-down runs, after guiding top-10 squads in Pittsburgh and Dallas in the late 90s.
In his final seasons in New York, Gailey utilized heavy three-and four-receiver sets. Given Miami’s current personnel and lack of rushing attack, expect the Dolphins plan to include more of those wide sets in 2020.
While it seems like Gailey’s return comes out of nowhere, Pelissero noted that coach Brian Flores was recruited by Gailey out of high school, and later competed against him for years as a defensive coach in New England.
Coaxing Gailey out of retirement certainly adds intrigue to the Miami offseason. With the Dolphins expected to bring in a young QB of the future, Gailey’s connection to Fitzpatrick could signal that it might be a player who perhaps might need a year on the sideline before he’s ready to step in — like, say, perhaps a certain Alabama QB who underwent hip surgery and might need time to return?