Linehan has been an NFL assistant since 2002, but his relative lack of experience is overshadowed by the tremendous success of the Minnesota offense during that span.
On defense, the name that keeps coming up is New England linebackers coach Dean Pees, an assistant under new Dolphins head coach Nick Saban at Toledo and Michigan State.
Saban cannot speak to Pees while the Patriots remain in the playoffs.
Houston Texans defensive line coach Todd Grantham had been considered a leading candidate for the job, but he told the Texans last week he would stay with them.
As for the coaches on the Dolphins' 2004 staff, here is how things stand as of Tuesday, Jan. 18:
Interim head coach Jim Bates: Has told the team he won't return; interviewed for the Cleveland head-coaching job; says other teams have contacted him about jobs, but not as head coach.
Special teams coach Keith Armstrong: The Dolphins have announced he will be retained.
Defensive line coach Clarence Brooks: Probably on his way out after news that the Dolphins hired 49ers assistant Dan Quinn to coach the defensive line, a move that hasn't been made official yet.
Running backs coach Joel Collier: No announcement on his status, but has a good chance of being retained.
Offensive coordinator Chris Foerster: Accepted a job as offensive line coach/assistant head coach with the Baltimore Ravens.
Defensive nickel package Bill Lewis: Accepted a job to become an assistant at Notre Dame.
Tight ends coach Bernie Parmalee: Also accepted a job at Notre Dame.
Secondary coach Mel Phillips: The Dolphins have announced he will be retained.
Assistant defensive line coach Glenn Pires: His status is unknown.
Linebackers coach Bob Sanders: Interviewed for the same job with Jacksonville, but lost out on the position. Probably on his way out.
Wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan: No announcement on his status, but it's believed he has a good chance of being retained.
Assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach Marc Trestman: Even though no announcement has been made, it is believed he already has been told he would not be retained.
Offensive line coach Tony Wise: Same as treatment, it would be a shock if he were retained.
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Even though the Bills have given running back Travis Henry's agent permission to seek a trade and Henry told the Palm Beach Post that Miami is his first choice, it still looks like a long shot that Henry will wear a Dolphins uniform in 2005.
The biggest problem is that Buffalo reportedly is seeking a second-round pick in a trade for Henry, and the Dolphins -- as we all know -- don't have one, thanks to the A.J. Feeley trade.
Of course, the Dolphins could offer a second-round pick in 2006, but Buffalo will look for offers elsewhere, particularly because the Bills would rather trade Henry out of the division so he can't come back to hurt them twice a year.