Was Lesson Learned?

The Dolphins have reached or are fast approaching double digits in the number of candidates they have interviewed to become their new head coach, but there's a feeling that the front-runner for the job just might be USC's Pete Carroll. And, even though, this has nothing to do with Carroll's capabilities, we think hiring him would be a huge mistake.

Carroll has been immensely successful at USC, winning national titles in 2003 and 2004, and losing in the BCS Championship Game against Texas in 2005 before finishing third in the country in 2006.

Carroll also has NFL head-coaching experience, having had stints with both the New York Jets and New England Patriots.

By all measures, he is one hot commodity.

But he also has repeatedly said in the past he wouldn't dream of leaving USC unless all the conditions were right for a move to the NFL, and those conditions mean total control of the football operation.

And judging by Carroll's' comments on Tuesday about his meeting with Wayne Huizenga in Costa Rica, the Dolphins owner seems prepared to give Carroll just that.

"This was the one instance I've come in contact with that has all the elements I have talked about," Carroll said at a news conference at USC. "[(Huizenga) has structured a program where the head coach has the entire say, from top to bottom.

"It's a one-voice program. I don't think there are any other situations like that in the NFL."

Hmm, giving a college head coach full control of the operation. That sounds familiar, doesn't it?

That's exactly what Huizenga did when he hired Nick Saban away from LSU in 2004, and we all know how that has turned out.

Look, it's just not a great idea to put everything on one man's shoulders because it fails more often than not -- of course, some accept blame better than others, such as Saban, who felt it necessary to criticize his general managers after leaving Miami, even though he was he who had final say over every move ... but we digress.

Of the 12 teams in this year's playoffs, nine had a man in charge of personnel other than the head coach. The three who don't are New England, Philadelphia and Dallas, and the head coach of those teams are Bill Belichick, Andy Reid and Bill Parcells.

They are guys with tremendous resumes, guys who are proven winners in terms of being able to combine both jobs.

Want an example of how dangerous this is? Mike Holmgren won a Super Bowl in Green Bay with Ron Wolf as a GM, then left for Seattle, where he was giving complete control. Things went so well there that the Seahawks stripped him of the GM duties. The Seahawks later went to the Super Bowl.

Again, this is nothing against Carroll, but a head coach has enough on his plate to be in put in charge of personnel. The argument coaches make is they want the ability to bring in the players they feel they need to make their systems work, and that's all fine and good.

But not many are great coaches and GMs.

Huizenga's three head coaches during his ownership -- Jimmy Johnson, Dave Wannstedt and Saban -- have been given both roles and it hasn't worked out particularly well for the Dolphins.

It's time to try a different approach.

Pete Carroll indeed would be a good hire as a head coach. But as a head coach in charge of personnel? We say, pass.


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