Philbin 'Would Make Excellent Coach'

Offensive coordinator is one of three candidates getting a second interview to be Miami's head coach. Plus, Tori Gurley and Anthony Levine are among eight signed to futures contracts.

Three candidates have made it to the second round of interviews with the Miami Dolphins for their head coaching vacancy.

Owner Stephen Ross and general manager Jeff Ireland will meet again with Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and interim coach Todd Bowles in New York this week to pick the team's next head coach.

"I'll just say this about Joe: he would make an excellent head coach," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said on Wednesday. "I've said that before. Just really all your questions about our staff, there is activity around our coaching staff, and rightfully so. It's a very talented staff. There may be some men who have some other opportunities."

The pool of candidates appears to have dwindled. Chicago Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub is out of the running and has re-signed with the Bears to remain in his present position. Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who is candidate for the Tampa Bay job, has also been eliminated from consideration.

Philbin, Bowles and McCoy have interviewed with various teams recently, meaning the Dolphins have competition.

Philbin and McCoy have both talked with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Oakland has expressed interest in McCoy. Bowles has met with the Raiders. The Indianapolis Colts, which fired Jim Caldwell on Tuesday, could also become a factor in the selection process.

The Dolphins hope to select a head coach in time for next week's Senior Bowl, which doubles as a job fair for NFL assistants.

The Packers offense has been impressive during Philbin's tenure as offensive coordinator, but he doesn't call the plays for Green Bay. McCarthy does. However, Philbin, 50, has been credited with Aaron Rodgers' steady progression, and he might have another promising quarterback ready to blossom in backup Matt Flynn, who expects to be an unrestricted free agent.

Philbin's unit finished third in total yards and first in points per game in 2011.

"He's a special, special human being," McCarthy said. "What Joe's gone through, and what his family's gone through, obviously tough is not the proper word, (that's) understating. A man of very high character. Obviously, the way people feel about him was very evident through the week and his ability to come back meant a lot to all of us. It was not expected, it was not asked of him. But Joe's a class act."

McCoy, who is 39, has spent two seasons as a passing game coordinator in Carolina, and spent two years as the offensive coordinator in Denver. He helped revamp the Broncos' offensive once Tim Tebow became Denver's starter this season. But his unit finished 23rd in total yards per game, and 25th in points per game in 2011. Both rankings are behind this year's Dolphins offense, which finished 22nd in total yards per game and 20th in points per game.

This is the fourth time Bowles, 49, has been a candidate for a head coach position. He led the Dolphins to a 3-1 record as Miami's interim coach, but has never served as a coordinator in his 12 seasons as an NFL assistant.

Gurley, Levine in the fold

The Packers have signed all eight of their practice-squad players to futures contracts, including receiver Tori Gurley and safety Anthony Levine, who signed on Wednesday.

"I'm more than delighted to say I'm still a Green Bay Packer," Gurley wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

Levine was a man in demand, including the Raiders, Ravens, Eagles and Vikings, according to a source who told Packer Report about the signing.

On Tuesday, the agent for receiver Diondre Borel told Packer Report that his client had signed his contract. Also staying with Green Bay are offensive linemen Chris Campbell and Sampson Genus, fullback Jon Hoese, defensive lineman Johnny Jones and cornerback Brandian Ross.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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