Dolphins Ready For Linehan To Work Magic

The Dolphins are looking at Scott Linehan as some sort of savior for Miami's talent-starved offense.

Dolphins fans have reason to get excited about the team's sixth different offensive coordinator since the 1999 season.

Scott Linehan, who reached agreement Wednesday on a three-year contract to join the Dolphins, helped build one of the NFL's most successful offenses while coordinator the past three seasons in Minnesota. The Vikings have ranked in the top four offensively in each of Linehan's three seasons since he joined the team after working the previous three years as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Louisville.

The Dolphins finished 29th in the NFL in offense in 2004, which ranks as the lowest rating in franchise history. Miami finished 26th in offense in 1980 when the NFL had 28 teams.

"Scott is the person we targeted as our first choice to be our offensive coordinator, but we had to wait until the Vikings finished their season," Dolphins coach Nick Saban said in a team-released statement. "He did an outstanding job in Minnesota and they had one of the most effective offenses in the league. His expertise is not only in developing good offensive systems, but also in raising the level of play of his quarterbacks everywhere he has been. We're pleased he has joined our staff and he will be a great asset to the football team."

While serving in a dual role as Minnesota's quarterbacks coach, Linehan also oversaw the development of Daunte Culpepper. In 2004, Culpepper led the NFL in quarterback rating (110.9) while throwing for 39 touchdown passes and 11 touchdowns. Culpepper's numbers were especially impressive considering the effects of injuries to wide receiver Randy Moss and tight end Jim Kleinsasser as well as a spottier rushing attack than in previous seasons.

Although it's unknown whether Linehan also will coach Miami's quarterbacks, A.J. Feeley should benefit from having a better offensive scheme than the one presented by first-time coordinator Chris Foerster in 2004. The Dolphins need a new quarterbacks coach after telling Marc Trestman that he wouldn't be retained. Foerster also has left the team to become assistant head coach and offensive line coach in Baltimore.

Saban was so sold on Linehan that a contract offer worth double what he earned in Minnesota last year was made during a Wednesday visit to Dolphins headquarters. Linehan was so impressed that he canceled a scheduled visit to Jacksonville where he was slated to interview for the coordinator vacancy to replace the fired Bill Musgrave.

Culpepper and Vikings coach Mike Tice both said earlier in the week that they would lobby team owner Red McCombs to keep Linehan in the fold. But with Tice operating under a one-year contract, a multi-year deal for Linehan didn't seem like a realistic option.

Speaking with Minnesota media on Monday about his desire for a multi-year deal, Linehan said, "This has more to do with what's best for my family and the security that you can give yourself in a business that doesn't have much. (This) is really important to us at this point. I've got to find if there are options that are better."



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