The Miami Dolphins have requested to interview Los Angeles Rams running backs coach Thomas Brown, who is familiar with South Florida from the three seasons he spent at the University of Miami as one of Mark Richt’s assistants.
Brown, who was named the Rams’ assistant head coach last offseason — in his second season with the team — a former NFL tailback who has spent the past decade quickly working his way up the coaching ranks.
His coaching career began at the University of Georgia, where the former Bulldogs tailback was the team’s strength and conditioning coach in 2011.
He spent the next three seasons at three different colleges — Chattanooga, Marshall and Wisconsin — coaching tailbacks before returning to Georgia in 2015, a season before he’d join Richt in Miami as the Hurricanes’ offensive coordinator and running backs coach.
Brown left UM to join South Carolina’s coaching staff in 2019 before leaving the college ranks to join the Rams in 2020.
The 35-year-old Brown, who spent two seasons as a player in the NFL on the Atlanta Falcons’ injured reserve list and Cleveland Browns’ practice squad in 2009, has never served as a head coach.
But insiders around the league view him as a young, rising talent, and the latest standout from the Sean McVay coaching tree, which has already produced Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur, Cincinnati’s Zac Taylor and Los Angeles Chargers’ Brandon Staley.
Brown becomes the seventh coaching candidate expected to meet with Dolphins owner Steve Ross, general manager Chris Grier and the search committee to replace Brian Flores, who was fired on Monday.
Flores, who was 24-25 in three seasons with the Dolphins, was let go because of the team’s offensive struggles and his troublesome relationship with Ross, Grier and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who all painted Flores as a difficult man to work with.
The other six known candidates are three offensive coordinators — Buffalo’s Brian Daboll, San Francisco’s Dallas’ Mike McDaniel, and Dallas’ Kellen Moore — and three defensive coordinators in Arizona’s Vance Joseph, Dallas’ Dan Quinn and Buffalo’s Leslie Frazier.
Joseph, Quinn and Frazier have all been head coaches in the NFL.
Joseph, who spent the 2016 season as the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator, had an 11-21 record in his two seasons with the Denver Broncos.
Quinn, who also had a brief stint with the Dolphins during the Nick Saban era in 2005-06, had a 46-44 record during his six seasons with the Falcons. Frazier went 21-33-1 with the Minnesota Vikings.
All seven of the known candidates are participating in the postseason, and won’t be available to interview until early next week.
Ross has leaned towards hiring the young, up-and-comer types during his previous searches, but the failures of Joe Philbin, Adam Gase and Flores, who he hired as first-time head coaches, might encourage the real estate mogul to stray from that strategy.
Seven other teams have head coaching vacancies and most teams are jockeying for the same candidates. Therefore, the Dolphins likely will be forced to move fast. However, the New York Giants, Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings are also searching for general managers, so that could slow their coach search.
Miami also is competing for the top candidates with the Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans and possibly the Las Vegas Raiders, who advanced to the playoffs with interim coach Rich Bisaccia at the helm.
Flores reportedly is in the mix to coach the Giants, Bears and Texans.