[Updated Friday afternoon, 1-19. The Herald is now reporting the Dolphins have decided they want Cameron, but that the coach has not yet said yes and will speak with his family before deciding. ESPN.com reports the job has formally been offered.]
All indications are that Chargers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron will be named the Dolphins' new head coach later today, chosen over other finalists Jim Mora, Chan Gailey, Mike Shula and Dom Capers.
Club brass interviewed Cameron for a marathon 10 1/2 hours yesterday, and I doubt you interview anybody for that long unless you are sold on him.
Our quick take on the five finalists, alphabetically, including their two most recent jobs:
CAMERON, 45, Chargers offensive coordinator since 2002; head coach Indiana University 1997-2001 -- Upside: Offensive whiz who has worked wonders in San Diego (although having LaDainian didn't hurt). Downside: Never been a pro head coach, and not a successful one (18-37) in college.
CAPERS, 56, Dolphins special assistant to head coach since last season; Texans head coach 2001-05 -- Upside: Wealth of experience including nine years as NFL head coach with Panthers and Texans. Downside: Is promoting from within and hiring a defense-oriented coach the answer?
GAILEY, 55, Georgia Tech head coach since 2002; Dolphins offensive coordinator 2000-01 -- Upside: Has NFL head-coach experience (Cowboys 1998-99) and coming off best season (9-4, Gator Bowl) with Tech. Downside: Might feel like Dolphins recycled someone safe, familiar.
MORA, 45, Falcons head coach past three years; 49ers defensive coordinator 1999-2003 -- Upside: Bright, ascending coach who reached NFC Championship Game in 2004. Downside: Fired by Falcons after saying on a radio show he'd jump at chance to coach his alma mater Washington.
SHULA, 41, Alabama head coach past four seasons; Dolphins quarterbacks coach 2000-02 -- Upside: The Shula Name. Return to glory? Has been an NFL coordinator (Bucs offense). Downside: The Shula name. Nepotism? Fired by Crimson Tide for diminishing returns.
We'll start a separate blog post when the new coach is named. Meantime, it's still a final five but now apparently with a clear frontrunner. Comments welcome.