Jeff Fisher stands out
The best available coach for any opening is Jeff Fisher. You could throw Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden into the discussion, but it's doubtful that either would leave his comfortable broadcasting existence at this point.
Fisher, on the other hand, is very interested in coaching again. He has a 140-126 record as a head coach, and he has been to a Super Bowl. His teams in Houston and Tennessee were consistently competitive.
Fisher has the kind of leadership qualities that make him a CEO-style coach. He has the credibility to sell his program to his team and to his fan base. His experience makes him stand out above almost all other available and interested candidates.
All about connections
Coaching searches in the NFL usually come down to who you know.
Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland knows former Titans coach Jeff Fisher from his time as a ball boy with the Chicago Bears.
Chiefs GM Scott Pioli knows former Denver coach Josh McDaniels from their time together with the Patriots.
Ireland is working hard to maintain personnel power, and presently has owner Steve Ross' trust. Fisher's presence wouldn't threaten that, and his coaching skills could help Miami's underachieving team blossom.
Pioli needs a coach who can maximize quarterback Matt Cassel's skills, and who better than the person who helped Cassel blossom at New England.
Billick, Fisher best bets
If the Dolphins are smart, they hire Brian Billick as their next head coach. Billick wasn't perfect in Baltimore, but he had bad luck. If Jamal Lewis doesn't blow out his knee and Kyle Boller doesn't spend several years tripping over his shoelaces, Billick would still be coaching in Charm City. The man understands organization and he knows how to motivate.
Kansas City clearly wants to hire Josh McDaniels but is probably hesitant because McDaniels was such a disaster in Denver. Scott Pioli isn't going to hire someone who wants to make personnel decisions, and Jeff Fisher has never shown interest in anything other than coaching. He'd provide stability and credibility to that franchise.
There are many options
Los Angeles Times
It's tempting to bring back familiar names such as Schottenheimer and Gruden to Kansas City and Florida. But it seems unlikely that the Chiefs would want Brian Schottenheimer, the Jets' offensive coordinator, or that the Dolphins would go after Jay Gruden, the Bengals' offensive coordinator.
Miami owner Stephen Ross is all about star power. He said he'd like another young Don Shula. Who wouldn't? More likely Ross will go after a big name, such as ex-Steelers coach Bill Cowher or the other, more famous Gruden.
K.C. might be returning to its defensive roots, meaning someone like Mike Zimmer, defensive coordinator for the Bengals. Jeff Fisher, former Titans coach, could be headed to the Chiefs.