Dolphins hire Bill Lazor as offensive coordinator
MIAMI — Miami Dolphins new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor played a significant role in the growth of Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles this past season.
Can the former Eagles quarterbacks coach now do the same for Ryan Tannehill?
Lazor, named to his new position Wednesday, was asked about the Dolphins quarterback during a late-afternoon conference call with media members.
"I’m excited to work with him because I see a lot of ability, I see both physical ability and, it appears from what I see, the ability to play the game," Lazor said. "It would be premature to make an evaluation of what he can be and what he can do because I haven’t been around him that much.
"But I think there’s a nucleus here in a lot of ways … with Coach (Joe) Philbin, with the staff, and certainly with some of the talent that I’ve had a chance to see so far. So, I’m really excited to be working with these players."
Under Lazor’s tutoring, Foles was the NFL’s highest-rated passer in his second year as Eagles quarterback.
The former Cornell quarterback now will oversee a Miami offense that ranked 27th (312.9) in yards per game, 26th (19.8) in points per game and allowed a league-high 58 sacks in 2013. Those statistics were big reasons Mike Sherman, the Dolphins offensive coordinator the past two seasons under close friend Philbin, was fired last week.
Philbin’s job status, too, appeared to be on shaky ground following Miami’s 8-8 season.
"Right now my future and his future are together, I’m in it with him," Lazor said of his new boss.
Lazor said he will call the offensive plays but refrained from describing what kind of attack the team would run.
"The No. 1 factor in how we do it, and specifically how it looks, is going to be the ability of the players we have," he said.
Lazor, 41, is a Scranton, Pa., native who was offensive coordinator at the University of Virginia before joining Chip Kelly’s Eagles staff a year ago. He previously worked under former NFL head coaches Dan Reeves, Joe Gibbs and Mike Holmgren.
A day after reports had him being hired by the Detroit Lions, Lazor explained the primary factor in choosing to work for the Dolphins.
"It’s simple that it was Coach Philbin himself," Lazor said. "It’s about people, and it’s about trusting a person you’re working for and working with. You want to be around people with character and be around people who are committed to winning and doing things the right way.
"(Interacting with Philbin) really sold me on the fact that this is the kind of person that can lead an organization, he’s the kind of coach that is committed to winning and who I felt like I could come and help and picture myself working with to build a winner."
Miami interviewed Green Bay quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo for the offensive coordinator position Tuesday, but hours later he joined the New York Giants coaching staff. On Wednesday, Lazor was given the job.
"Bill is an accomplished coach and will be a great addition to our coaching staff," Philbin said in a statement. "Bill has been instrumental in helping players reach their full potential, as players and people, at both the college and professional level. He also has a proven track record of success working with a wide variety of offenses. I want to welcome Bill and his family to the Dolphins family."
FOX Sports 1’s Alex Marvez reported Lazor planned to retain current Dolphins offensive assistant coaches per Philbin’s request.
"Obviously, Coach Philbin is in charge of the structure of the staff and he and I have not had all our conversations about the structure of the staff," Lazor said, "What I know, and I did my research, is I know these are good coaches on the staff. They have great reputations."
The Dolphins continued to look for a new general manager to replace Jeff Ireland. Detroit Lions senior personnel executive Brian Xanders was the latest to interview on Wednesday.