Miami Dolphins fire offensive coordinator Bill Lazor
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Miami Dolphins interim coach Dan Campbell is running out of time to make a good impression, so he’s going with a new play caller to jump-start his feeble offense.
Campbell fired offensive coordinator Bill Lazor on Monday and gave Zac Taylor primary responsibility for calling plays. Taylor will remain the quarterbacks coach.
The moves came after the Dolphins lost 38-20 to the New York Jets on Sunday. The Dolphins (4-7) were shut out in the first half and haven’t scored more than 20 points since Oct. 25.
"Offensively we’ve been anemic for five weeks now," said Campbell, who wants to run the ball more. "We have to find a way to become more of a physical offense."
Campbell hopes to return as coach next season, but the Dolphins are only 3-4 since he replaced Joe Philbin, who was fired Oct. 5. The Dolphins also changed defensive coordinators in October.
Lazor was in his second season with the Dolphins, while Taylor is in his fourth year.
"These are unusual circumstances for me," Taylor said. "This is not ideal. Bill Lazor was awesome to me. He put his heart and soul into this offense. It’s disappointing to see it happen like this. He took the fall for us."
The Dolphins play host to Baltimore on Sunday, and Taylor said he’ll streamline and simplify an offense that ranks 27th in the NFL in points at 18.5 points per game, down from 22.6 last season. The Dolphins are next to last in third-down conversion at 28 percent, and they run the ball only 33 percent of the time, last in the game.
Taylor, 32, has never called plays. He’s a former Nebraska quarterback and the son-in-law of Mike Sherman, who coincidentally was fired as the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator two years ago and replaced by Lazor.
"Zac is a very bright guy," Campbell said. "I have a lot of faith in Zac. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have done this."
Campbell said the decision was entirely his, but he consulted with owner Stephen Ross and executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum before making the move.
Lineup changes are also possible, Campbell said.
"Everything moving forward is about winning and competition," he said. "I’m looking for the guys that when you put another human being in front of them, if it’s Ping-Pong, football, croquet or chess, you want to win. And you’ll do anything you have to do to win. I’m looking for those guys."
Players said they were sorry Lazor was fired, but expressed support for Taylor.
"I always told him he’s going to be a future head coach," tackle Branden Albert said. "He’s very detailed when he explains stuff. He’s real professional. I know he’s going to do a good job for us."
While Taylor is a novice play caller, he said the role has been a career goal, and he’s ready for it.
"I’ve called a thousand games in my head," he said. "That doesn’t translates to being on the sideline calling a game, but I’m absolutely prepared."
Lazor drew criticism for giving Ryan Tannehill little latitude in calling audibles, and his play calling was second-guessed because of his emphasis on the pass. The Dolphins are averaging 4.6 yards per rush, seventh-best in the NFL, but on Sunday they had nine rushing attempts, their fewest since 1986.
"We’re going to run the ball," Taylor said. "It’s important for our players to have that mindset."
As for allowing Tannehill to audible more, Taylor said, "Everything is on the table."
Tannehill has regressed in his fourth season. His completion percentage, yards per attempt and interception rate are all worse than a year ago.
The Dolphins’ latest loss dropped them to 0-5 against AFC East teams, and they’re likely to miss the playoffs for the seventh consecutive year.
"I don’t think we scare anybody in the AFC East, and that bothers me," Campbell said. "We need to find a way, even if it’s 2 yards and a cloud of dust. If it brings a little thump and attitude, I think it may have been worth it."