Mike McCoy is scheduled to interview with the Dolphins on Thursday, the last of the three second-round interviews the team is conducting as it tries to find a new head coach. But this one might be more significant than the other two in that McCoy tangibly believes the job is his to lose.
Acccording to a source, McCoy considers himself the front-runner in the Miami job and is so confident of this status, he took his name out of consideration for the vacant Oakland Raiders job. McCoy was scheduled to interview for that Raiders opening in Denver on Wednesday but ultimately declined.
The source, who requested anonymity, said the Raiders were not thrilled with the apparent snub but were made to understand that McCoy believes himself the front-runner in Miami and he didn't want to do anything to hinder that status.
Both Todd Bowles and Joe Philbin, Miami's other two finalists, are also on the radar for head coach jobs with other teams but have not removed their names from the running of any potential opportunity.
It is unclear if McCoy was led to believe he is the front-runner by the Dolphins. The Dolphins are not commenting to the extent they declined to even confirm which candidates are being interviewed in the second round. The club did confirm completed interviews during the first-round of interviews.
The team did tell both Bowles and Philbin that today's interviews "went great," according to sources. The club is clearly not showing its cards.
McCoy has the enviable position of being the last of the three finalists to interview for the job. On Wednesday, the Dolphins talked to both interim head coach Bowles and Green Bay offensive coordinator Philbin for a second time.
McCoy will get the chance to the leave the lasting impression on owner Steven Ross and general manager Jeff Ireland.
Philbin, meanwhile, got an endorsement for his Dolphins candidacy from current Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy.
“I think he would make an excellent head coach,” McCarthy told Green Bay media. “I’ve said that before.”
Philbin has been with Green Bay since 2003 and has been offensive coordinator since 2007, although McCarthy calls plays. The Packers have ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in yardage each of the past five seasons, including third in 2011.
As Philbin, McCoy and Bowles compete for the job interviews, there is starting to be behind-the-scenes lobbying for each candidate from parties partial to one or the other.
One source asked why the Dolphins would be so enamored with McCoy as to give him a second interview, noting that the Broncos started the season on a 1-4 slide and ended the season on a 1-4 slide. In fairness, the Broncos did win the AFC West title.
But even that title was getting shot down by sources partial to the other candidates.
One of those noted that the only reason the Broncos won the AFC West is because since-fired Dolphins coach Tony Sparano opted for a two-point conversation against the Broncos early in the fourth quarter of their October 23 game. The conversion failed, giving the Dolphins a 12-0 lead instead of a 13-0 or 14-0 lead.
Had Sparano kicked the extra point, the Dolphins might have withstood a breakneck Denver comeback and still won the game 16-15 in regulation instead of losing 18-15 in overtime.
That people close to the other candidates are bringing up these issues might also be a sign they believe McCoy might be Miami's leading candidate and he might need to be cut down a couple of rungs to even the playing field.