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First two Dolphins defensive coordinator candidates surface as Miami begins lining up interviews

1/24/2023 1:56:53 PM
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The first two Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator candidates the team is interested in interviewing surfaced on Monday — and one comes from within the organization, David Furones of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.

According to a league source, the Dolphins are planning to interview their own linebackers coach Anthony Campanile and Seattle Seahawks defensive assistant Sean Desai. Desai has to be requested for an interview through the Seahawks.

Candidates for the Dolphins’ vacant defensive coordinator position are becoming known after Miami fired Josh Boyer, who held that role since 2020, on Thursday.

Campanile was under Boyer as Dolphins linebackers coach since that 2020 season. The Miami defense impressed the first two years but took a step back in 2022. It finished the regular season 30th in takeaways, 27th in pass defense, 24th in scoring defense and third-down defense and 18th in total defense.

Campanile was one of the team’s defensive assistants that survived the four cuts Thursday. Along with Boyer, outside linebackers coach Ty McKenzie, safeties coach Steve Gregory and assistant linebackers coach Steve Ferentz were relieved of their duties.

Campanile, 40, is a strong communicator who coaches with energy and charisma. Before arriving in Miami, he was linebackers coach at Michigan in 2019, held roles of defensive backs coach and co-defensive coordinator over three seasons at Boston College and held various roles at Rutgers, his alma mater. Campanile has also been offensive and defensive coordinator at storied New Jersey high school program Don Bosco Prep.

His two starting linebackers with the Dolphins — Jerome Baker and Elandon Roberts — each had 100-tackle seasons in 2022. Roberts led the team with 107 and Baker registered 100. Roberts also had 4 1/2 sacks and Baker 4.

Aside from that, the inside linebackers unit that mostly rotated those two and Duke Riley, struggled in other areas, like covering pass-catching backs out of the backfield and containing scrambling quarterbacks.

Rookie linebacker and 2022 third-round pick Channing Tindall never developed to the point of contributing defensively during the season, outside of scattered snaps. He and Sam Eguavoen were mostly special teams contributors.

Desai, who turns 40 in April, is an Ivy League grad like Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel. Desai earned a Master’s degree from Columbia in 2005.

Desai reached the defensive coordinator rank with the Bears in 2021, but he wasn’t kept in Chicago through the transition from coach Matt Nagy to Matt Eberflus. The Bears defense took a dive afterward, and Desai found his landing spot in Seattle last season, where he held the title of associate head coach to Pete Carroll and defensive assistant.

Before becoming coordinator, Desai was safeties coach in Chicago from 2019 to 2020 and defensive quality control coach for six years before that.

He has one previous stint in South Florida. Among his college stops, he was assistant director of football operations at the University of Miami in 2011, the first season the Hurricanes were led by Al Golden.

The Minnesota Vikings have also requested to interview Desai, according to the NFL Network.

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