Former Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was almost certainly going to accept a positional coach or coordinator job in 2016 after getting fired four games into the 2015 season.
His choice to land with the Colts -- Philbin had plenty of options, including an easier and safer transition to the New York Giants -- hasn't gotten much publicity, but we wonder what ended up tipping the scales.
"I lived in the Midwest for 13 years out of the last 17 and loved every minute of it," Philbin told reporters this week, via the team's official site. "So this is where I wanted to be. I just feel very, very fortunate to be part of this staff."
He added: "It seems like a really outstanding group of men to work with. (I've) really, really enjoyed just being with them in the meeting room and being with them on the practice field. It seems like their work ethic is outstanding. They're real serious about what they do. They're good people."
For a guy on the rebound, Colts offensive line coach might be on the riskier side of positions. The unit was at the core of many disagreements between general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano. Largely blamed for the uneven development and injuries to quarterback Andrew Luck, the line has been subject to endless criticism despite some bright spots that were overlooked. Maybe Philbin saw an opportunity to come in, make a few small changes and capitalize on a shift in perception.
Added to the pressure will be a first-round pick spent at center (the Colts drafted Alabama's Ryan Kelly with the 18th overall pick in the 2016 draft). Some coaches might jump at the chance to work with a unit that has three first- or second-round picks, but what if that unit is also the biggest scapegoat during times of struggle?
Luck is the centerpiece of this team and simple, linear football thought will always leave the offensive line out to dry if he takes a sack, gets hurt or throws a pressure-oriented interception. Unlike other franchises that aren't attempting to develop and preserve the next John Elway, there is limited wiggle room for mistakes in front of Luck and limited opportunities for an offensive line coach to escape trouble.
Philbin might just be looking forward to revisiting his roots. His career as a coach started at Worcester Polytechnic in 1986 as an offensive line coach. Each year following his stint there, offensive line was a part of his job function right up until 2007, when he was named the offensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers. Theoretically, it's what he knows best, which is why the situation might not seem as daunting.