The Miami Dolphins and offensive line coach Matt Applebaum have parted ways after one season, according to a league source.
Applebaum was part of coach Mike McDaniel’s first coaching staff, put together last offseason, but offensive coordinator Frank Smith, who has a background in coaching linemen, was often seen focusing specifically on the offensive line during media viewing portions of practice throughout the past season.
Applebaum becomes the fifth Dolphins assistant coach dismissed this offseason. The other four have occurred on the defensive side, led by the firing of ex-coordinator Josh Boyer, along with outside linebackers coach Ty McKenzie, safeties coach Steve Gregory and assistant linebackers coach Steve Ferentz. The Dolphins have agreed to terms with longtime NFL coach Vic Fangio to be the team’s next defensive coordinator, and according to a report he is set to officially accept that role after the Super Bowl, which he’s participating in as a defensive consultant with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Dolphins have already interviewed one candidate, according to Outkick, which first reported the Applebaum firing: Dan Roushar. Roushar, 62, has held several assistant football coaching positions, mostly leading offensive linemen, since 1986. He is currently New Orleans Saints run game coordinator and tight ends coach.
Miami has had a revolving door at offensive line coach. Its next will be the 10th in nine years. The last time the franchise kept an offensive line coach for more than one season was 2014-2015 — John Benton.
Since then, coaches in and out on short stints in the role included Chris Foerster, who was seen on video snorting a white powdery substance in 2016, and Steve Flaherty, let go two days into 2019 training camp after being former coach’s Brian Flores first hire at the position. Lemuel Jeanpierre, Miami’s 2021 offensive line coach, was kept as an assistant under Applebaum last season.
In 2022, the Dolphins improved their offensive line play from 2021 modestly, but it was thanks in large part to the free agent signings of left tackle Terron Armstead and center Connor Williams, adding to the usually reliable Robert Hunt at right guard.
Miami also struggled to keep linemen healthy with Armstead, a Pro Bowler in his first season with the team, missing time, along with left guard Liam Eichenberg and right tackle Austin Jackson, who ended up with an injured reserve placement after each of the two games he played in 2022.
The Dolphins got solid backup play out of Brandon Shell at right tackle and Robert Jones at left guard. They also had Greg Little play as a reserve tackle. Kendall Lamm got one start late in the season at left tackle for Armstead but was subsequently injured. Lester Cotton was elevated off the practice squad and into a playoff start Jan. 15 at Buffalo. The team signed veteran former No. 1 pick Eric Fisher, but he never played for the Dolphins after a calf injury in practice. Backup center Michael Deiter only played on special teams in 2022.
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