"I don't think you can get a head job on a 14-2 team, so the circumstances are different," said Bowles, who was interviewed for head coaching positions with the Lions and St. Louis in 2009. "We have a tough team. We've been in every ball game as far as that is concerned. We need to make sure we finish that way. There are no playoffs to look forward to but we have three AFC East division rivals. We're going to come out and play hard, play smart and try to win the last three."
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and general manager Jeff Ireland say Bowles, 48, will receive consideration during the coaching search. He will interview for the job after the season is over. But most say the Dolphins are searching for a big name with head-coaching experience for the permanent job.
Still, Bowles is using this audition as a chance to win over management, and impress future employers who might consider him for head coaching positions, if not defensive coordinator jobs down the line.
He's looking at these last three games as opportunity to right a sunken ship.
"It's not really about me," Bowles said. "It's just trying to keep the team afloat and making sure everybody plays hard and try to win three ball games. I'm a coach. I understand the conversations and the businesses very well. Whatever happens to me after that happens."
Bowles has been with the Dolphins for four seasons, holding the title of secondary and assistant head coach, and during that tenure he's kept a low profile. But the players who are in his secondary admit he's a no-nonsense kind of coach.
"It may appear that he's an easy-going coach sometimes, but that's only if you're doing things right," said cornerback Will Allen. "He's not afraid to call you out. If you're doing something wrong you'll hear about it first-hand. He's not going to pull you to the side. Everyone in the room is going to hear him do it.
"As a player it makes you know where you stand at all times. For the rest of the team it's going to be difficult and awkward, but for us (members of the secondary), it's going to be business as usual."