The Miami Dolphins were expected to be a team that could contend in the AFC East this year. They picked up high-priced free agent defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh along with spending money in other places to make this team competitive. Well this team has looked nothing like what some expected. The team has looked listless for most of the season. And in a game where it was expected they would come out pumped up and ready to right the ship, they came out flat yet again. The Dolphins lost 27-14 to the New York Jets in London as they are now 1-3. The team just could not get it going and got off to another slow start. Looking at this team right now, there is nothing that they can depend on each and every game. And because of that, this team does not have any identity. Immediately after Sunday’s game, the attention of NFL fans went right to Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. He has been at the helm of this team since 2012 and has a below .500 record (24-28) and has never made the playoffs as the coach of the Dolphins. He is the head coach and the head coach accepts the responsibility of the wins and losses. And because of that, he is out of a job. So what is there to even say about the Joe Philbin era in Miami and what it even meant in Miami?
Joe Philbin was the offensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers before coming to South Beach to coach. And because of the innovative offense he helped co-author with Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. The prolific offenses that he helped create led the Dolphins to think he was the man for the position in Miami. But ever since he has been there, the offense has not been able to get it going at all. Miami has not cracked the Top 10 one time since he has been at the helm of this team and that can be attributed to a few things. One of the biggest things he will have to accept is his inability to get consistency out of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The fourth-year quarterback has been at the helm of the team since his rookie season. He has had some good games for the team over his time there in Miami. But unfortunately he has had some games that have made you scratch your head. He has talent, just has not been able to put it all together consistently. And for a guy that they just gave a huge contract to, they were expecting more. But unfortunately the inconsistency continues. The excuse can be made that the talent around him is not great or has not shown up (Mike Wallace comes to mind), but there is no excuse for some of the things that he has or has not done. And his development falls squarely on the shoulders of Philbin.
But along with Philbin’s inability to get to Tannehill, it appeared that he has had a problem reaching this whole team during his tenure. The performance of his team is a huge indication of how they have performed under him. The Dolphins have got some wins that no one expected under Philbin. And in those wins, it seemed that the team was dialed in and ready to make a run to the playoffs. But as soon as people start believing in them, they come out the next week and drop a dud. And it seems like that is the pattern that has been consistently there with Philbin at the helm. Unfortunately, this speaks to a lack of control of the team for him. We all remember the circus that was the Jonathan Martin situation. That was just a glimpse into how out of touch he was with his team and it seems that he has not been very in touch with them for a while. And with him not being very familiar with his team, he allows instances like Suh reportedly calling his own plays to slide. To top it all off, Suh received no punishment for going rogue on the field. That, in a nutshell, tells us how players feel about him there in South Beach. Not one player has stepped up to Suh and said anything to him about him going rogue on the field. And if that was a team that had the respect of their head coach, then a player would say something. But instead, there is deafening science. The team showed right then and there they did not respect him at all.
Philbin’s era can be categorized as one of big expectations but lower realities. The team was expected to get better, but never seemed to make that leap to the next level. And based on what we have seen year after year coupled with the lackluster effort of this team, it was time to make a change. Heading into the bye week is the perfect time to let Philbin go and mercifully end his time as head coach in Miami.