When the Jonathan Martin abruptly leaving the Miami Dolphins news came out, I knew there was more to the story than met the eye initially. On Sunday as news began to filter out about some of the stuff and the extreme hazing that Martin had suffered from fellow offensive lineman Richie Incognito, to me this made me think of the head coach and his staff. Aside from the fact that Incognito was known to be a bit of an abrasive person going back to his days at Nebraska, to me just as big of story is the fact that what happened shows that head coach Joe Philbin has no control of the Dolphins’ locker room.
Yes, the situation and mess that the Dolphins face is in large part due to a failure on the part of Philbin as the head coach of the team to properly have an awareness of the fact that something was bubbling. This points to a certain lack of awareness and lack of communication with the players on his part. Neither of these are not positive things to say about any head coach and speak badly to his ability of even being a head coach at all in the NFL.
As we learn more about how abusive of a teammate Incognito was towards Martin, aside from what is already being reported, I think back to what we saw last summer during “Hard Knocks” when the Dolphins were the team HBO followed during the training camp in the summer of 2012. In particular, I remember the episode when the Dolphins cut Chad Johnson aka Chad Ochocinco and the way Philbin handled his release did not sit well with some veteran players. As a result, Philbin was forced to create a leadership council, something common amongst NFL teams, which consisted of Jake Long, Reggie Bush, and Karlos Dansby.
It was clear those three were the leaders of the 2012 team and as a result, Philbin could go to them to get the pulse of the locker room. Yet funny enough when this past offseason came none of the three were not re-signed. In many ways this was not surprising given that it seemed like Philbin for whatever reason was not a big fan of any of the three, but ironically enough these were the three who implored Philbin to create the leadership council. And that’s where it is clear that Philbin decided to naively and wrongly turn a blind eye to anything that went on in his locker room.
That’s why it is the fault of Philbin for allowing Incognito to run rampant in the locker room as Philbin made a conscious decision along with general manager Jeff Ireland to let the actual leaders of the team leave as free agents. It is the fault of Philbin for letting someone with the history of Richie Incognito of being a meat-head become a team leader. It is Philbin’s fault that that he and the rest of the Dolphins organization have been caught off guard by what happened and why you know what is now hitting the fan.
All of this clearly speaks to Joe Phiblin not having control of the locker room and for being an incompetent head coach. Tell me, would this have happened with a Jim Harbaugh coached San Francisco 49ers team, a Mike Tomlin coached Pittsburgh Steelers team, or even a Tom Coughlin coached New York Giants team to name a few examples? No it would not. And why would it not have happened? Because those coaches actually have control of their locker room and those organizations are well run, something I can’t say about the Dolphins.