When Jonathan Martin left the Miami Dolphins locker room on October 28 because of hazing from Richie Incognito and other teammates, much of the football world was left flummoxed.
After this occurred, questions abounded for multiple days, the issue further pushed by the Dolphins listing Martin as injured during the team’s 22-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on October 31 until leaks showed that a full-blown bullying scandal was upon us.
This scandal has included mass amounts of racially-charged texts, hateful voicemails and genuine doubt over who exactly should be held responsible for the actions of Incognito and others within the Dolphins locker room.
Still, with a bye week since the scandal truly exploded, there were few who could have genuinely believed that Miami would not come out firing on Monday night against the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, if only to show that in-house matters would not affect their on-field product.
Instead, the Dolphins came out flat and wound up finding themselves down 15-7 at halftime. This poor effort would continue throughout the second half as the team rushed for a total of two yards all game and wound up losing 22-19. And while the end score did not look very bad, the lack of emotion up and down the team’s sidelines did.
The lack of effort not only shed light on those on the field, but furthermore upon head coach Joe Philbin, as there is little doubt that he has lost the pulse of the Dolphins locker room. Nobody within the locker room can come up with a good justification for what exactly went on with Martin, and their inability to do their job and get properly prepared for Monday night’s game shows an utter lack of professionalism.
While Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was able to justify support for both Phlbin and Martin prior to the loss on Monday night, it is extremely hard to reasonably see how this justification can be continued going forward. Either Martin overreacted a bit or Philbin lost control of what was happening in his locker room, but it is impossible for both to be right.
In this case there, is little doubting that Philbin is the man who should be held responsible, and sooner rather than later. After all, as the Dolphins’ head coach, it is impossible to see how he could not be held responsible for the actions that occur in his locker room, as football coaches are universally renowned for their ability to know all of the things going on around them, even the most minute of details. One could look at this inability to identify a situation that was seemingly bubbling up for multiple weeks and easily question just how attentive the head coach is.
Furthermore, this inattentiveness could be seen as an indictment of his entire tenure as Dolphins head coach, as the team has gone 11-14 since he took over prior to the 2012 season. In more recent terms, the team has all but blown an impressive 3-0 start with four losses in five games, showing that things have been going downhill prior to anything involving Martin becoming public knowledge.
With both locker room control and results going down the drain quickly for Philbin, it is time that he be held responsible by Ross. At the end of the day, he has failed in regard to these two major responsibilities, and not replacing him with someone who is willing to restore order to the team’s locker room will lead to doom and gloom for years to come.