Is Joe Philbin the guy? Is he the coach of the future who can bring the Miami Dolphins back to prominence? Depending on who you think is responsible for the team’s failures (usually Jeff Ireland) your answer may differ.
If you’re an Ireland-hater, which most of you are, then you may think it’s amazing that this team got eight wins with “that idiot picking players.” Me, on the other hand, I see it a little differently. According to reports, players are starting to lose respect for Philbin, and it may be for good reason. Philbin does not have the strong personality an NFL head coach needs to manage personalities and egos. This is why he exiled players who possessed egos and personalities, such as Karlos Dansby and Brandon Marshall, resulting in a leaderless team.
After the collapse down the stretch, my mind has serious doubts that Philbin is a good head coach. He could not lead his men to one victory in two games that meant the most to his season, both games coming right after a seemingly franchise-changing win against the New England Patriots. The team seemed flat and unmotivated — much like Philbin himself — for two straight games.
A Jim Harbaugh or Pete Carroll would have whipped his team into shape by halftime of the Buffalo Bills game, the first of the two season-ending losses. Good coaches don’t accept mediocrity, and if mediocrity presented itself in those final two games while I was coach it would have been placed on the bench.
But could Philbin have done this? Was he handcuffed with what he could do due to the players that Jeff Ireland provided him? This is a compelling side of the argument because we really don’t know. There is no doubt that the Dolphins possessed talent, but there were also holes all over the roster — the most glaring at offensive line and running back.
Both Philbin and Ireland were just average during their time together, and just before Ireland and the Dolphins “mutually” parted ways, reports were surfacing that there was tension between the two. This, along with a fanbase demanding change, is why Ireland is gone. Philbin got the nod of approval from Stephen Ross due to his shorter track record of mediocrity.
Philbin could very well have learned from some of his mistakes he’s made in his two years in Miami and thrive with a new GM who provides him with the right players, but until that happens you have to assume that Philbin will bring the same plate with the same old bland meal to the table.
Philbin used the excuse that the person providing him with players, Ireland, wasn’t doing his job to keep his own head off the chopping block. Now, Philbin won’t have any excuses. His team full of obedient dogs that must walk away from their master with their tails tucked between their legs if they don’t produce what he wants to keep his job after 2014. He better hope the scared culture with no leadership he brought to the locker room doesn’t translate to the field as it did in the end of the 2013 season.