As the Miami Dolphins continue their search for a new general manager and begin a new era with Bill Lazor as offensive coordinator, one familiar name will return within the organization: none other than head coach Joe Philbin.
The 2013 season was a tumultuous one for the Dolphins. After beginning the season with a 3-0 record, things were shaky from that point on. The Dolphins would go on to lose their next four games before winning another contest. Mired in the up-and-down 8-8 season of the Dolphins was the Richie Incognito–Jonathan Martin situation, which didn’t cool down until the Dolphins went on a late-season rally in hopes of a playoff berth, when they won three-straight games in early December.
As everyone already knows, the Dolphins lost their final two games with an opportunity to clinch a playoff berth. All the Dolphins had to do was win just one of those games. Obviously that was too difficult of a task to accomplish.
Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman and general manager Jeff Ireland were fired. The one key name within the organization that remained after the firings? Head coach Joe Philbin. Philbin was hired after serving as Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator from 2007-2011. During Philbin’s tenure, the Packers advanced to the NFC Championship Game twice, and won the Super Bowl in 2010 spearheaded by an offense led by Aaron Rodgers. In Philbin’s final season with Green Bay, Rodgers won NFL MVP and the Packers finished No. 1 in the NFL in points.
However, since being hired as head coach by the Dolphins in 2012, Philbin’s tenure in Miami has been mediocre at best. The Dolphins finished 7-9 in his first season, before finishing 8-8 in Philbin’s second season in Miami.
With scapegoats Ireland and Sherman gone from the organization, there will be no more excuses from here on out — if the Dolphins don’t reach expectations in 2014 by making the playoffs, Philbin will be at the center of blame, whether that’s fair or not. Ireland, who was heavily criticized during his six seasons as Dolphins general manager, is no longer here to take the brunt of the blame. Sherman, who wasn’t been a favorite of Dolphins fans due to the offense’s lack of improvement during his two seasons in Miami, won’t be in South Florida to be blamed for the offensive line allowing quarterback Ryan Tannehill to be sacked every few plays.
Philbin’s third season in South Florida will be the most important one of his coaching career. If the Dolphins don’t show enough improvement in 2014, it will be Philbin who will be the next one to go.