Joe Philbin did something we haven’t seen him do very much since taking over as the Miami Dolphin’s Head Coach. With a few moments left in the Dolphins 30-9 blowout victory over their bitter rival New York Jets, Philbin flashed a brilliant smile and breathed a sigh of relief.
The players and Philbin were seen laughing, talking, and rejoicing in the later stages of their total domination of the Jets. The smiles were earned by Miami in every facet of the game on Sunday. Most notably, the special teams led by coach Darren Rizzi, dominated as they executed a successful onside and minutes later Jimmie Wilson blocked a punt which was recovered by Olivier Vernon for a touchdown. Vernon also blocked a field goal attempt against the Jets to hold New York scoreless heading into the second half.
Offensively, the Dolphins have been solid under first year offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. Sherman and quarterback Ryan Tannehill have had very few speed bumps during the installment of a new system which is likely attributed from Tannehill playing for Sherman last year at Texas A&M.
Tannehill went down with a minor hip and knee injury against the Jets, but back-up Matt Moore stepped in admirably and moved the offense efficiently. Moore had a beautiful touchdown pass to tight end Anthony Fasano in the corner of the end-zone to dash any hopes of a Jets comeback. Tannehill likely will take his spot back though as ESPN’S James Walker reported Thursday that the rookie took all the first team snaps in preparation for Sunday’s showdown in Indianapolis against fellow rookie QB Andrew Luck. This news probably has Philbin cracking a slight smile too.
Joe Philbin also saw his running game improve from previous weeks as Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas split the load against a weary Jets run defense to display an effective run game. Bush and Thomas combined for a respectable 101 yards against New York. Philbin would most likely want a tad bit more production, but Bush was held back in the Jets game due to the lopsided score while trying to avoid an unnecessary injury in a heated rivalry game
Defensively, Miami’s front four played great as they have all season. Jets running back Shonne Greene was repeatedly stopped for little or no gain. The secondary also played good as they harassed quarterback Mark Sanchez with their blitzes and coverages. Jimmie Wilson came up with a huge sack while Chris Clemmons intercepted a ball on the goal line against the Jets. Cornerback Nolan Carrol has also been a pleasant surprise the past few games as he is visibly improving each week. The Dolphins are making quite a name for themselves week after week with their stout run defense and ever improving secondary play.
All of these factors, improvements, and revelations over the past few weeks have the Dolphins on cloud nine as their victory on Sunday put them at 4-3 and above .500 for the first time all year. The Dolphins are a win away against the Colts this Sunday from being tied at 5-3 with the New England Patriots for first place in the AFC East.
How could Philbin not be smiling with all he has accomplished so far as a rookie HC. Philbin out coached the always loud Rex Ryan and former Miami HC Tony Sparano(now Jets OC). Their schedule looks very manageable with games against Indianapolis, Tennessee, and Buffalo over the next three weeks. Miami SHOULD, i’m saying SHOULD be favored in each of those three games the way they are playing right now, but most people know the lack of respect Miami gets in the media over recent years.
After this three game stretch, Miami could very well be at 7-3. With a record like that, Philbin should have his team in a great position to win the AFC East or earn an AFC Wild Card spot. All these exciting revelations have Dolphin fans smiling. It is easy to see then why Joe Philbin, the creator, is smiling too!