The Miami Dolphins head coach has made very few rookie HC mistakes this year. Maybe a TO at the wrong time but nothing compared to the mistakes made by Tony Sparano or Cam Cameron. Yet when the game was on the line this past Sunday, two of his number one defenders spent the first 8 plays of the game winning drive on the sideline.
Cameron Wake and Jared Odrick spent half of the New England final drive on the sideline. In his explanation, DC Kevin Coyle explained that it was part of the rotation to keep them ready and refreshed. During his time with the media, Joe Philbin backed the decision by concurring with the rotation process.
The problem is, no one is buying it. Not at all. The drive before? Maybe, two drives before? O.k. The last drive when the game is out of reach? Sure no problem, we can buy that. The last drive when you need a stop to have a chance to win? Nope sorry. You screwed up and you should man up. There is simply no justification to keeping your two starting defenders on the sideline. None.
The Patriots ran more in that series than they had the entire game and it simply didn’t work for the Dolphins. RB Ridley accounted for the majority of that drives yards and by the time Wake and Odrick entered the game on that final drive the Patriots had a short field goal attempt waiting.
The Dolphins have spent much of the last decade being ridiculed from every personnel move, every coaches decision, every draft pick, and free agent. The GM’s have been on short leashes and the owners have been damned in effigy. So it’s no surprise that fans and media alike are not buying the excuse that it was a rotation situation.
They screwed up. Someone forgot to tell the two DE’s to get on the field and make a play. Someone forgot to tell them that the rotation was off. Someone screwed up.
Very few coaches in the NFL or in college will come out and say “yeah we screwed that up”. Very few. In this case it’s really no different. Kevin Coyle blew it, he covered it and Philbin, who won’t toss his coach under the bus, simply agreed with the coaches decision. Unfortunately, that does little to ease the minds of fans who are looking for any sign that this team will be able to compete in the near future on a regular basis.
As well as Ryan Tannehill has played as a rookie, there are still a lot of people who believe that his stats (which are at the bottom of the NFL) are pointing to yet another draft bust. When the coaches make a mistake and back-track on it, it’s simply adding more kerosene to the fire. It’s really nothing more than a catch-22. You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.
In this case, there really is no explanation because there is no real believable answer. If we are to believe that the rotation was designed, is designed to get guys like Cameron Wake and Jared Odrick some rest, then what we really need to ask is why are they not conditioned well enough to be on the field when it matters the most. Another question that I’m sure would not meet expectations from the media or the fan base.