When Bill Parcells was hired to further squander the Miami Dolphins, he chose Tony Sparano as the head coach. While it was Sparano who paced the sideline there was no question that the team belonged to Parcells. The entire Miami Dolphins roster was rebuilt to suit what Parcells himself saw as progressive or in this case regressive. Sparano was only tasked with making it work. He did not. Looking back over the four years that Sparano walked the field it’s clear that at no time was this team ever truly his.
The same can not be said about Joe Philbin not at all. In fact after an 0ff-season of change the burden of turning this franchise around has gone from Jeff Ireland’s shoulders to the shoulders of the coaches. Specifically Joe Philbin.
This is Philbin’s team. It’s his style of offense and defense. He brought his own coaches into Miami when he was hired. Not the ones that were given to him by Parcells or Ireland. The offensive philosophy is his and it shows in the hiring of Mike Sherman as the OC. From the style of play to the style of practice to the QB that is tasked with it’s execution. These Miami Dolphins are a mold of what Joe Philbin has become after years of being the “other” coach.
Philbin impressed many fans with the way he conducts himself as seen on HBO’s Hard Knocks. He is to the point, meticulous, but at the same time respectful. He treats the players like players and it is why he was respected in Green Bay and why eventually if he hasn’t already, will have the respect of the Miami Dolphins players. Yet the question is this. Can he make this team into a winner?
Surely it goes a long way into the development of QB Ryan Tannehill and thus far many believe that he will break out this season. I would be more cautious and predict improvement instead of “breakout”. What inevitably will tie the Dolphins to success is how well Philbin and his staff can teach the players. How well they can instill in them the execution it takes to be proficient. Not on one down out of four, not in one quarter of four, but all four quarters and all three phases of the game. Philbin must make them believe they can be more.
This past off-season the Dolphins were one of the most active teams in the NFL and so much turnover usually has the opposite effect on fixing an ailing team. Too many new faces can often create distrust in a locker room. It can can create internal friction as new ego’s begin to clash. It’s something that the team will have to juggle. Jeff Ireland however went out and bought the best he could find. A new RT and a new starting LT. A new TE and a new starting RB. Two new starting WR’s and as many changes at the LB and CB positions as well.
These players are all mostly veterans but veterans don’t often immediately impact a new team that again falls on the shoulders of the coaches to instill the proper training ethic needed to succeed. This year the Dolphins head coach will enter his second season and he will be faced with a fan base that has long ago abandoned faith and are hanging on by threads. The Dolphins can ill afford to have another down season regardless of how long they are in the hunt for the playoffs. They need improvement that can be measured not opinionated. They need touchdowns and wins in that column. Philbin is the man who holds that task to get them ready early.