Time To Consider A Phins Coaching Change


No, this is not a knee jerk reaction.  This is a realization.  I like Joe Philbin as a head coach but unfortunately it may be time for him to leave the upper ranks and return to simpler coaching duties.  Not now of course but at the seasons end should things not turnaround.

I know he isn’t getting the play out of his players that you should think he would and today’s loss to the New England Patriots could just as easily be handed over to some of the worst penalties I have ever seen in a single game.  A pass interference, a phantom hold on a 3rd down incompletion, another hold, and of course the swatted ball on an attempted recover of a fumble.  Yes those played a huge key role in the Dolphins second half implosion as each gave the Patriots points and changed the course of the game.

But I’m not here to talk about the referees.  What sealed it for me and my opinion on Philbin and maybe to some degree QB Ryan Tannehill was the last six minutes of the game.

It’s hard to make a 360 degree turn on a coach that you support in a six minute time frame and considering my opinion actually changed in the span of 3 minutes makes it harder to justify but what I saw was pretty convincing.  There was no urgency with six minutes left and a 10 point deficit.  No sense of determination and the play calling left me not only scratching my head but made me realize that this team simply doesn’t have what it takes to win ball games and when I look at the field of talent on this team I can only point to the coaching staff.

Six minutes down by ten and the Dolphins have a delay of game penalty?  They came close to getting two more.  Where is the urgency in that?  Sure a lot of that is on Ryan Tannehill but in reality, you play how you are coached and it’s obvious now that there is no sense of urgency from our coaching staff.  Perhaps there will be if their jobs are on the line.

The Dolphins approach in that final six minutes doesn’t have to be deep thrown balls on every play or even out routes to work the sidelines but getting to the line with 14 seconds left on the play clock and taking it down to 3 seconds is inexcusable to say the least.

In addition and this is something we have seen from the Dolphins in almost every game this year and especially in the four consecutive losses.  There is little to no visible half-time adjustments.  None.  The Dolphins played a near perfect first half where they ran for well over 100 yards.  The Patriots adjusted to take away that option early but they soon moved to a more pressure/blitz heavy approach.  The Dolphins not down at all but in fact still up by seven never really went back to the running game and when they did, they actually gained good positive yardage.  Only to abandon it once again.

That is coaching.  A second and two on an opening second half drive deep in New England territory and once again the team not only fails to deliver they take an unnecessary sack that leads to a missed field goal. Why not pound the ball deep when it’s what got you there?  Coaching again.

If the issue isn’t Philbin then it has to be Mike Sherman and his poor play calling.  The problem here is that Philbin is not going to fire his coaching mentor.  It’s because of Mike Sherman that Philbin is a coach in the NFL and there is no situation that I see where Philbin calls Sherman into his office and sends him packing.  Which is unfortunate because doing so may actually change the offenses tempo and the change may save Philbin his job.

I stood somewhat stiffly by the side of Tony Sparano until that final season of his and I see things I genuinely like in Philbin.  He has the respect of his players and runs a very solid schedule in Miami.  The problem is that Philbin may be over his head and again maybe it’s not Philbin but Sherman but regardless it’s Philbin’s responsibility to fix what ails the team and so far he has not come close to doing that.

Others will point at the GM and I understand the argument.  Ireland has overseen four years of drafts entirely and two HC’s who couldn’t get it done but I believe Ireland is right for the job.  He has a good eye for talent and this team, on paper is LOADED with talent.  Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, Lamar Miller, a very tough defense and to some degree maybe someday a Ryan Tannehill.  But these players are not being used right and the inability of the coaches to use them right is frustrating and that is not something I blame Ireland for.

The Dolphins are reportedly in great shape financially next off-season where it’s expected to be an offensive line heavy draft.  The catch here is this.  If Stephen Ross and Jeff Ireland keep Philbin that draft will be for lineman that fit Philbin’s system.  If Philbin loses his job at the end of 2014 then the Dolphins could replace him with a coach who wants a different style of Oline play.  Which makes the end of this year more telling and more realistic to get rid of Philbin if he can’t improve.

The Dolphins have a defense that can move from a 3-4 to a 4-3 or vice versa with minimal additions but the Oline is built to play fast and athletic instead of road grading.  That is a bigger concern entering 2014 and again why I think that barring a historic turnaround the Dolphins should consider replacing the HC this year.  Some again will argue that Ireland should go as  well and I am far from that wagon.  Ireland will be one of the top GM’s in this league when it’s said and done and I would prefer that Miami be the team he manages when that time comes.  Finding the right HC will make that vision so much easier.

Is Philbin the right guy?  I know longer can say that with any degree of certainty.  Nor can I say that about his assistants either.  What I can say with certainty is it’s time to at least explore the possibility that what is best for this team could come in the form of a coaching change at seasons end.  Philbin doesn’t seem to have the ability to instill a killer instinct in his team and that is needed in this day of pass happy offenses.  That is on the shoulder of the coaches and frankly, it’s not happening.

Last week it was reported that Stephen Ross had a closed door meeting with Ireland and Philbin…he may need to do it again because it didn’t work.

Tags: Joe Philbin Miami Dolphins MIke Sherman

  • SanDiego

    Knee jerk reaction, it is more than just coaching issues. I am as p’off as you but canning Philben is not the answer. The O-line is a disaster, the defense is a shell of what it was last year and Mike Wallace is the bust of all busts.

    • Darrell Pierce

      True, but coaching issues do exist. Why not feed Lamar or Thomas the ball on that 3rd & 2? The way we were running the ball I think we have a good chance of getting it. Instead we pass and take a bad sack for the 2nd week in a row. Of course, if Stone Hands Wallace catches his pass inside the five a few plays ahead of this, none of it matters. I just think Sherman is lost and Philben looks to be more concerned about every little detail and not enough about the big picture. Overall, I think we are just cursed for having Ross as an owner.

      • SanDiego

        I think the issues fall more towards Sherman. I never liked him as a head coach or as a coordinator.

      • txmedic5

        Honestly, if you all knew half of what went through Ross’ mind and what he is trying to do you would all love this guy. BEST owner bar none since Joe Robbie. Fact is this guy LOVES the Dolphins and he feels the same pain as we do when they lose. I know this as a 100% fact from those I know with the team. This guy does A LOT and in fact is one of the most respected owners in the entire NFL. His biggest downfall was listening to Mike Dee the former CEO and the fact that the team isn’t winning. Hard to overcome those black eyes in the public eye.

    • txmedic5

      has to start with the coach though. Would you feel more comfortable having a solid offensive line and still losing like this? Coaching can’t figure out how to use Wallace, Hartline, or Miller…it’s sad but true. Wouldn’t fire him now but if this continues then at the end of the year that’s the first place I look.

    • Rick Diaz-Albertini

      We were running well, why abandon it? especially when you know how week our pass protection is. Also there is a problem with how the coaches use wallace, they try to use him like any other receiver. Remember that one game when it seemed they had a specific plan for wallace, he got over 100 yards and helped the team. For some reason it seems that miami does not know how to use player talents to their strengths (reggie bush, brandon marshall)

  • tpl

    I think you have a point on Philbin not firing Sherman, and if Philbin refuses to, then you have to fire Philbin. Miami was running the ball great in the first half and why did Sherman move away from that? I am not convinced Tannehill is an NFL QB either.

  • Fins4ever

    All good points. The only urgency I saw came from N.E. when they had us on our heels. The quick pace, no huddle….I thought JP was going to install similar tactics. Have to agree, PARTICULARLY the last 6 minutes…it seemed as though they were just going through the motion.

    FWIW, 360 is a complete circle. think you mean 180, polar opposites, and no, it isn’t impossible. I lost faith in Sherman during the end of the Browns game despite barely hanging on for a win.

  • Joe Public

    You think? This guy sucks, he is a punk .Fire him and Sherman NOW! He does not get in the refs ass and they run all over him, He is to meek and mild to b a HC. I wanted Mike Mccoy, young, energentic and attack offense, not some washed up ex OC who didnt call plays. Miami has the players just not a good coach. FIRE TODAY! Admit u made a mistake hiring this clown and Sherman and move on, dont wait, he wont get better. As a fan I rather make a change and try something. FIRE HIM!

  • Joe Public

    Dont worry Philbin will fix it next week. Serious? HE IS OVER HIS HEAD. Calm, sure, tooooo calm. When we have a bad first half he cant adjust, when we have a good first half the other team adjusts and Philbin is staring into space like a idiot

  • Joe Public

    Philbin would screw up game plan if Belichek and Sean Peyton put one together for him. U think green bay was his offense? Please Mike macarthy was not stupid enough to let Philbin screw it up. Change NOW!

  • jta5

    No adjustment at halftime, Pats walked all over them second half, coaching ineffective, when they lose to Tampa which will have a new coach, Dolphins will then be 3 and 6 and heading to a high draft pick with a new head coach for next year.

  • Marc DiFrancesco

    Stop blaming Wallace for not catching the ball. Aside from the fact that most of the passes to him are usually off target (no rhythm between an incredibly speedy receiver and quarterback), this is NOT a talent issue. It is a MORALE issue. It is the coaching staff that is responsible to keep the players at their best. We have boat loads of talent. Take a look back at all the players we discarded who were premier players prior to their arrival and we call them “busts” and then they leave for other teams and are great again (Marshall, Bush… and now Wallace). A little suspicious to me. I believe at this point, dumping any players is the wrong move. The right move is coaching staff changes (as far up as needed to get these players fired up again). Change the attitude. Brady takes a knee with 30 seconds and 3 timeouts at the end of the first half. Why? They are smart… they know they are not playing good football… they know they need to make adjustments and so they go into the locker room and make the adjustments… they get the job done. NOT with the best players, but with the best ATTITUDE! We made NO adjustments (other than abandoning the ONE thing that worked for us – the running game) and spent the last 6 minutes with the WORST time management I have ever seen. Sense of urgency?? Ya think??

  • Don Devine

    I think if anybody goes it has to be Sherman. The Pats were all over the game plan in the second half. Sherman and Philbin both should have been much quicker than me to see that and adapt to it. In this case adaptation meant going back to the very well done run game in the first half. I don’t think firing Philbin is the answer. I think he needs time to fix this. Remember, Miami has been screwed up for a very long time. Its going to be a little while before the fixin’ is done. I believe in Coach P and I believe in Tannehill. Fire Sherman, Ireland, and the conditioning coaches. Keep Philbin.