Dec 29, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin prior to a game against the New York Jets at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins End Pathetic Season With Pathetic Finish

There comes a time when being “in contention” for the NFL’s post-season is no longer enough.  Last year the Miami Dolphins managed to mathematically stay alive until week 16.  They improved on that this year by one week.  They improved on their record by one game.  Guess what?  It doesn’t matter.  The Miami Dolphins are once again going to sit at home and watch the playoffs as they limp out of their season.

Last week against the Buffalo Bills the Dolphins put up a big fat zero on the scoreboard and this week managed to put up a whooping seven against a Jets team that has given up big games.  They were flat, unaggressive, and showed little determination.  If you didn’t know any better they already had a playoff spot locked up and were simply taking care not to get injured.  In other words…

They were pathetic.

Early on it looked like we were going to see a typical Miami Dolphins game.  The ones where they have opportunities to put the game away but don’t.  They never had an opportunity.  The Jets didn’t beat them, they completely beat themselves.  Ryan Tannehill looked far from his normal self while the defense once again showed up only to prove that the pre-season hype was nothing more than hype.  The Jets pounded the ball at the Dolphins who still had no answers on how to stop it.  They couldn’t stop Geno Smith who looked like a Pro-Bowl QB.  The Dolphins simply looked stagnant and uninspired.

Stephen Ross will not fire his head coach and his head coach will not fire either the defensive coordinator or his offensive coordinator.  I hate to the be the bearer of bad news but it’s the reality of the Dolphins situation.  Make no mistake however, he should seriously consider it.  Philbin will get his pass on the way he held this team together during the Jonathan Martin situation but the truth is he has failed to instill anything in this team.  No fire, no drive, no urgency.  The list could go on and on.

The Dolphins controlled their own fate not once but twice this season and while they didn’t control their fate today the score on the big board at SunLife Stadium clearly showed that the Bengals were going to win and give Miami a simple win and your in situation.  Yet despite the news in Cincinnati the Dolphins didn’t seem to care.

The season was punctuated with today’s play.  They never looked like they were driven to win this game.  No spark, no fire.  They went through the motions like someone was going to hand it to them.  The Jets were fighting for their coaches job, for pride, and for 2nd place in the division.  Miami was fighting for a post-season birth.  Apparently that isn’t enough.  Perhaps Philbin should have reminded the players of the extra bonus money they receive for the extended season.

Focus will now turn to the off-season that rests three months away.  The Dolphins will need to revamp, completely, the offensive line.  Look for new linebackers, and with the number of free agents on their roster they will be looking to fill a few more soon to be holes as well.  While the team will search for answers with personnel they should be looking for answers at coaching.  Today’s game was a representation of their head coach and while Joe Philbin is a well respected man, he fails to ignite his team to play.

The Miami Dolphins are out of the playoffs.  Not because Baltimore won or San Diego lost but because they simply couldn’t play.  That’s the shame of it all.

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  • J holobinko

    What a joke this staff is and qb! Tired of excuses tannehill is not the answer! He had time today and he sucked! Coaching staff needs fired immediately! Tannehill needs released now! Ireland sucks he shouldn’t even be allowed to clean out his office! Mr Ross if u want a winning team get rid of them all right away! Please please I’m begging you!

  • Shakti96

    The dolphins played w no pride. Attitude adjustment needed in the locker room if this are to change.

    • kennyvalentine

      The dolphins played with no heart! That falls back on coaches and players! Serious changes need to be made across the board or next year the results will be the same!!! Please do something positive for this team. I can’t take any more!

  • Elvis

    Yep. I agree. Pathetic, unacceptable, and typical. Here’s why in no particular order.
    Injuries, etc- lost Gibson, Keller, Martin, Patterson, and Incognito. All starters.
    Penalties- It seems that just when you thought they actually converted a big 3rd down, a flag would appear. On Defense they can’t wait to give a fresh set of downs on 3rd and forever.
    Lackadaisical- emotionless. Lack of leadership. Just going through the motions.
    Turnovers- painful.
    OC and DC are out of touch. Need replaced with modern thinkers.
    Pass protection- Offensive line needs rebuilt. Tannehill needs to make quicker decisions and release. Backs and TEs need to block. WRs need to get open quicker.
    Running game- non existent.

    I know I missed some more elements. This team just makes you wanna shake your head on just about every play, offense and defense. I can’t remember how many times the announcers would indicate how the opposing team had never got this many yards or this many points or never done this or that until now. Your team a piece of krap? Play Miami and you will feel much better plus you can set all kinds of records too.

    As a life long fan(47), it becomes evermore difficult each year to support this failing product. Happy New Year!

    • txmedic5

      Modern thinkers is the best way to look at this. The Dolphins have been playing 90′s style football in a 21st century game.

  • Jeff Morris

    Great article!! I’ve been a fan for 43 years and I must admit it is the same story every year since the 90′s. We do have talent almost everywhere but since Shula left besides a few years we have played so lazy, uninspired and inconsistent. How did Ellerbe allow Geno Smith run past him @ the 2 when he had him in his arms? That’s bad coaching!!!!!!!!! We were awesome against Pittsburgh and NE. Couldn’t get rid of us, remember? How do you explain the last 2 weeks? Are most of our players schizophrenic? Maybe 1or 2 but as much as it is tough, it is largely coaching as the majority of the players don’t buy in completely every practice and game and that’s what causes the up and down play. I like Joe Philbin but I think he’s a better suited as an OC and we need to find a real head coach that doesn’t settle for “good efforts”. Screw good efforts. I wouldn’t care much about a real loss but we juts plain don’t show up for 4 qtrs. Like I told my Jet fan friend which he called a blowout that a blowout is when 2 teams show up and the other is far superior. That didn’t happen. And although RT did make marked improvements I always scratch my head after a bad play or a 3 and out and he seems unaffected. That’s what I loved about Marino. He always lit a fire under your ass if you needed it. I know RT is young but Dan was doing that early on. He must light a fire in his gut and if he stays, spend about 500 hours with Mike Wallace and figure out how to thread the needle. That lack right there easily cost us 150 pts this past year easily. I think from the GM down has to go based on the well-known definition of insanity. And as we’re throwing out people, maybe Ross should consider selling the team and focusing what he’s good at. The Dolphins were NEVER a “good enough” team under Shula and I’m not suggesting anything other then for Mr. Ross to consider that a lot of what we need is an attitude, a fire and a lot of passion. Unless we get that Dolfans, we’re going to be “insane” fans. Would love to hear some feedback……

    • Chris

      I want to argue with you that replacing the owner, GM, HC, OC, DC and QB might not be the best plan of action but I just don’t really care enough to do it right now. Haha

      • Jeff Morris

        Would love to hear your take

        • Chris

          Very well. I agree with most of your theories here. With our playoff hopes on the line, Miami failed to show up to the final 2 games of the season. They came out flat, uninspired and out of sync. They only managed to score 7 points in both games combined. We beat plenty of good teams this year. If we could beat Cincy, NE, Indy, etc, how could we get swept by Thad Lewis? How could we lose to the 0-7 Bucs? How could we lose to the Jets at home with the playoffs on the line? A team we had dominated in their stadium just weeks before. The only answer points to coaching. Now, let’s consider that since the start of the season, the team lost Dustin Keller, Brandon Gibson, Richie Incognito, Jonathon Martin, Demetri Patterson, Brian Hartline, and maybe I’m forgetting someone else but some tough losses there. Add in the “Bully Gate” bullshit and I say Philbin didn’t completely fail this season. Was it disappointing? Yes, but I think a lesser coach would’ve ended up much worse. Let’s not compare Joe Philbin in his 2nd season as a HC to Don Shula; one of the greatest coaches in the history of the sport. Bill Belicheck is arguably the greatest coach in the league right now and he didn’t get into the playoffs for four years after he took the position. As for Tannehill, I also say let’s not compare him to Dan Marino, one of the greatest QB’s to ever live. just yet. He’s 25 with very limited experience at the position. Unfortunately, it looked like the moment was just too big for him the last two weeks. This guy seriously needs to work on his long ball. I thought his pocket presence and awareness went up from where it was at the start of the season and we’ve seen improvement from him. I think both Philbin and Tannehill and even Ireland deserve one more season. One more final evaluation and we’ll know for sure if they have what it takes to be champions in this league or if they’re a middle-of-the-pack, .500 trio and nothing more. Where I think we need to make a change is OC. I say this simply by looking at the final score of all of our games. 17-27 points a game isn’t going to cut it when we have Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees walking around. Our points allowed let’s us stay in the games and compete but we simply need to be driving the ball more and scoring a lot more. Way too many 3 and out’s this year. I’d like to see Ireland, Philbin, Tannehill and even Coyle back next year. Replace the OC, revamp this O-Line, get rid of Thomas and bring in someone that can actually block and power through tackles and get some LB’s that can actually tackle and give them one more shot to make the playoffs. If they fail to do so, pull the trigger and clean house.

          • Jeff Morris

            Chris- Good stuff but I am not comparing Philbin to Shula and RT to Marino. Somewhere you have to draw the line as to where player execution stops and lack of proper coaching begins. I find it very hard to believe that the players themselves were not emotionally ready but when you are executing schemes that don’t work how pumped up can you be? I am willing to give Philbin a shot…maybe and also RT but OC and DC must go. Ireland? not sure here. Can you blame him for getting rid of players that are thriving on other teams? or is that coaching? To me it’s coaching. Philbin should call his own plays and get a good aggressive DC. I am so tired of people running through and past us not to mention no real pressure on QB’s of good teams. We need RB’s that can run with passion and block with an attitude. Daniel Thomas plain sucks at blocking and not much better running. Then you say with a good OL what would happen? I think it sucks that Long, Dansby, Burnett, McDaniel and Bush etc are doing much better on other teams. Some of that is scheme but it is also coaching. What made Shula great is he molded his systems around the talent. These guys seem to be trying to do the opposite. RT needs work and to me because of his lack of college starts, he gets 1 more year with a new OC and a running game. If we can accomplish that, then he has no excuses. The one thing I can say after the loss is it’s probably better that we did lose because it will cause analysis and hopefully smart necessary moves. If we made the playoffs, let’s face it we weren’t going anywhere with no run D, no run game and allowing more sacks than anyone ever so this loss, although painful should work to our advantage because we didn’t have the results to get there and prosper. Let’s see what unfolds and let’s keep chatting. I appreciate your feedback.

          • Chris

            “I know RT is young but Dan was doing that early on” sounded like a direct comparison. I’m glad you agree that Philbin and RT deserve another chance, this time with an O-line and a run game. The 2 question marks for me are Ireland and Coyle. Ireland has had ample opportunity to put a solid OLine on the field. He’s failed to do so after several years with the team. Jake Long proved to be injury prone as suspected with a torn ACL in mid December but the Tackles he was replaced with were anemic at best. One more year for him to get the O Line together. If he fails, he should promptly be shown the door. Coyle on the other hand is the biggest question mark for me. The Defense averaged 20.7 Pts/G this year. Whether that’s acceptable or not is debatable but I put a lot of the blame on the front 7 in the second half of the season. The run defense was atrocious and there was hardly any pressure. Even when they were selling out bringing the rush. For a group touting guys like Wake, Vernon, Jordan, Starks and Soliai, this should not have been the case. More often than not, it didn’t really look like a scheme issue up front, but just guys not getting off their blocks and creating pressure. The big problem I had this season was teams being able to convert on 3rd and long, and making it look easy. At this point, I may have a rash from scratching my head so much…Thanks for the feedback as well!

          • Jeff Morris

            Chris- Your points are spot on and well taken. Coyle can’t hold a candle to Mike Nolan whom we let go or scared away. I think the from 4 did well against the run until more film was available for opposing DC’s to evaluate because as you said the 2nd half of the season we were porous as hell not to mention all those dam 3rd and longs we gave up coupled with the endless 3 and outs or stalled drives in the red zone we had. I concede that Ireland and Philbin get 1 more year although he was applauded when we traded up for Dion Jordan but Olivier Vernon stepped up and Jordan was used sparingly. Need to stack up the OL with some talented rookies and some nasty MF’s to set the tone of aggressiveness. We also need a real RB and blocking FB. We haven’t been a run threat on a consistent basis since Ricky.
            Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller can’t block for shit. Ireland can get it done if he is given the green light from Ross with $$$. I mentioned Shula not because the obvious records etc but he was a tough SOB, demanding and he ALWAYS molded the scheme to the talent. The biggest mistake I blame Shula for is all the years we had a great offense and he had Tom Olivadotti as DC with his “Prevent (a win) Defense.” Looking ahead if we add OL’s and RB’s and LB’s I think we will be in the playoffs next year as RT has shown flashes of brilliance (PITT and NE)

            and it’s easy to trash him/them now but I would pay money to know EXACTLY what the hell happened in ALL the games/qtrs we just sucked. I think last week’s loss was more inexcusable which set up yesterday’s debacle. Our team is young and I think the read too many posts about how they were getting in the playoffs. I would say lesson learned to a lot of them and I think largely both sides of the ball got demotivated after the same schemes were being called after they were proved unproductive. That would get any player in a funk very quickly. As Lombardi said. “if you capture your players hearts, they’ll follow you anywhere”. We need a good dose of that. :) Later………..

          • Jeff Morris

            I just found this on another blog; hard to argue with…..

            Here is the Question? What does Philbin bring to the table. He didn’t call
            plays in GB. Wasn’t responsible for Rogers development. He’s not an
            offensive genius. He’s not a defensive guru. Not a master motivator.
            Doesn’t develop talent. doesn’t make great halftime adjustments. And
            doesn’t put together brilliant game plans. So again, what does he bring
            to the table?

            As far as i can tell, all he has done is purge talent from the team because he didn’t want to deal with “strong” personalities.

          • Chris

            Good point. Maybe Philbin should have a meeting with the Bob’s!

          • kabbott44

            Haha love the office space reference :-)

  • Jeff Morris

    I’m not stuck in the past guys, I’m spoiled from the past….

  • txmedic5

    We need forward thinking coaching. This team is poorly coached and that is what shows up on the field of play. Talent? We have a load of talent that hasn’t been properly coached. Sorry Ireland haters but when you put talent on a team you expect that talent to play at that level. Ireland is not to blame for Dion Jordan not being used…the coaches are. Ireland’s big mistake this year was not getting better on the Oline for sure but he brought in a boatload of talent and the coaching simply don’t know how to use it.

    Our coaches are still coaching from the stone age. Where exactly is the West Coast offense? So far all I have seen is an offense void of any identity at all.

  • Patrick Keegan

    Well does anybody know what # is our draft pick is?