It Was Perfect Until It Wasn’t

Dec 15, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA: Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin in the second half of a game against the New England Patriots at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins won 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 15, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA: Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin in the second half of a game against the New England Patriots at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins won 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

I have been relatively quiet over the past week or so in regards to writing articles. Part of the reason was because of the holidays and traveling. Another part of the reason was because I honestly didn’t know what to think of the Dolphins recent collapse.

Three weeks ago, the Dolphins defeated the Patriots in dramatic fashion, throwing the proverbial monkey off their back and cementing their place this season as a team that’s on a hot streak and one you didn’t want to run into as the season was winding down. Indeed, everything was set up perfectly for the Dolphins. It was simple – win the next two games and you are in the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

The Dolphins had the Bills in Buffalo and the Jets in Miami. Two teams who struggled the entire season and who really had nothing left to play for. To add to it, the Bills were down to their backup quarterback and were without the star wide receiver. The Jets had a struggling quarterback, a struggling rookie cornerback, another cornerback with hip problems, and a coach who wasn’t sure if he was going to be back for the 2014 season. Again, everything was set up perfectly for the Dolphins.

The Dolphins flew into Buffalo and played an absolutely horrible game. They struggled to move the ball the entire game and couldn’t stop the Bills offense. They made stupid penalties when it mattered most. They looked like they didn’t want to be there. So, what does one think? On Twitter, I stuck up for the Dolphins. It was a bad game in horrible weather with a team that wasn’t built to win in those conditions. It was a trap game coming off such an emotional high of beating the Patriots. The Dolphins laid an egg and they would be better because of this loss. I went so far as to predict that this loss would help them advance further into the playoffs when they made it. As the rest of Sunday’s games played out, we saw the Ravens get blown out by the Patriots and the Bengals and Chargers win with authority. The Dolphins were still alive and yes, everything was set up perfectly for them going into the final week of the season.

All they had to do was beat the lowly Jets at home in Miami. The Ravens were playing a hot Bengals team with everything to play for and the Chiefs were resting their starters against the Chargers. Even if the Ravens defeated the Bengals, the Dolphins would still have a great shot of getting into the playoffs if the Chargers won.

Then the game started. Again, the Dolphins struggled to move the ball the entire game. Although there were no protection issues on the offensive line, the Dolphins struggled to run the ball. Although they displayed a few flashes of greatness during the game, it was quickly followed up by a drop, a stupid penalty, and/or a head scratching play call. It was frustrating and as the game went on, our playoff hopes slowly diminished.

After the game was over and the Dolphins eliminated from the playoffs once again, all of us were left to sit there in disbelief. How does this team beat the Patriots and then lose to the Bills and Jets? How does this team not come out motivated? How does this team not have a gameplan in place to attack a Jets secondary that was struggling.

This leads me to my next point. It’s on the entire coaching staff and that is why all of them need to be fired along with General Manager Jeff Ireland. It’s time to clean house and start fresh. The coaches, staring with Joe Philbin, couldn’t find creative ways to win the games the past two weeks. They couldn’t come up with gameplans to win the games the past two weeks. They looked lost at the start of the game, in the middle of the game, and the end of the game. There was no fire, no motivation, and no sense of urgency to make things happen.

I am going to write a column in the next day or two detailing all the failures of Philbin and Ireland. We can only hope that Stephen Ross makes the right decision to clean house and begin a new era in this franchise. While it sucks to have yet another head coach, it’s the right thing to do and will be for the betterment of the Miami Dolphins organization.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PhinManiacs

Topics: Joe Philbin, Miami Dolphins, MIke Sherman, Stephen Ross

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  • gofins60

    1. Ireland should have been fired along with Sparano. Parcells was a cancer, and you need to cut out everything involved with him.

    2. Teams can be turned around in less than 3-5 years with a smart HC and a decent GM. Ross should have hired someone who could come in, evaluate the roster, and design an offense and defense around the players’ strengths and weaknesses. Take advantage of the strengths, and work around the weaknesses while you upgrade those positions. Philbin didn’t have the experience or desire to do this. He had a plan, and there was no changing or compromising it. It was bad enough that his offensive philosophy was not a fit for most of the players, but he (and his pick Coyle) had to meddle with the defensive Front 7 schemes and totally ruin a Top 5 rushing defense when all they needed was to upgrade the secondary.

    3. I don’t want to hear that Philbin’s team was in every game but one or two, and that he has them on the right path to dominance. That’s bull. the 1-15 team was in every game but two or three, and played with more heart and passion than anything that Philbin and Ireland has assembled.

    4. Clean house now before any more time is wasted. After two years of Ireland and Philbin working together, they have neglected the o-line, neutered the running game where they now can’t convert on 3rd and inches, and turned a Top 5 rushing defense into a Bottom 5 rushing defense. Philbin’s offense struggles to score points, and they’ve been shut out for long stretches numerous times. They couldn’t even get motivated enough to beat the Jets for a playoff spot. While there were a few bright spots, overall this team is going downhill fast. Time to change.

  • MCMORRIS

    The NFL is built for parity…look at how few playoff spots were set into week 17. This keeps fan interest, ratings, attendance and $$ high. As such a team can improve dramatically in a short period. At the same time you can’t keep following the same recipe if it isn’t working…same talent evaluation, same game plan, same formations and snap counts. Successful teams make small changes continuously in their rosters and in their on-field execution. Mr. Ross has real, quantifiable evidence that his “managers” lack these skills top to bottom. I truly believe this starts with a real GM who can evaluate players, coaches and strategy – a “trusted advisor” to an owner. Ireland is clearly not filling this role so I see the first step as easy.