Dec 22, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin on the sideline during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Dolphins 19-0. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins Coaching Could Be Problem


 

The Miami Dolphins fan whipping boy for the last few years has been Jeff Ireland.  Failed 2nd round picks, something that has plagued Miami all the way back to God knows when, and non-impactful draft classes all around had put the finger squarely on Ireland’s forehead.  Ireland is gone but Joe Philbin remains.

Last year Ireland went on a spending spree and wound up one game short of the playoffs after the team folded it in the final two weeks of the season.  In part, it cost Ireland his job.  The question now becomes one of talent and coaching.  Philbin will not receive Ireland’s hand picked draft class but instead will have more input with new GM Dennis Hickey.  If the Dolphins fail this season, the finger only points to Philbin.

Philbin is entering his third season as the Dolphins head coach and the learning curve is out the window.  Stephen Ross may publicly love his coach, his hand picked coach, but fans are not so easily comforted with a coach who doesn’t seem to understand the entirety of his job.  This year more than any, Philbin will need to rely on his coaching staff.  His career could benefit from some changes.  Consider that Mike Sherman was “forced” from his job and Philbin almost quit over it.  Bill Lazor the new OC now holds Miami’s offense in his hands and perhaps Philbin’s head coaching career.

Lazor has a specific type of offensive system in mind but he may not have the parts to put it into motion.  He has a mobile QB with deep ball accuracy issues, a RB committee that can’t work without a line, and a line that is still be tinkered with on the right side.  Lazor isn’t a West Coast coach per se’ and he is not the pass happy Chip Kelly style either.  He is somewhere in between who likes to run the ball to set up the pass.  He has talent on the team but until the line is playing to a level of consistency it won’t matter what his philosophy is.

Many consider the hiring of Lazor as the most important free agent acquisition.  The same could be said about new offensive line coach, John Benton.  Benton did very well for a Texans offense but in Miami he has pieces to work with.  For now.  With Jim Turner being released from his job, another of Philbin’s guys, Philbin is going to have to rely on that coach to get his offense up and running so to speak.

Defensively little has changed in terms of coaching but last years unit finished nowhere near their preseason projections.  This year they have lost Paul Soliai but overall the unit really seems to have gotten better talent.  On paper.  Coaching will play a big role in their progress as well and there is no question Miami needs to get much better in the middle of their linebacking corp.

Overall we tend to focus on the changes in player personnel but this year the success of this team or their failure will clearly lie on the man who is running it all.  Joe Philbin.

Tags: Bill Lazor Dennis Hickey Joe Philbin Miami Dolphins

  • John Smith

    They blew it in the off season. The OL was obviously the problem with the team. You can be the best coach on the planet and it won’t help if the team can’t block. Once your stuck with the personnel, there is nothing you can do. The time to make decisions on personnel is BEFORE the season starts. The coaches felt comfortable that Martin would be able to hold down the Left tackle position – WRONG! Coaches were dead wrong and it cost them the season. Had nothing to do with the play calls.

    Now as it is obvious to everyone what they need to fix. Fins aren’t working hard enough to adequately stock the OL and we are looking at the same results as last year. You cannot expect to draft a rookie that is going to change that. If they don’t find some trade bait within the team to bring in some quality on the OL – not only are they not going to make the playoffs but they are going to be the worst team in the division as well. The Jets and Bills are improving and at this point this Fins are not.

    • Pentax Shooter

      You don’t “stock” the OL like you stock a river with trout. There is still the draft, and trades. 2 recent OL draft picks – Jake Long and Mike Pouncey – performed well their rookie years.

      OL woes were exacerbated by RT17 sometimes holding the ball too long, and Sherman idiotically calling slow-developing plays despite the OL’s poor performance. A coach has to adjust to his personnel, and Sherman did not do that, so it had plenty to do with the play calls.

      • Miami Jules (Julian)

        I concur here too… I did do a half assed analysis off a tape which catalogs all of last year’s 58 sacks (it was painful to watch again) and what I thought was sort of confirmed again, and that is that even on those plays when Tannehill held the ball for longer than 3.5 seconds, he already had many times, a rapidly collapsing pocket with doubtful ability despite his height, to see anything past his center’s helmet

    • LostSok

      Not ‘working hard enough’? That utterly makes no sense. They’ve signed three guys and should get two more in rounds 1-5 of the draft with little problem. I suspect they’ll sign 2-3 undrafted rookies (and in this class, they might get guys with at least the skills of Yeatman)…and there’s still usable names in free agency, ala McKinney.

      If they fail to add quality talent in the draft, perhaps your Chicken Little rant will make sense, but right now…not so much. Saying “They blew it this off season” is just outlandish. We’re not even halfway THROUGH the off season!

      • John Smith

        I guess Ive been around a while. I was referring to last off season. The totally blew it. Had a pretty good team and couldn’t pass protect or run the ball because they didn’t add a couple more pieces.
        I am ok with the left side to the center. Right guard and tackle and tight end and line depth is . And spare me with the 2 or 3 undrafted rookies as well as the draft. We MIGHT get 1 bluechip to use as a starter MAX.
        In one year they have basically have to go from having one of the worst OL’s
        in the league to at least remotely formidable in one off-season. I
        suggest there is ALOT of work to do.

        • John Smith

          Also Tannyhill didn’t hold the ball too long. He didn’t have any time and no receivers were getting open quick enough. Was he perfect on timing??? No BUT he didn’t even have a chance.

    • Mike Miller

      that’s the talk of the earth someone who thinks of Romans built in a day and he’s doing a great job what do you want to be like some junkie that has no control over money and spend everything and hope it works they got the big piece of the puzzle in Albert they got a very good young up-and-coming offense of lineman and Shelly now playing out in the draft and see what they get the guys coming in they get a look at them and then there’s still guys like Gavin Joseph intravel war and Eric Winston available to sign in there be more veterans available diligence patience knowledge

    • txmedic5

      a lot of last years issues with the line came due to Tyson Clabo’s early struggles by the time he improved Martin had quit. I see what Ireland was trying to do though. Last years FA crop of lineman wasn’t really good, especially compared to this year. He would have had the chance to land Albert for free instead of a trade and he had set the team up to be able to address the line this off-season. Last years line was a disaster but remember, we lost Martin, Incognito, had to trade for McKinnie, benched Clabo and had to bring him back, then relied on Garner and Sam Brenner. Had Martin not gone off the deep end we could have kept him at RT with McKinnie at LT would have still had Incognito. Regardless it’s over with and done.

  • Charles

    When did Philbin nearly quit over Mike Sherman firing? Did we miss something.

    • Ripp

      There were reports that Philbin was so against firing Sherman that Ross told him if he did not like it, he could leave. No idea if Philbin considered it though.

    • Mike Miller

      when they were trying to fire Sherman Philbin balked at it and said that he wasn’t going to do it and then finally he gave in and did do it was all over the news you did miss something

    • txmedic5

      There was a report from a local paper that said Philbin was so pissed he had to fire Sherman he was considering resigning. Sherman, according to the report convinced him not to that the other coaches would lose their jobs as well. For what it’s worth.

  • Johnny

    You can’t expect “Philbin’s” rookie class to have an immediate impact ..

    • txmedic5

      I agree with you completely here. I would guess that Philbin will play at least half of this draft class.

      • Johnny

        If it’s true… This will be his first year wil his input on the draft… So unless he drafts Clowney, you can’t expect a rookie to make an immediate impact… Except for maybe his 1st round Right Tackle…

    • txmedic5

      well he definitely better get more out of HIS draft class than Ireland’s.

  • Chris

    Is this where we start getting our picket signs for the “Fire Philbin!” campaign that will most assuredly start this season?

  • Pentax Shooter

    “He has a mobile QB with deep ball accuracy issues”

    Does RT17 have those accuracy issues outside of Mike Wallace? It seems to me that RT17 was OK throwing deep to other players, especially Hartline. I only watched 8 games last year, so I missed a lot. Wallace does not adjust well to balls in the air, and he drops catchable passes, so for me it’s hard to condemn Tannehill. I haven’t seen any charts, though.

    • Miami Jules (Julian)

      I concurr

  • Miami Jules (Julian)

    I was never an Ireland fan, but last year, in the wake of all the FA signings, although I had HUGE concerns about choices made during the draft, I wanted to and did keep my mouth shut about him and decided to give the former GM the benefit of a doubt… I didn’t even have a problem when Ross gave Ireland the extension in like week 3. It wasn’t until the Phins started to set a record breaking pace for sacks allowed, when I could not contain myself anymore back in mid October… wow, I laid off Ireland for a month and a half….LOL. The main target for my anger however, which remained in place until season’s end, was Mike Sherman, who endangered his protégée by constantly calling for 7 step drops when he should’ve been doing anything else but.
    Now, I am going to give Philbin the same courtesy I gave Ireland last year… How long will it last? As long as I can and hopefully I will again become a fan of his for a long time to come. I do have a problem with all those who “have a system” and fail to adapt to the roster’s strengths of their team. Shula coached ground n pound, finesse offense, or whatever. He coached the rifle arm of Dan Marino as well as the lesser armed but highly intelligent game manager Griesse was… now that’s a coach! Being that I am so spoiled as I date myself in the process of this narration, I have to stop setting up the bar at the Shula level, so I just hope that Philbin is the Jimmy Stewart like coach, who speaks softly but can make things happen when they have to I thought he was at one time… I have to believe, I’m a Dolpins fan.

    • Pentax Shooter

      I wonder if Philbin was too close to Sherman, since (reportedly) Philbin considered Sherman as a mentor.

      • Miami Jules (Julian)

        Pentax, that remains a possibility if not a probability for sure, and as I mentioned above, I continue to have a bit of a problem with all coaches who are more about “their” system than they are about working with the talent on a team (may be a generational thing), BUT I will be rooting for Philbin until I can root no more because it would become a denial of reality… know what I mean?

      • txmedic5

        We are going to find out but I hope he doesn’t shackle Lazor with the same style.

  • Ripp

    I thought there should have been a coaching change after this past season. Just way too many failures. Player development probably be the biggest one. Charles Clay is the only player that has taken a significant step forward. On Offense they were too predictable, specially with the Go-GO Go issue and even when it was pointed out they were too stubborn to change things up. On defense, while the got good amount of sacks, the pass pressure was never consistent and the run defense has been on a constant decline ever since this coaching staff came into town. I also have a hard time figuring out why they could not get Jordan more playing time. Yes he struggled against the run but Vernon was not much better plus they could have squeezed him in a few more times at LB being that the LBs were playing so poorly. Which again goes back to player development. I could go on but whats the point, they are here for at least another year. I just hope they figure it out.

  • Mike Miller

    remember last year being at the Jets game,watching our season come to an end and saying to myself my friends around me do you see anybody upset, you see anybody yelling at anybody is anybody inspiring anybody they were all just hanging their heads with their hands of there hips and it was sad there is no life there was nobody fighting for this team including the coaching staff they need a good strong veteran leadership and I hate to say this but I’m not sure Philbin can inspire I don’t like coaching changes every two years but I need to see players wanna fight for women and believe in the guy that’s leading them there.although I must say with Louis Delmas and Cortland Finnegan that gave us two fiery kind of guys to fire up and inspire the people around them so those are two good moves.now if we draft CJ Mosley that would give us a intelligent Supreme Leader to go with the fiery guys a defensive kick ass.now in the third year if Ryan Tannehill starts to lead and be that motivational kinda guy in the huddle along with a positive veteran like moreno..we r going in the right direction

    • txmedic5

      That is my biggest contention with this team. They lack leadership from their coaching. I have a hard time rallying around a coach who reads off index cards. The players are not only not motivated by their coaches, they walk off the field with little to no concern. That is on the coaches. Teams play like their coach. Bill Belichick’s teams are just like him, so are Tom Coughlins’, and John Fox’s both in Denver and Carolina. Miami is like Philbin. They are finesse and not in your face.

  • DragonFly34

    This current head coach Philbin doesnt know whats going on in his own locker room, how is supposed to know whats going on the football field? He was going to quit over Sherman’s release? Sorry I have no confidence in Philbin, who can’t see the forest for the trees. Another 8-8?