The Miami Dolphins officially announced the hiring of Joe Philbin last night around six o’clock. Today they will roll out the press conference so he can meet the local media for the first time as the Miami Dolphins top man. With the hiring, Philbin becomes the 10th coach in Dolphins history and will be the first coach to inherit a solid if unproductive team since Dave Wannstedt took over for Jimmy Johnson.
When Dave Wannstedt took over the team he had a top ranked defense and a productive ball control run heavy offense. Unfortunately, his draft selections over his entire career netted nothing. Only Safety Yeremiah Bell remains from Dave Wannstedt’s drafts and Vernon Carey remains from Rick Spielman‘s lone draft in 2004 when Wannstedt was stripped of his GM duties.
It’s been all downhill from there.
In 2005 Nick Saban came on board and gutted the team. He had to. The Dolphins were in such poor shape salary cap wise that for the two years Saban was in Miami, his only task was to get that cap under control. Of course he quit before he finished the job. Saban’s lone fingerprint on the franchise was not his draft picks but the gutting of the team to clean up the cap mess.
In 2007 Cam Cameron took over the team with no playmakers, no names, and no quarterback. Something that still has yet to be addressed. His one season saddled the Dolphins with a wasted draft class and no talent to build around. He lost the locker room and at the end of the season, he lost his job. Enter Bill Parcells.
Parcells has been the target of my personal jabs in the mess that has ensued over the last four years. He was supposed to be the savior of this proud franchise and instead, in my opinion, drove the team further into the ground.
Bill Parcells did little in terms of shaping the team. An argument that many will put on Jeff Ireland and again in my opinion, unfairly. Parcells’ inept ability to change with the flowing NFL from a standardized “proto-typical” player to pass happy offensive systems and speedy defenses killed Parcells. His outdated approach to finding players in free agency and the draft caught up with the team and saddled Tony Sparano with personnel that were not equipped to compete once the gimmick of the Wild Cat lost it’s luster.
Not to say that Jeff Ireland is a great GM, but over the last two seasons a core of players have been brought into Miami that now form the basis of a unit that Joe Philbin will inherit. He is in much better shape than Sparano was when he took over Cam Cameron’s roster four years ago.
Reggie Bush, Brandon Marshall, Charles Clay, Mike Pouncey, Jake Long, Ritchie Incognito, Daniel Thomas, Davone Bess, o.k pretty much the entire offense. Defensively he will inherit a top 12 defensive unit in points allowed and a team that gave up no points in three consecutive weeks. All things being equal, Miami fans should and will expect Philbin to turn this car around (Shattered reference)
With him comes the west coast offense. A highly energized systems that is far more exciting than the Dolphins previous offenses since Dan Marino. However, one key component needed to run the offense is missing. The quarterback.
More than any other position, this is the one that Philbin and Jeff Ireland will be tasked to find. Ireland needs to find the right guy and Philbin needs to mold him. Whether that is Matt Flynn, whom Philbin worked with in Green Bay, or whether that is a guy coming in from somewhere else remains to be seen. It will however be the task of Philbin and will define his stay in Miami as much as winning and losing.