Last season, the Miami Dolphins needed 1 win in 2 weeks against either the Buffalo Bills or the New York Jets to make the playoffs. They totaled 7 points in those two weeks, and headed instead straight into the off season. Shortly after, HC Joe Philbin fired offensive coordinator and long time friend Mike Sherman. This Sunday, we head into an eerily similar situation. The Jets will enter Miami in Week 17, just like last year, and will look to derail another Dolphins season. However, the Dolphins are not still alive int he AFC playoff race, and are instead playing for pride and a Joe Philbin’s first winning season as a head coach. They could also be playing for their coordinators’ jobs, namely DC Kevin Coyle.
A Jets victory on Sunday would only come from some sort of defensive implosion on Miami’s part. The first time these teams met, it was the Dolphins D that kept the team in the game and kept the game close enough for Miami to eek out a win on the road. Despite having a rough time on offense, the Dolphins still won the game. Therefore, Sunday’s game will rely heavily on which team’s defense rises to the occasion and steps up to give their offense some sort of spark or keep it close enough to come down to who makes more kicks.
To me, this is Kevin Coyle’s last shot. I want him gone regardless of the outcome of this game, but Stephen Ross may view Coyle’s position with the team differently. and this final test against an always tough division rival (despite their record), could be Coyle’s interview for whether or not he has a job in Miami next season. Maybe Ross already has his mind made up. Who knows with him.
The key is for Ross to spend a little time and go back and look through the season and Miami’s defense at key moments in games throughout the close games of the season. Yes, on paper this team has a top 10 defense in a lot of statistical categories. But, under Coyle’s leadership, the team has failed to step up in key moments in games, off the stats sheet, and was just one big play away from turning a close game into a win and making this Week 17 Jets game worth a playoff spot.
All eyes will be on Kevin Coyle and the Miami D heading into this game.