The Miami Dolphins have changed their locker room around. No it’s not a re-design it’s another effort to get rid of the remnants of Joe Philbin. Yes, even the locker room had his touch on it.
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Joe Philbin was a stickler for a lot of things, physicality we know wasn’t one of them. One of the changes Philbin made when he came to Miami was to change the way the locker room was designed. In 2012 I was given a tour of the locker room by equipment manager Joe Cimino. Cimino took the group I was with around the new look locker room that boasted all new lockers with all the bells and whistles. He also told us how it was arranged for the players.
Cimino cited an edict from Joe Philbin. In an effort to build team unity, he broke the locker room up from the traditional position by position locations. Philbin wanted the team to get to know each other so you may have found a quarterback next to a defensive lineman or cornerback. A running back next to a linebacker and so on. It didn’t have the results he was looking for. Players got to choose their locations based on what they wanted in terms of accessibility.
Some players wanted their lockers closer to the entry door while others wanted their locker closer to the bathroom or training room or meeting rooms. Some wanted it closer to the team cafeteria. The overall idea was to integrate the players together.
Dan Campbell has changed that.
Players arrived for practice this morning to learn that their locker locations have changed. Instead of a haphazard spaghetti style, players are now grouped by position. This is good news for the players as it will give them a chance to get to know each other even more based on the guys that they are playing with. No more walking across the room to talk to a fellow offensive lineman about a blocking scheme. Chances are he is next to you.
Campbell is taking this approach to change things up and his desire to “change the culture” of the franchise has to start with even the simplest of ideas. Putting the players next to each other may not seem like a big deal but nothing was working previously and the way the locker room was laid out, some players couldn’t even see members of their same unit at all. That now changes. For better or worse. It’s not likely going to make a difference on the field, but it might make a small difference in the chemistry of each unit. That is something that has been missing as well.
If you look at the main image above, you will notice that Brian Hartline’s old locker was next to that of linebacker Jason Trusnik and Austin Spitler. That image was from 2012 when Joe Philbin had the locker rearranged. Below you will see what the locker room looked like prior to Philbin’s arrival. The Dolphins in 2012 gutted the locker room and completely overhauled the players personal locker space. I am gloating a tad when I say that one of those chairs in the image below now sits in my office.