Posts Tagged With: Joe Philbin

Eventful Sunday

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Al Diaz/Miami Herald

“Here’s a Christmas present. You don’t have to ask me anymore. He has one year left on contract and is coming back.”

Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross to reporters regarding head coach Joe Philbin. The announcement that the head coach would return was only the last item of an eventful Sunday for the hometown team.

Earlier in the day the Dolphins were officially knocked out of the playoffs when the Pittsburgh Steelers held off the Kansas City Chiefs 20-12. By that point a playoff berth was little more than a pipedream. The disappointing performances over the last month truly sealed the Dolphins fate before the Steelers put the last nails in the coffin.

While everything else was going on the team managed to have an exciting game with the Minnesota Vikings. A blocked punt for a safety won the game for the Dolphins 37-35, not that they did not try to give the game away. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill had an excellent game throwing for 396 yds and 4 touchdowns. After bringing the team back to a 28-20 lead Tannehill watched as the Vikings marched right down the field to tie it up. Worse still, a fumble by Jarvis Landry gave Minnesota the ball at Miami’s five yard line which quickly became a lead. Tannehill once again tied the score with a minute left. Rookie Terrance Fede won the game with a timely punt block for a safety with only 41 seconds left.

The game was symptomatic of the entire season. Good plays followed by bad. At times they looked among the best of the league, other times they looked horrible. The sixty-minute game still eludes them.

The arrow is still pointing up. While some were calling for change knowing the status of the coaching staff can only be good moving forward. Now the team and the fan base can look to the future together without wondering who was steering the course.

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Categories: AFC East, Football, Head Coaches, Miami Dolphins, NFL, Ryan Tannehill | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Grass Is Not Always Greener

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Time flies.

A month ago the Miami Dolphins were looking towards the playoffs, now fans are calling for head coach Joe Philbin’s head. Forget about waiting for a body to be cold, the body is not even dead yet. Things move fast in the NFL(Not For Long).

The reasons to move on from Philbin are there. Not enough progress year to year. Team going into games seemingly unprepared. The team coming out of the half of pseudo-playoff games totally flat. That is at least in part on the coaching staff. Then you have playcalling decisions that are questionable to say the least. Yes the offensive coordinator calls the plays but these are the same issues we had with Mike Sherman so it is fair to ask if it is a Philbin issue.

Joe Philbin often comes off as a mail man. The lack of passion can be frustrating. Being even keeled worked for Tony Dungy but Philbin is no Tony Dungy.

Naturally the talk comes to making a move. Changing coaches(again) is not without risk. This Dolphins team has talent, they are headed in the right direction. Many believe they are close, a few tweaks and they could be very good. At times this season they have shown how good they could be.

The question is what changes with a new head coach. Most likely a new coach will not simply make a few tweaks but sweeping changes.

There are two ways coaches handle new teams: Some adjust their schemes to fit the players they have to get the most out of them. Most new coaches would rather simply replace the players with ones to fit their schemes. The first way could lead to a quick turnaround. The second, well, that can but a franchise back years.

Many fans are hoping for Jim Harbaugh. He is a great coach but he may not be what the Dolphins need. The best case scenario may be a John Gruden following Tony Dungy scenario. That may be a pipe dream.

If, and it is still an if, Philbin is fired things will change. Do not fool yourself into believing that they will automatically change for the better.

The grass is not always greener.

 

Categories: AFC East, Head Coaches, Miami Dolphins, NFL | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Miami Dolphins vs. Baltimore Ravens: Five Things

Al Diaz/Miami Herald

Al Diaz/Miami Herald

When the Miami Dolphins came out to a 10-0 lead against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday I felt pretty good, that feeling did not last. Of course I felt good the defense had stuffed the Ravens offense for three straight drives, the offense seemed to be able to move the ball on Baltimore’s defense as well. All seemed well.

It was not.

The cracks began to show and you saw what followed. The Ravens dominated the rest of the way, outscoring the Dolphins 28-3.

So here are Five Things.

1. The season is not over, it just feels like it is. Mathematically the Dolphins still have a shot at the playoffs, a shot. Most likely they need to win out, which means beating New England in Foxboro.  They will need a lot of help. A lot of teams need to lose at least once in the next three games. I hate depending on other teams. They should have just taken care of business themselves.

2. Defense: Where did the run defense go to? Once upon a time the Dolphins boasted a top-ten run defense, not anymore. Getting pushed off the line of scrimmage, bad angles, missed tackles just plain bad. They have given up over-650 yards in the last three games. That makes things even easier for upper echelon quarterbacks like Joe Flacco, what will it do against Tom Brady.

3. Injuries: These are players that left the field at some point Sunday- Jared Odrick, Koa Misi, Jelani Jenkins, Samson Satele, Charles Clay and Louis Delmas. Add those names to Branden Albert, Knowshon Moreno, Dannelle Ellerbee, Michael Thomas, Will Davis, Jamar Taylor and Courtland Finnegan. The team is looking like a mash unit. The loss of Branden Albert hurt the offensive line badly but the secondary may have been hit the worst.  Delmas may be gone for the season and only Finnegan looks to return anytime soon to help. RJ Stanford was one of our starting corners this week, let that sink in.

4. Mike Wallace. Many fans are upset about the lack of shots deep by the offense. Wallace should be a weapon deep but watching the game it does not look like Ryan Tannehill has the time to even attempt a deep pass let alone complete one. The bigger concern is the occasional lack of effort by Wallace. Commentators claim that Tannehill missed a touchdown pass to Wallace in the second half. That simply did not happen. The ball was right where you want it away from the defender towards the pylon, the receiver has to make that play. If Wallace had tried to get to the ball and could not that would be one thing, he gave up on the play. Gave up. Unacceptable.

5. Coach Joe Philbin has been criticized for a lack of emotion. He is so even-keeled sometimes you wonder if he has a pulse. The problem is when he does not seem to get the team ready to play. Watching the second half I found myself wondering if the team knew how important this game was. That is on the coach. Yes there are three games left and a slim chance to make the playoffs still exists but this game mattered. It would be nice if the coach understood that.

Yes there are other things to complain about. Bad calls from the officials: two questionable ineligible man down field calls and the reversal of a game changing fumble. The team inexplicably giving up on the run in the second half. But that is nitpicking. The team got beat down. We all saw it. Only one question:

What happens next?

On to New England.

Categories: AFC East, Baltimore Ravens, Football, Miami Dolphins, Mike Wallace, NFL, Ryan Tannehill, sports | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Play the team in front of you.

Tim Ireland/ AP

Tim Ireland/ AP

The scene was set at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday September 28th. Perhaps the most important game of this young season for the Miami Dolphins. It was an important game no doubt. The Dolphins were not in must win territory but a win(or loss) here could go a long way in determining how the rest of the season would go. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill had struggled early in the season with the new offense and head coach Joe Philbin did no one any favors by refusing to name his starting quarterback early in the week. Things were on edge, something had to give. Win this game and the team can move forward, lose it and it could be a train wreck.

Thankfully the team came together across the pond. They dominated. The defense intercepted their first three passes of the season, while also returning a fumble for a touchdown. The running game came alive rushing for 157 yards. And the much-maligned quarterback? Ryan Tannehill played his best game of the season. He played confident, decisive. Tannehill threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns, he added another 35 yards on the ground. This was the full-team performance many had been waiting for. Time to exhale, all was right with the Dolphins world.

Not so fast…apparently.

In what should be a time a joy complaints could be heard. Some fans and even some media complained:

‘It’s only Oakland, It doesn’t really count.’

It doesn’t count?!

The Oakland Raiders are still members of the National Football League, right?

Yes they are. The truth is you play the team in front of you. That is all. 16-0 or 0-16 you play the team in front of you. These players are the top 1% of all football players on the planet. No game is given to you. Everything is earned. We do not get to choose which games we count and which we don’t.

Yes some teams are clearly better than others, but that changes from week to week.

You play the team in front of you.

Sometimes it is not so much about the team across from you. Sometimes it is simply about executing the offense, making the plays on defense. That is exactly what Miami did that Sunday. It is a start

Now it is time to build upon that.

Categories: Football, Miami Dolphins, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Ryan Tannehill | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Wheels falling off.

Philbin

Three games. That is all. Three games into the season and the wheels seem to be coming off these Miami Dolphins.

If you talked to fans that is what they would tell you. It only took two games to erase the excitement of the opening game victory over the New England Patriots. Two games.

Fingers being pointed, blame being placed. Not so much within the team but surely from the outside. By the media. By the fans.

There are so many issues right now it is hard to really say where the blame actually lies. So many moving parts. Every man in that locker room has to look at himself and ask is he doing his job. It is a hard question to ask.

Looking from the outside where do you start?

There is no consistency. One moment the defense seems dominant, the next they give up a 21-yard run for a touchdown. Offensive drives ended by a bad throw or a drop or an inexplicable play call. The special teams units are an adventure, great plays followed by disaster. If it was one unit failing that would be one thing, it is everything.

We have seen enough good from the players on the team to know that they can get the job done. So that brings us to coaching.

After the offensive struggles last season the Dolphins moved on from offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, hiring Bill Lazor to take his place. At the time the question was: Was Mike Sherman responsible for offensive struggles or was it Joe Philbin?

After three games do we have an answer? This is a team that has not looked well prepared the last two weeks. It looks for all the world like the wheels are starting to fall off. Ultimately the head coach is responsible.

This week in the media it looked as if Joe Philbin was trying to play games. Every coach has his own way of dealing with the media. Refusing to answer a direct question and creating questions about the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game may not have been the best course of action. This was a unneccasary distraction for a team preparing to head to London for a suddenly important game.

These situations often go one of two ways: Either the team comes together, turns the corner and plays to their ability or the coach simply loses the team altogether.

Categories: Miami Dolphins, NFL | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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