Joe Philbin was asked if the Miami Dolphins had “swagger” gong into this week's game in Buffalo. His response was that he didn’t know what that word meant. Of course he didn’t. He also doesn’t know the definition of the word “coach."
However, he’ll have next season to figure out how to best coach this teamt. Sure, there will be changes in the coaching staff and Philbin himself will be on a short leash in 2014, but with an 8 win season he deserves another season. With owner Stephen Ross giving a foolish vote of confidence to Jeff Ireland, and the drama that surrounded the locker room, he’ll have other battles to face. Is Ross still standing by Ireland? Will he have a change of heart? What will be the fallout when the Incognito/Martin investigation is announced? Changing the head coach won’t be a high priority this offseason. Of course if the Dolphins look terrible vs the Jets on Sunday--all bets are off. As bad as the coaching staff has looked this season, it’s not ALL Philbin’s fault.
Thing is, there hasn’t been an offensive line to speak of the entire season. Zero, zilch, nada. The 2013 Miami Dolphins offensive line will go down as the single WORST in Dolphins history. Hard to believe QB Ryan Tannehill is still able to walk normally. Ok--he has a little bit of a limp after getting sacked 7 times in Buffalo. He’s still playing, and that in itself is a small victory.
Games are won and lost with offensive/defensive line play. Pressure the QB on defense, and protect the QB and open holes for the running backs on offense. Tannehill has looked good at times this season, but without consistent protection, he’s not going to improve. Remember David Carr? After 15 games it’s STILL uncertain if Lamar Miller or Daniel Thomas are the future at running back. How can you tell when the offensive line plays this bad?
Joe Philbin may not make the best adjustments (or any it seems) and Offensive Coodinator Mike Sherman can’t seem to jump start anything with his schemes, but the Dolphins STILL put themselves in a position that any team would’ve liked--they controlled their own destiny. Yes they failed miserably versus the Bills, but if you were told that their stud TE (Dustin Keller) would suffer a season ending knee injury in the preseason, and they would have to endure a soap opera locker room - a shot at the playoffs would NEVER come to mind. All in all Joe Phlibin deserves a pass for this season. Not Ireland, Mike Sherman or any other member of the coaching staff, just Phlibin.
Maybe he"ll be able to find his "swagger" afterall.