Too Late to Fire Philbin

  • By Todd
  • October 2, 2015
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[author image=”” ]Todd Vandenberg, @NikkiX_Todd [/author]


I’ve read quite a few articles about the status of the “coach” of the Miami Dolphins, Joe Philbin. Much of this well-meaning commentary exhorts us, the fans of the Dolphins, to be calm, not to rush to judgment. The storyline is that “it’s only been three games”, and “the team needs time to jell”.

It isn’t too early at all. In fact, it’s too late.

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Let me draw a parallel here. Matt Williams, manager of the Washington Nationals, will lose that title at the end of the season. The main reason isn’t their woeful under-performance, but because he has completely lost the team. His lack of communication with his team has been well-documented (google Jayson Werth lineup if you missed that somehow), and I believe Jonathan Papelbon’s ridiculous altercation with Bryce Harper would never have happened either with even a competent communicator at the helm.

Which brings me back to Joe Philbin. The record has been bad enough, but the fiasco 2 years ago with Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin should have been the tipping point. It certainly was for me. How does a head coach not know what’s going on in his locker room? Yet that was Philbin’s claim. If the Dolphins had an owner with more intelligence than the semi-sentient clam known as Stephen Ross, he would have been dismissed in the first week of that disaster.

In fact, neither Philbin nor his defensive coordinator should have ever been hired. Philbin was given the job on the strength of Aaron Rodgers’ performance. I’m pretty sure I could be the offensive coordinator for Aaron Rodgers. Here’s the play: “Aaron, do your thing.” Boy, that was tough. Philbin is such an obvious disaster, I’m not even going to bother running the numbers.

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Okay, fine I will. The chart below shows the ranking of the Dolphins’ offense, both in yards gained and points scored. I’ll start with the final year of the Sparano regime.

Year    Yds gained       Pts
2011   22nd               20th
2012   27th                27th
2013   27th                26th
2014   14th                11th
2015   19th                27th

Took him three years, but the offense finally did improve. Although so far this year, those gains are nowhere to be seen. And I’d argue that if you were truly the offensive genius of Green Bay, it wouldn’t take three years to improve the offense of Tony Sparano.

As for the DC, Kevin Coyle, let me go in depth. The Dolphins defense, until the arrival of the $114 million dollar man, had been pretty good. It was supposed to be much improved with the arrival of Suh, yet after three games, they rank 26th in defense. Again, I’m not basing my argument on what’s happened this season, but that performance doesn’t help.

Let’s look at the Dolphins D the year before Phatal Philbin brought Coyle aboard, and how they have performed since then.

Year    Yds allowed    Pts allowed
2011    15th                  6th
2012    21st                  7th
2013    21st                  8th
2014    12th                 20th
2015    26th                 19th

2011 was the final year of Todd Bowles as the defensive coordinator; he was tainted by the ineptitude of the useless Tony Sparano, and was sent packing. And how are those Jets doing so far? So every year under Coyle, the defense has gotten worse in points allowed, and only had one mediocre performance re yards allowed.

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How did Coyle get the job, you ask? Why, he was the coach of the defensive bask of the Bengals, from 2003 through 2011. Let’s look at the phenomenal performance that earned him a coordinator gig. I used Opposing Passer Rating as the standard here, comparing the Bengals with the Dolphins.

Year     Bengals        Dolphins
2003    25th              8th
2004    17th              10th
2005    5th                22nd
2006    22nd             21st
2007    27th              29th
2008    21st              9th
2009    7th               19th
2010    19th             18th
2011     17th            15th
Overall 17.8             16.8

One bit of fun that came up here; the passer rating against the 2008 Lions, the winless 2008 Lions? 110.9, and obviously last in the league. Yeah, now that sucks.

For six of the nine years, the Dolphins D held opposing QBs to a lower passer rating. Was the Dolphins passing D great? Hardly – but it was better than the performance of the group coached by Coyle. Who somehow was worthy of promotion to the coordinator job.

So Philbin can’t control the locker room, he can’t coach, and he isn’t smart enough to realize his DC can’t coach either. So, tell me why it’s too soon to fire this mannequin, this joke, this cosmically and comically inept impersonation of a leader?

In my previous article, I stressed that I love sports for much more than wins and losses. So let me make this clear; it isn’t the losses that bother me. It’s the lack of effort, the lack of drive. Since Philbin’s arrival, the Dolphins have rarely looked like a team that is giving everything it has. Philbin is the gentleman who ”coached” the team to two horrible efforts to close 2013. Remember that? Needing one win to clinch the playoffs, the Fins manage to score SEVEN points combined against the Bills and Jets. Why he wasn’t fired then baffled me. Why he wasn’t fired after the Incognito debacle baffled me. Too soon? The Dolphins could have been on the right track by now if they had removed this nonentity after 2013 as they should have. It’s far past time to fire him.


I am old, but am not disgruntled. In fact, I am quite gruntled. I am a fan of the Miami Dolphins, the Detroit Tigers, the Tennessee Volunteers, and the Golden Rule. Not in that order. And donuts. Yeah, donuts are good. Oh, and beer. Beer is great.

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