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.
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.
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.
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.