NFL AM: Philbin Left Dolphins No Choice


Miami Washes Their Hands With Philbin

The Miami Dolphins have spoken.

Head coach Joe Philbin had to go.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross went on a free agent spending spree and that heated up Philbin’s seat to where third-degree burns formed whenever his team committed a turnover.

Philbin lost the team somewhere over the past two years, and the results were never more evident than Sunday morning, when Miami was completely non-competitive against a Ryan Fitzpatrick-led New York Jets team.

Aside from wide receiver Jarvis Landry, the Dolphins appeared as if they had better things to do in London rather than play football.

Ross was loyal to a fault with Philbin.  He let him endure the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito bullying scandal.  He let him lose a talented team that appears to be simply fine settling with mediocrity.

“This was a tough decision for me to make knowing how tirelessly Joe worked in his four years here to make this a winning team,” said Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. “He is a man of the highest character and integrity that I developed a close personal relationship with. I am extremely disappointed with how we have started the season, but I feel confident that we can improve quickly with the talent we have on our roster.”

Philbin was simply in over his head as an NFL head coach.

One of the biggest indictments on Philbin came during Saturday’s walk-through, when practice squad players were picking off Ryan Tannehill, which infuriated the starting quarterback.  Tannehill reportedly responded by saying, “Enjoy your practice squad paycheck, enjoy your practice squad trophy.”

Tannehill, the freshly appointed “franchise quarterback” had been getting rattled in practices over the past few weeks.  So much so that on Saturday, Philbin told the practice squad players to “ease up.”

If a head coach has to remove competition from his practices, the permeation of failure has already saturated the foundation of the franchise.

Make no mistake, this isn’t all on Philbin.  The front office has too many decision makers pulling in different directions to be successful.  The perfect example is the Nkamukong Suh signing.  Miami paid Suh $60 million guaranteed and then put him in a scheme that doesn’t cater to his talents.

It’s another example of the Dolphins blindly throwing money at a problem, only making it worse.

Miami is as dysfunctional of an organization as there is, not only in the NFL, but in all of sports.

Dan Campbell Wants To Change Dolphins Culture

With Joe Philbin’s firing, the Miami Dolphins have named tight ends coach Dan Campbell interim head coach.

At 39 years old, Campbell becomes the youngest current head coach in the NFL.

Campbell knows that there are major problems in the workplace and he vowed to change the culture.

“I feel there is a lot more we can get out of these guys,” Campbell said. “We have to change the culture. This is the most talented team we’ve had.”

Campbell said one of his strengths is that he can relate to the players because he’s been there. He was a member of the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl winning team in 2010.

“I’ve been at the top, I’ve been at the bottom,” he said. “I understand what it’s like when things start going … not the way you want them to. No player is the same, no coach is the same.”

Campbell believes that the team can turn things around and their payroll would also suggest that.

“I’m not here just to finish the season up,” Campbell said. “That’s not my plan. We’re coming here to win games. It’s still early. We have time to turn everything around. But we can’t wait. This is my sixth season with the Miami Dolphins, and this is the most talented roster we have had in those six years. We have plenty of talent.

“We need to change the culture to where it is so competitive on Wednesday, Thursday, maybe even Friday, that it’s intense and heated. We may have to break up a few (fights) – that’s when things get good. You can’t go through the motions Wednesday and Thursday and turn it up on Sunday. It doesn’t work that way.”

Campbell said he is prepared to push each player – no matter their status – to get the best performance of each player come Sunday.

“You can’t just go through the motions through the week and turn it on (Sunday),” he said. “That goes for the best player we have on this team. Mike Pouncey, as great as he is, needs to be pushed. Every single day.

“That goes for (Ndamukong) Suh. That goes for (Koa) Misi. They have to be worked. They have to be challenged. That’s the first thing I’m changing. I want them to be challenged. I want them to have to compete.”

A culture of competition.  It’s too bad Joe Philbin didn’t think of that.

Another Major Blow For Jaguars

As if not having your best offensive player (Julius Thomas) and defensive player (Sen’Derrick Marks) yet to line up for a snap, the Jacksonville Jaguars suffered yet another blow.

Their best offensive lineman, offensive guard Brandon Linder was placed on season-ending injured reserve as he suffered a labral tear in his left shoulder.  Linder will have surgery and will be replaced by rookie third-round pick A.J. Cann.

“He’s obviously a big part of that offensive line, his mentality and what he brings and his leadership, but I thought A.J. did a nice job,” Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said on Monday. “There were a few mistakes which are going to happen but overall the strength and his toughness that we thought he would bring he really showed.”

It’s been a tough season already for the 1-3 Jaguars, who lost on Sunday thanks to a pair of missed game-winning field goals by rookie kicker Jason Myers.

Lions Being Lions

It was a typical Detroit Lions game on Monday night against the reigning NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks.  Matt Stafford was mostly erratic, the offensive line was leaky and head coach Jim Caldwell had a scowl on his face, as if someone was trying to sell him an overpriced muffler.

The final score read Seahawks 13, Lions 10, but you already knew that.

The Lions offense had just one first down in the second half into the fourth quarter.  The Detroit defense kept the team in the game and even threatened to take it over as Caraun Reid scooped and scored a touchdown off a Russell Wilson fumble.

That gave Detroit life and after a stop, Stafford found his rhythm and led the team down the field and into the red zone.  On a third-and-1, Stafford hit Calvin Johnson on a slant and as he dove for the end zone, Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor knocked the ball out of his hands and through the end zone.

“Get to him and get the ball….I told him I was going to make up for that and I got to the ball and I knocked it out,” Chancellor said in an ESPN post-game field interview.

It turns out the Seahawks caught a huge break as linebacker K.J. Wright batted the ball through the end zone illegally, and the officials missed the call which would have given Detroit a first-and-goal from inside the one-yard line.

The 0-4 Lions simply can’t catch a break.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.