NFL

NFL AM: Problems Already Arising For Dolphins’ Joe Philbin In Miami

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Bad Things Happen When You Lose To The Jags

The Jacksonville Jaguars have won just seven games over the past two seasons.  Those seven games consisted of four different opponents, and three of those teams fired their head coaches.

The Miami Dolphins became Gus Bradley’s eighth victim since taking over the reigns as Jaguars head coach in 2013.

What does that mean for Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin?

Philbin is on one of the hottest seats in the NFL as he enters his fourth season as head coach.  He is yet to post a winning season and this year is pretty much a playoffs or bust season.

“I thought we had a good week of preparation,” Philbin explained after the 23-20 loss to the Jaguars. “I thought our guys were ready to go. Our meetings were good. Our trip was good. I thought our warmup was good. They came out and took the ball down, I think they had an 80-yard drive maybe, to start the game. It took us a while to get going on offense. It’s been a pattern now and its two weeks old and needs to change.”

The pattern is that Philbin’s teams seem to struggle down the stretch of games and he’s been the main common denominator.

What’s more troubling is a Miami Herald report that free agent signee Ndamukong Suh went a little rogue as far as his assignments.

A big reason why: Suh, who for the second straight week was a nonfactor, strayed from Kevin Coyle’s script.

The Miami Herald has learned that Suh freelanced at times Sunday, creating confusion on the defense. By taking matters into his own hands, the Dolphins’ $114 million man took a bad situation and made it worse.

Philbin didn’t offer much in the way of clarification after the game.

“It’s a team defense,” Philbin explained. “It’s not one person that makes a defense, there are 11 guys that have to work together to make it work. We’ll have to take a look at the tape.”

If 11 guys need to make it work, then why did Miami pay $114 million for Suh’s services?

More importantly, why is a Dolphins coach running to the media already to squeal on Suh after just two games?

The big free agent contracts and the shakeup in the Dolphins front office makes Philbin a very easy scapegoat if things go wrong.  If quarterback Ryan Tannehill doesn’t develop at the desired pace, that will fall on the head coach as well.

“We left a few plays out there today,” Tannehill said after the loss. “In a close game like that, you have to make big plays in the second half and we didn’t do that.  We haven’t gotten off to the starts we wanted to, and I don’t know exactly what that is at this point but we’re coming into games confident.”

We’re only through two weeks of the regular season and one loss to a historically bad team shouldn’t determine the outlook of the season.  With that said, the Dolphins are going to need every win they can get and losing to a Jacksonville team without it’s starting left tackle, strong safety, best player on offense and best player on defense doesn’t look good on Philbin.

Brees Injures His Shoulder

The New Orleans Saints were dealt injury to insult after Sunday’s 26-19 loss to the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers when quarterback Drew Brees was complaining about a hurt shoulder.

Saints head coach Sean Payton disputes the report.

“I would say his report is inaccurate,” Payton said on his Monday coaches show. “Wednesday we will have a better idea. We will be smart. I thought coming off the game, it’s a tough loss for everyone. You lose your home opener in a division game. Drew battled and hung in there. He took some hits. We will have a better feel on Wednesday with where he is at. (Bobby) knows as well as anyone, he’s going to be a competitor and he’s going to be smart about it. I think we will have a better idea come Wednesday. I would definitely say that. I read the report you are discussing and I would say that’s inaccurate.”

Brees has looked more like a great fantasy quarterback than a great quarterback and that goes back a couple years now.  The Saints are in a funk and at 0-2 they need to shake it off quickly.  If Brees misses time, New Orleans will be dependent on either veteran backup Luke McCown (the less talented of the not-so-talented McCown brothers) or rookie Garrett Grayson, who didn’t look great in preseason against third stringers.

There were rumors being floated in the offseason (unsubstantiated) that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would consider trading the No. 1 pick in the draft for Brees.  The Saints are in a tough place considering their future with or without the great No. 9.

Brees is such a big part of the Saints franchise and community that there would be sure to be huge backlash if the team parted ways with him.  With that said he’s clearly on the decline and takes up a huge amount of their salary cap.

The Saints appear to have their heads in the sand regarding this situation, and although they are still selling plenty of jerseys, they aren’t winning games.  What once was the best home field advantage in football in the Superdome is now a place where New Orleans has lost six straight.

Assuming Brees gets shut down at any point this season, you have to wonder if the Saints would be better off in the long-term exploring their options of succession.

Jets Send Colts To 0-2

There are nine teams in the NFL that are currently undefeated.  Without question, the most surprising of which is the New York Jets.

The Jets went on the road and took down the two-time defending AFC South Champion Indianapolis Colts, 20-7, dropping Indy to 0-2.

“It’s a good win, but it’s only win No. 2,” Jets head coach Todd Bowles said. “We’re not where we want to be but we’re on the way. The trick is to win while you’re doing it. We’ve been fortunate.”

New York’s defense continues to be the story as they forced five more turnovers on Monday night after forcing five in their season opening victory over the Cleveland Browns.

“The name of the game is turnovers and keeping the score down, regardless of whatever else happens,” Bowles said.

Offensively, New York did just enough as Brandon Marshall turned back the clock and continued to look like a Pro Bowler as he caught seven passes for 101 yards and a touchdown.  Jets general manager Mike McCagnan is looking like a genius for acquiring Marshall for just a fifth-round pick and hiring Todd Bowles.

The Colts began 0-2 last season before bouncing back to win the AFC South and make it all the way to the AFC title game.

“We got things figured out; then we ripped off five straight (victories),” Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said. “So our full intention is to go back to work and do the same damn thing.”

Although they turned it around last season, this year feels different.  The Colts went all out this offseason signing veterans such as Andre Johnson, Frank Gore and Trent Cole, look like a worse team than they did a year ago.  Indy is trying to make up an enormous gap with the Patriots, and right now they were looking up at the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars in their own division.

 


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.