Wow what a wild day, all hell has broken loose in Miami. Beat writers are even fighting. People are calling for Ross to fire Philbin, Fire Coyle, Fire Rizzi.. FIRE SOMEONE! As well as the pull Tannehill talk that always follows a loss. To be clear the coaches do feel the pressure now as does Tannehill… as they should. They just played an inferior team and lost. That is no disrespect to the Chiefs. They were well coached and played hard. But even Chiefs fans will tell you they are looking at next year when their cap clears and they have extra draft picks. So, I do not disagree that Philbin should be on the hot seat. The lack of using a short yardage scheme on 3rd and 1 or 4th and 1 is not excusable. That is done at the high school level because it is nearly impossible to stop a power formation from getting 1 yard. I have already covered that issue in my last post. However, it does not really stop there. This game showed me a few other things that give me the sense that either Philbin does not trust his players or does not trust his own plan. Let me give a few examples of why I feel it is justified to say this.
1.) The Dolphins signed Daniel Thomas back off the street and he basically served as the #2 back in the game. If that is the case why did the team keep Damien Williams and Orleans Darkwa? I can understand keeping one of them for development but it would appear they do not trust to play them over Daniel Thomas? – That seems like a coach not trusting the players they kept on the 53
2.) This defense was built to stop the pass. I feel really good about that choice. You have to be able to beat Tom Brady and Peyton Manning to win in the post season. This defense would DOMINATE the Chiefs or the Bills for that matter if they had to play from 1-2 scores down going into the 3rd quarter. Both of those teams simply do not have the personal to lineup 3 and 4 wide and get the ball down the field with our talented CBs and D-Ends in there. Of course when your offense not only fails to score points, but also tends to do a lot of three and outs it allows teams that can’t throw very well to use a running game to protect the QB and wear down your defense. Cam Wake and O Vernon are not run stuffing lineman. They are average at best matched up against power running teams that are running the ball. Running the football also removes Grimes and Finnegan from really having any impact in the game. The Dolphins were designed to score points on offense and then use a dominating pass rush and talented CBs to blow teams out. – Now with that being said, why would Joe Philbin be afraid to go for 4th downs in opponents’ territory or try to score a touchdown when you are down 14-0? You bring in talented skill players and build a defense designed to play against the pass and then play very conservative on offense in a home game against an average at best team? They were playing press coverage a lot of the game and you have the most talent at WR that you have had in years? Even worse how about having almost 2 minutes left in the Buffalo game before half and just running out the clock. This seems like a coach not trusting his players or his own plan to be able to come through. Or in words playing not to lose rather than playing to win.
3.) All preseason long the word coming out was “tempo” they want to dictate tempo. I can understand that is hard to do (although you have to be able to do it) in a hostile stadium like Buffalo. But I did not see any tempo in the Chiefs game. No hurry to line and use all kinds of motion to create mismatches for the defense. This team was not even using tempo when they were behind. This tells me that either the teams does not understand their assignments well enough to run tempo. Or the coaching staff is not able to adjust fast enough during the game to call an up tempo game. Either way it signals a coaching fail.
Anyway.. You get the point, I am not impressed or happy with the coaching in particular the head coach, offensive coach, and special teams coach. They have done a poor job at both having their players mentally ready as well as preparing effective game plans. I am going to defend Coyle. I have seen people ripping on him but the defense has played well enough to win the last two games. He has not been perfect and his units got in some mismatches. But you can’t hide Jason Trusnik from getting into coverage all game. The offensive has put the defensive in very difficult positions time after time. If the offense would just score some points to force a team to have to pass it would make a huge difference. There are some issues but they are the kind of issues preventing us from winning the last couple games.
I am also not on board with pulling Tannehill. The drops in the last couple games have been horrible and he does not look lost with where to go with the ball to me. Does he need to deliver? Yes he does. But I ask you, what is your end point if you pull him? Matt Moore is going to be free agent next year and the team will need to decide what to do with Tannehll. Are you going to cut Tannehill and sign Moore to an extension? Draft a rookie QB when our cap space is limited and you have to resign people like O Vernon? Or another way to think about this… Would you give Ryan Tannehill to Bill Belichick for a 1st round pick right now? How about cut him and give him to Bill Belichick for free? The team has to decide his long term plan after the season and we better be damn sure he is not the guy before we just cut him loose. Considering how bad our QB’s were for over a decade after Marino, I am willing to be patient to see how Tannehill does. If he continues his average but not good play the rest of the year we don’t pick up his extension and draft a rookie letting them compete next season.
Now with all the said I am sure I will get some fruit thrown at me when I say. I would not fire anyone other than maybe Darren Rizzi. It easy to say “OMG the team looked awful” “ Fire The Coach”. Ok done he is fired….. Now what? You can’t hire anyone, they are all under contract coaching in the season. Ok so we promote someone on the staff. Like who? Bill Lazor? He has only been an offensive coordinator for 3 games and they have not exactly looked good on offense. Ok Coyle then? Ok so now he has to deal with all the headaches of head coach and take less time planning a defense. A defense that he is trying to scheme with a lack of talent at linebacker, I don’t think we exactly have a coach that can take over the defensive effectively if he does not have time to do it. On top of that, you send a message to the league that you will fire a coach for going 1-2 to start a season. I am sure that will help to recruit a talented coach next season. Don’t forget, several coaches like Jim Harbaugh and Jeff Fisher turned the job down and we were down to the homeless guy on the corner to take the GM job if Hickey passed. So I would be careful being the Queen of Hearts and yelling “Off with their Head” If you want to make statement fire Rizzi (I am sure the homeless guy on the corner would be about the same as him for a special teams coach). Otherwise the best plan is to suck it up; the team is much better than they have been playing. We have a good chance to get to 2-2 going into bye after which we should be looking at having Pouncey, Jones, Misi and Moreno back with the team. Also, don’t discount Billy Turner just yet. With some luck he will be back to healthy. Our interior line will be a whole different beast with a healthy Pouncey and Turner in there.
On a final note I do think it is time for Mr. Ross to start having dinner with some interesting people. People like Jon Gruden, Bill Cowher, maybe a secret dinner in a basement (you can use mine) with Jim Harbaugh. Don’t laugh we stole Shula from the Colts when the owner was away. So when 2014 passes if the Dolphins end up down the path they appear headed ,you have these guys on speed dial. They will respect you gave Philbin 3 full years to win. If you fire him now , good luck even getting the homeless guy to coach the team.