Miami Dolphins Have to Fire Joe Philbin and Clean House

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst IDecember 30, 2013

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 22: Head coach Joe Philbin of the Miami Dolphins motions from the sideline during NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

AFC East lead writer Erik Frenz wrote an interesting article last night that argued firing Joe Philbin won't solve the Miami Dolphins' problems.

But my response to that would be: Does keeping Philbin as head coach solve their problems any better?

After the Dolphins' monumental collapse in the past two games, it seems that Philbin isn't the man to do the job.

Frenz's article said that they need to look at the positions around Philbin, and I do agree with that. After missing the playoffs for the 11th time in 12 seasons, the Dolphins need to clean house.

Owner Stephen Ross needs to recognize that the guy who hired Philbin is clearly failing at his job as well. GM Jeff Ireland should really be the first one to go.

He's responsible for the players on the field, as well as the hiring of the head coaches, and the product has not been anywhere near good enough.

Ireland made the playoffs in his first year as GM, in 2008, and has missed it every year since. 

Some people look at these past two seasons and say that there's been a little bit of progress in overall record and that the team finally got a quarterback in Ryan Tannehill.

But I look and see a lot of poor decisions by Ireland and his coaching staff. 

In the 2012 draft, other than Tannehill, only Olivier Vernon, Lamar Miller and Rishard Matthews have made positive impacts. Miller was ultimately disappointing this year as the feature back and is best suited as a complementary change-of-pace player.

In the 2013 draft, the results were even worse. The Dolphins traded up from 12 to three and selected Dion Jordan, who played on just 29 percent of defensive snaps this year.

Other than kicker Caleb Sturgis, who had a mediocre season, no other rookie played often (or played well), and this class is shaping up to be a big disappointment.

The Dolphins also underwent a major free-agent facelift this past offseason and really missed on some big signings.

Brent Grimes had a great year and should hopefully be re-signed. But linebackers Philip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe were huge disappointments, and were certainly not an upgrade over Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett.

They also let Reggie Bush walk, which turned out to be a mistake. They let the offensive line deteriorate, and Tannehill paid the price by taking a record 58 sacks.

Whether or not the issue is scouting, evaluation, player development or just on-field coaching, it still falls on the GM and coaching staff to figure things out.

Mike Sherman should be fired as offensive coordinator. His inept play-calling, ineffective offenses and inability to adapt have all caused the Dolphins' offense to stagnate.

There's also been speculation that Tannehill lost confidence in Sherman, who was his coach at Texas A&M and came with him to Miami.

Tannehill is talented, but he needs to move on from Sherman.

Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle also needs to go. His defenses were extremely inconsistent and came up short in big games.

They let up 355 yards on the ground to the Bills and Jets in their last two games, and were unable to force even turnover-prone Geno Smith into coughing up the ball.

He got absolutely nothing out of an incredibly talented defensive line, and he simply wasn't good enough at his job when it counted.

While the coordinators were subpar, it is up to Philbin to hire them and run the team. This coaching staff has failed to motivate its team in big situations, which was painfully evident these past two weeks.

On top of two losses to the Bills and a loss to the Jets, Miami also had a bad loss to Tampa Bay and blew games to Carolina and Baltimore.

They finished 2-4 and third in the division standings behind the Jets, who showed Miami a thing or two about playing inspired football this past Sunday.

Miami was outworked and out-coached by a much-less-talented team, and in the franchise's biggest regular-season game of the past decade, that's simply unacceptable.

The coordinators need to go, and the general manager does too. But Philbin's still the man in the center of that, and he needs to be held accountable as well.

When it comes down to it, what does Philbin really bring to the table?

He's not a great defensive mind. He isn't known for developing any specific position. He certainly isn't an energy guy or motivator. He's not a big "player's coach." The whole Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito scandal showed that there are locker-room issues.

Some would say he's an offensive guy because he came to Miami as Green Bay's offensive coordinator, but there's not any evidence to support that either.

He wasn't in charge of calling plays in Green Bay, and he doesn't call them in Miami. The Dolphins gained the sixth-fewest yards in the NFL this season and scored the seventh-fewest points.

And Philbin, along with Sherman, showed an inability to make adjustments during the game and utilize his personnel to their fullest extent.

It's too difficult to just break up the front office in bits and pieces. I'm in favor of an all-or-nothing approach, and it's clear to me that this staff isn't the right one to lead Miami to consistent, sustained success.

If I'm Stephen Ross, I'm cleaning house and trying it all over again.


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