AFC East Update
Joe Philbin had been on the hot seat for quite some time but the rumblings suggesting that he wouldn’t have a job upon his return stateside after the Dolphins matchup with the New York Jets rang true. Hope you enjoyed your time across the pond Joe… The Dolphins were mired in mediocrity during Philbin’s tenure (23-25) and it was rather evident that he did not have control or the pulse of the locker room as evidenced by the Jonathan Martin – Richie Incognito “bullying” scandal. The 2015 offseason was an eventful one for the Dolphins as the organization signed quarterback Ryan Tannehill to a lucrative extension, added several offensive weapons via the draft and trade and landed prized free agent acquisition Ndamukong Suh by signing him to the largest contract for a defensive player in league history. With a healthy pass rush, Lamar Miller’s emergence and Tannehill continuing to develop the Dolphins’ brass and fan base had high expectations heading into the 2015 regular season. After narrowly escaping the opener at Washington with a win, the Dolphins managed to lose 3 straight including two convincing losses to divisional opponents (Bills and Jets) and a loss to a bad Jacksonville Jaguars team.
It comes as little surprise that Philbin couldn’t galvanize his players. Despite a coaching history that dates back to the mid 1980s, Philbin had never been a head coach at the collegiate or NFL level until 2012. Solely an offensive coach throughout his career it almost appeared as if Philbin was trying to justify the Tannehill contract extension by routinely abandoning the running game in favor of the pass. Unfortunately for Philbin, Ryan Tannehill appeared to regress throughout the first quarter of the season, struggling with accuracy and his decision-making. The defensive line, the strength of the team, was only supposed to get better with the addition of Suh but the collective play of the front four has been poor at best. The overwhelming belief is that the players simply weren’t responding to Philbin anymore, if ever.
Now that Philbin is out former tight ends coach Dan Campbell has been promoted to interim head coach. Campbell is a former third round pick that played tight end for 10 years in the NFL. He is 39-years-old. The hope is that Campbell’s experience as a player will resonate within the locker room and translate to better play on the field.