Monday, October 5, 2015

Adios, Joe Philbin

Joe Philbin just got a lot more time to pick up gum wrappers. Today, Stephen Ross continued his habit of only firing people at least a year after everyone else on the planet knew they needed to go. 

Philbin is a nice guy but unfortunately the NFL awards no points for friendliness or having a tidy practice field. He was a weak leader and as a result, during his tenure anyone with a strong personality was quickly shown the door. When he first became head coach, he said he didn't believe in having team captains, but after Chad Johnson was released the players formed what they called a "leadership council" of four players to represent the voice of the locker room. The next offseason, all four of those players (Karlos Dansby, Jake Long, Reggie Bush, and Davone Bess) were let go. 

Philbin's fear of any players with leadership created a power vacuum that contributed to the 2013 Bullygate scandal. While the Ted Wells report may have exonerated Philbin as being totally unaware of any of the Bullygate events, it convicted him of being totally out of touch with what was going on in his own locker room. He seemed like the overmatched substitute teacher, helplessly asking who threw the paper while his back was turned. In a million different ways, it was clear the players never respected Philbin. Whether it was constantly leaking negative things to the media or Mike Wallace directly confronting him during a game, he clearly never had any command of that locker room. For the past two seasons in a row, the Dolphins quit on Philbin at the end of the season with the playoffs on the line.

With Philbin gone, the Dolphins are left with a team that has some talent, but hardly any leadership. Many of our top paid players like Suh, Wake and Grimes have never been vocal leaders and that's unlikely to change. There are also reports today that Ryan Tannehill recently feuded with the practice squad telling them "Enjoy your practice squad paychecks." when they were intercepting him too much which doesn't inspire much hope for him emerging as a leader in the future. Dan Campbell has his work cut out for him.

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