The news broke Monday morning that the Miami Dolphins organization has chosen to part ways with head coach Joe Philbin, four games into his fourth season with the team.
Joe Philbin was 23-25 entering this season, but 2015 was feeling special for many of the Dolphins fanbase. You sign Ndamukong Suh to go along with this great defensive line, you make acquisitions to improve your secondary, you have an established running game, you draft a wide receiver who has the potential to be elite in four years time, and you have a quarterback who has all the talent in the world. It’s easy to believe many Miami Dolphins fans were excited, even if some had the knowledge they couldn’t beat the Patriots out for the division, that they would at least contend. Instead beginning the season at 1-3, they are now dead last in their division, following a humiliating 27-14 loss to the New York Jets in London, while the final score doesn’t do justice of how bad it was for the Dolphins.
Joe Philbin isn’t the only one the Dolphins have fired midseason. Of course, Miami fired Sparano after beginning his fourth season 4-9 and was at that time, dead last in the AFC East. Todd Bowles was named interim, winning 2 of his 3 games, and the Dolphins finished 2011 with a record of 6-10. Bowles as well as then-Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy were two of the finalists for the Dolphins head coach after the 2011 season. As we all know, Stephen Ross elected Joe Philbin to be the organization’s 10th head coach, saying Philbin had all the attributes he was looking for.
Joe Philbin originally took the job less than two weeks after the body of his 21-year old son Michael Philbin was found from the Fox River, deceased. Up until that point, Philbin had been content in Green Bay since 2003, but he obviously wanted to shake things up after a tragic loss. And obviously, it was easy to root for the man to succeed down in South Beach. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out that way.
Joe Philbin made the following statement earlier today.
“I want to thank Steve Ross for allowing me the privilege to serve as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. This is a tremendous organization from top to bottom that has a talented and dedicated staff. I want to especially thank the players, coaches and football staff who have worked so unselfishly and represented the team with dignity and class. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the incredible fan base who has supported me and my family unconditionally since day one. It is my hope that the 2015 Miami Dolphins achieve great success both on and off the field.”
Stephen Ross said this earlier today after making the announcement.
“This was a tough decision for me to make knowing how tirelessly Joe worked in his four years here to make this a winning team. He is a man of the highest character and integrity that I developed a close personal relationship with. I am extremely disappointed with how we have started the season, but I feel confident that we can improve quickly with the talent we have on our roster. We will soon be announcing an interim coach to lead the team going forward.”
So now we look towards the future. The Dolphins are only 1-3 and the season can be salvaged, perhaps. Stephen Ross has went ahead and announced that the interim head coach will be Dan Campbell. This transition will be a step up from seeing Jordan Cameron and Dion Sims all day, as he’s been “promoted” from tight ends coach.
The Dolphins seek to turn this 3-game losing streak around, as Dan Campbell takes over this bye week and makes it a period to regroup. However, in two weeks he’s faced with the task of stopping rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota and the Titans squad, up in Nashville. However, Campbell’s future relies on a 4-game stretch that starts out with three road games. They have to travel to play the Patriots on Thursday Night Football, then they have to play in a brutal Ralph Wilson Stadium against the Bills, then they face Chip Kelly’s offense (be it good or not), and then they’ll likely have to host the Cowboys when they get Tony Romo back on November 22nd. Perhaps this stretch determines whether or not Dan Campbell is the guy for the job in the long run.
Personally? I see a 6-10 team, which is an improvement from what they’ve been showing. That would mean they serve a better winning percentage under Campbell, and this team will have a higher draft pick, perhaps to give some help to this offensive line to protect Tannehill and aid the running game. I’d love to note, I remember when the Dallas Cowboys went 1-7, went with interim Jason Garrett, and finished 6-10. They had the 9th overall pick in that draft, which they selected Pro Bowl stud, Tyron Smith.
Fortunately with all the talent the Dolphins possess, there’s hope for the future of this team. At the moment, we’re just trying to figure out who will be the mastermind head coach to challenge the likes of Bill Belichick, Rex Ryan, and Todd Bowles to get this Dolphins team to the next level.