The Miami Dolphins had an eventful offseason last year due to all the new talent they signed, but the pre-season Wild Card favorites were unable to capture the sixth seed in the playoffs despite having two opportunities to do so. Not only did they embarrass themselves by scoring zero points against the rival Buffalo Bills in Week 16, but they were clearly outplayed by the New York Jets in yesterday’s elimination-sealing, 20-7 loss. The offense didn’t look inspired, the defense looked undisciplined, and the back-to-back losses to bounce the Dolphins out of the playoffs put Joe Philbin on the hot seat on “Black Monday”.
While I don’t expect Philbin to be fired, it definitely wouldn’t be a surprising event. Even though the Richie Incognito saga dominated the Dolphins mid-season and Philbin did a good job of navigating the team away from that, the Dolphins still should have made the playoffs this year. They couldn’t win two relatively easy games at the end of the season, and they didn’t have stiff competition for the sixth seed either. It was a disappointing end-of-the-season for the Dolphins, and at least some changes will be coming.
According to two sources close to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, “changes of some significance” are set to happen for the Dolphins organization, and it is possible that the ‘Fins decide to cut ties with GM Jeff Ireland, who spent an awful lot in the offseason. I think there’s more of a chance that Philbin gets the ax than Ireland, because Ireland received an extension early in the season and is somebody owner Stephen Ross seems to trust a great deal. Then again, Ireland may have played a negative role in the Incognito saga by keeping him on the team against the wishes of Philbin, but that’s not likely to weigh in on Ross’s mind at this point.
It’s interesting to see that Salguero implies that there’s more of a chance that Ireland is out the door than Philbin, and that could signify in change in heart from the owner. Maybe he realizes that Ireland screwed up with his spending spree, and maybe he believes that the Dolphins problems are more related to poor personnel than a poor job by the head coach. Ultimately, I think we’ll see coordinators and position coaches tossed out, while Philbin and Ireland will stay.
Keep an eye out for news from South Beach regarding hirings and firings, and the inconsistent play of the Dolphins this season can be most directly attributed to poor coaching and talent evaluation and usage on the parts of the coordinators and position coaches.