Miami’s slim playoff hopes came to end Sunday with a victory by the Steelers. Despite the bad news, the Dolphins ended up playing a very entertaining game against the Vikings. After the game, Steven Ross made the surprising announcement that Coach Philbin was returning. I found this very interesting because Jim Harbaugh’s future remains in the air and there is still one more game to be played this year. I am going to assume there was something going on behind the scenes that gave Steven Ross insight that Harbaugh was not going to come to Miami. Otherwise, I am not sure why Ross would not wait until after the season to fully evaluate his options and make a choice. T
The general response by the writers and fans have been negative as they feel Philbin has not done enough to earn another season. I am in the minority in that Philbin staying was my number two choice behind bringing Jim Harbaugh here. Granted, I have noted pretty much every week some in-game coaching issues. But even with that being said, I felt like 2014 was the best offseason the Dolphins have had in a decade. Also, Ryan Tannehill has really blossomed into a quality quarterback under Philbin’s tenure. Without question, you need a good quarterback to win consistently in the league, and a new offense could really have set him back. Furthermore, Philbin’s system has really developed several players that were drafted. In my opinion, if you are constantly trying to plug holes on draft misses through free agency, you are going to have a hard time getting ahead of the curve.
Ryan Tannehill, Ja’Wuan James, Jarvis Landry, Dion Jordan, Lamar Miller, Dion Sims, Jamar Taylor, Jelani Jenkins, Olivier Vernon and Reshad Jones are all players that were drafted by Miami and were developed by Philbin’s system. I think all of them have the potential to be Pro Bowl level players next season and the future looks bright for the team.
Miami Dolphins defense against the Minnesota Vikings
I will say that the Dolphins would have most likely lost this game if it had meaning for the Vikings. Our base run defense has been exploited since Denver and the Vikings could have power run all game at us in the second half. Instead, they choose to focus on developing Teddy Bridgewater by attempting to come out throwing against our strong pass defense in the second half.
With that being said, Coyle again gave us a glimpse of Dion Jordan. It remains a mystery to me why he is not on the field more. He is a difference maker when he is. On the offensive side of the ball, it really feels like the Dolphins figured it out too late. Lamar Miller is playing at a pro bowl level. They clearly should have put the ball in his hands via run or pass at least 10 more times a game. Mike Wallace is a hard matchup to stop in 1-on-1 situations. They should have been taking 4-5 more shots with him open or not. Tony Siragusa hit it on the head before the game - the Dolphins are over thinking their schemes. Sometimes you just need to go out and play your match-ups.
Miami Dolphins offense against the Minnesota Vikings
On offense, here is my coaching gripe of the week. I mentioned after the Denver game that the coaches really need to take note of how Peyton Manning surveys the field pre-snap. He yells out calls, does a leg lift, etc. This is not just to see if he can get someone to jump off sides. You do it to give your offense a read on what the defense is doing. When you see me say ‘the in-game coaching needs to improve,’ this is an example. The Vikings like to blitz from different positions. Lazor did pick up on this and call some good screens to catch them. But I would expect them to also advise the team to use long counts to catch them. It puts a ton of pressure on a defense to blitz when you keep yelling out fake calls to catch the movement of the blitzer.
This column and film review was written and analyzed by Chad Ronnebaum. Follow him on Twitter: @GoFins4SB
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