Written by Matthew Cannata at 8:00 AM EST | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
Last week, head coach Joe Philbin was going through a difficult time in his life as his 93-year-old father passed away. Philbin was away from the team on Thursday and Friday and returned on Saturday, but he admittedly missed most of the preparation for the week. Fortunately for Philbin, he had a great support system and was able to get through this challenging time.
“I was lucky to grow up in a house with two wonderful parents and five siblings. I was blessed to have that and I still have one parent that’s alive and well and I have another who’s in heaven. I’ve just been lucky and lucky to have two great parents. No one could have had better ones than I did.”
“I’ll tell you, the guys, when I walked back into the practice on Saturday, the players were great, their attitude was great, the staff had done a fantastic job. It just felt normal. It felt normal. It felt like a Saturday practice. Their energy was good. I felt we were going to have a good game. Our initial weekly practice that I was at was good. I just felt like I was at home.”
Players across the board said that they had dedicated this game to Philbin and had wanted to go out and play hard for him to give him something to be happy about. Following the game in the locker room, owner Stephen Ross presented Philbin with the game ball. Branden Albert said that it was emotional today and he’s glad they walked away with a victory.
“It was very emotional. I think Coach (Philbin) showed his perseverance and toughness this week dealing with his situation. I lost my mother in the battle with her life, so I understand where Coach is coming from and he did a good job fighting through it and I tip my hat off to him because it’s hard when you lose a parent. I don’t care how old your parent is, with the situation, a parent is a parent. You’ve got love for your parents, it hard to deal with when you lose one.”
Reshad Jones said the victory was huge for Philbin and the team. Jones, of course, is happy with the victory but says that they now need to turn their focus to Detroit. Jared Odrick went into a little more detail and talked about channeling all of the emotions going around the locker room and using it on the field.
“I mean it was not just that but, I mean, it, obviously, you know, when someone is going through something like that it’s hard on somebody, and especially when it’s your leader. So, the thing is, is that naturally when you’re in a group of people like that, you want to be able to pick up that emotion and use it, and we did, and we channeled it. Everybody did, and not just that, but also, we treated this game like a playoff game. This is a game where, if we win this, the odds of seeing the playoffs are higher, and we knew that. This is one we got to have. We need this one, so we treated it like a playoff game, and I think we had a good outcome.”
Mike Pouncey said that this was a big game for them and he, along with many others on the team, had promised Philbin prior to the game that they would go out and play the best football game of the year.
“Well all of us have fathers and we know how tough it is to lose one, especially with a man that, a man that took care of him and been there for him. It’s hard. We really wanted to go out and really play well for coach today. He missed a couple days during practice. We really missed him. But, he’s going through some tough times right now, but anytime you can go out there and get a win for our football coach, especially when he is going through what he is going through: it feels good.”
Cameron Wake talked about how important Philbin is to the team and how much they respect him and how much they wanted to get this victory for him.
“First off, I just want to say as a team we want to send out our most sympathies to the whole Philbin family obviously. It was a tough week for him. Every guy had to reach deep down inside of them and rule out whatever they had to, whether it was for him, or for somebody who made a sacrifice so they could get here. Everybody playing this game had somebody who made the sacrifice and did certain things so that you are able to play this game. For the game to start off like that for Coach Philbin, I know it was a tough week, but we definitely wanted to play this game in his honor.”
Ryan Tannehill also talked about the emotions that were running throughout the week and being able to go out and get a victory for Philbin.
“Well it’s tough, you know any time you lose a family member. It’s a tough thing to go through. The team had his back and wanted him to go spend time with his family. He’s always preaching about family and how important that is. To see him step away, and I know how bad he wanted to be here and be preparing, but to see him step away and go spend quality time with his family in a tough time meant a lot to him, and it meant a lot to us that he had the courage to go do that. Obviously we wanted to play well and play well for coach in such a tough time.”
The Dolphins did just that and put 37 points up on the board while allowing none. They’ll now turn their focus to Detroit where they can continue to make noise throughout the NFL with a victory.