Written by Matthew Cannata
Joe Philbin is 15-17 as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins over the past two years and is now in his third season, which almost everyone considers a make or break year. Philbin, who oversaw a collapse last year over the last two weeks of the season, was under a lot of heat after the season and many wondered if he would keep his job. Owner Stephen Ross deliberated quite a bit and thought about firing him, but ultimately decided that he should be given another chance to right the ship and Philbin couldn't be more excited for the upcoming season.
“I’m excited about this season, I really am,” Philbin said. “When I took this job I told [owner] Steve [Ross] that I believe in being a developmental football team that should get better week to week and year to year. Nobody is more disappointed about the ending of last year than I am, but I think when you step back there was some improvement. It was tangible in the win-loss record. It wasn’t incremental; I’ll give everybody that. But there was improvement and I expect us to improve again."
Philbin believes that the Dolphins are in good position to make the playoffs and that they will get there in 2014.
“I said I came here to compete for championships and we had a chance to get in the tournament last year. We didn’t. But I expect us to be in position again to do that and hopefully be a year more mature and be able to handle things better and be a year smarter and do a better job. Top to bottom on this football team there’s no place we can’t improve from coaching to playing. I think we’ll do that. I expect us to be a good football team. I really do.”
In terms of where the talent is on the team, Philbin said that the offense has more wide receiver talent than he has ever had with the Dolphins. He also thinks that the running back stable is a strong group and all can play in the NFL. With Tannehill, Philbin hopes to see him improve his decision-making, accuracy and playmaking ability. More specifically though, he wants to reduce the amount of time Tannehill takes to make his decisions.
Last season, Philbin was heavily criticized for not having more of a presence in the locker room, especially during the bullying scandal. The critics said that had he been there, none of it would've happened. That's why this year, he is making strides to know his players better and there has been a huge emphasis on communication and transparency.
This year, if he and his team don't get better, he could be out of work come January 2014.