Kevin Coyle has been the Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator for the past three seasons. However, after the unit has slowly regressed each year and with the sudden collapse this season, his job status heading into 2015 remains uncertain. To add to that uncertainty, Joe Philbin didn’t exactly give a strong endorsement of the job that Coyle has done in his final press conference of the 2014 season.
“The process is going to start here soon. Today is really dedicated to the players. Then I’m going to sit down with the coaches as I do every single year. I need obviously some time to think about some things. The season just ended, but I haven’t made any decisions about any coaches for 2015, none of them.”
Philbin admitted that the defense and everyone involved with it has to do a better job. While he wouldn’t single out Coyle, he did make sure to note that the responsibility falls on the coaching staff.
“It’s on everybody. Again, football is a team game. It’s on me. I’m in charge of the football team, so if the defense isn’t playing well it’s first on me. Then the coaches and players, it’s a we operation, and we have to do better.”
There are many examples of why Coyle may be out of a job by the end of this week. Time after time, we saw the offense put up points on the board only to have the defense surrender and give up points to the opposing team. Philbin said that he noticed this trend and he needs to figure out why it happened.
“There are definitely some points in time where we didn’t build off the momentum, there is absolutely no doubt. Yesterday we got a 10-point lead and we give up a 74-yard touchdown pass maybe. It’s two plays, three plays later. We always talk about it’s easy for me to get up in front of the team and say, ‘Hey, we have to play complimentary football. The offense, we need a three-and-out and special teams you have to do this.’ There were a lot of examples throughout the course of the year. If you go back to the first Buffalo game, we took the ball down (to score) to make it 9-3, but then they return a touchdown. Then we score a touchdown to make it 16-9, but then (C.J.) Spiller runs for 55-yards. Unfortunately, there are a lot of illustrations of those kinds of sequences where things were not perfectly aligned like that. ”
In addition, the defensive line collapsed in the second half of the season as they weren’t able to produce a ton of pressure in the pocket and were ran over by opposing running backs. However, Philbin said that a lot of that had to do with the fact that they were playing teams with a good offense.
“I haven’t studied this, but we played some good offensive football teams late in the year, Denver, New England, Baltimore. I don’t know how the stats ended up this year, I haven’t looked at it. You guys have more information than I do at this second. Those are three good offenses. It was kind of a little bit like how we played overall. We have to do a better job. I don’t think it was one position. I don’t think it was one guy. It seemed like, at times, we took turns unfortunately.”
Finally, one of the biggest blunders was the experiment of moving Koa Misi to the middle linebacker position. Philbin admitted that it didn’t work out the way he would have liked it but also said that injuries had something to do with it.
“Part of it was, unfortunately, and I don’t have it in front of me how many games he missed, but it was an ordeal. It was a little bit tough. When you move to a new position and you are missing reps, it makes it a little more challenging. I still believe in him. I love the way he plays the game. He’s one of our more physical, toughest guys that we have on the football team. For whatever reason, the injury bug seemed to grab him a couple of times this year.”
In the end, the issues may be too much for Coyle to overcome and we could see someone else leading the defense in 2015. It is something we’ll be keeping an eye on and we should have an answer by the end of this week.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs