The Miami Dolphins are all but eliminated from the playoffs for the 12th time in 13 years and with that in mind, questions about Joe Philbin’s job have already started.
Philbin, who is in his third year coaching the team, has not been to the playoffs once despite a pretty talented roster. In addition, he has been the definition of mediocore, posting a 7-9 season in 2012 and an 8-8 record in 2013. This year, the best they could do is finish with a 9-7 record.
After the game, Philbin said that he wasn’t concerned about his job status in 2015 and said he needs to focus on the task at hand. He also admitted that it’s hard to say the franchise has made progress, especially after losing to two playoff caliber teams the past two weeks.
“There will be a time to evaluate how much progress we've made but today we lost a game, the New England Patriots deserved to win. We're all professionals. We're all paid to do a job and you know, that's what I'm going to starting when I get on the plane, going to look at film and make the corrections and coach. That's what we're supposed to do, that's what players do, that's what coaches do.”
The reaction from the players was mixed, with several coming out to support him while others didn’t endorse him one way or the other. Mike Wallace had a politically correct answer but in no way was it a ringing endorsement of Philbin.
"Coach Philbin is our coach; we’re rocking with him no matter what. We’ve got a lot of things to deal with in the next two weeks. We know we’ve got to stay together, that’s our coach."
Jared Odrick followed that up and didn’t endorse Philbin but instead, turned the focus on fighting for the last two weeks of the season.
"That’s a question that is totally irrelevant to me and the team right now. Whether there is a sliver of hope or a mountain of hope, either way, you have to still fight to see what happens and how this plays out. We can’t think about next year until this year is over."
On the flip side, there were two players who came out in support of Philbin and they were Ryan Tannehill and Mike Pouncey. Tannehill said that Philbin puts them in position to succeed but the players just haven’t been executing. Pouncey echoed those words and said that he wants Philbin back in 2015.
“It’s not on Coach. Coach puts us in a good position,” Tannehill said. “[He] prepares us well and the fact of the matter is we’re not out there making the plays. So you can’t put that on Coach. He’ll take responsibility, but he’s not the one out there messing up the plays and not executing. So when you take a real look at it, it’s on the players.”
While Philbin said that he couldn’t say there was definite progress, Tannehill said that he has seen it despite the team’s record at this point in the season.
“Yeah, I think we are a better team. Obviously it doesn’t feel like it right now. To be where we are at at this point is tough. I feel like with the guys we have in that room, the players that we have there is no way we should be sitting where we are at right now. You know, that is frustrating for me. The fact of the matter is we just haven’t made the plays that were there. We let games slip away, let plays slip away, and it’s tough.”
At the end of the season, the players won’t be the one who have final say. Instead, it will be owner Stephen Ross and despite what some players think of Philbin, he may decide that it’s time for a change and a time to take the franchise in another direction.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManaics
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