There's a major theme that is connected to head coach Adam Gase ever since he took command of the Miami Dolphins, and that is funny business will not be tolerated. On Tuesday, the team continued that trend just two days after getting annihilated on the road by the New England Patriots, waiving former second round pick Jordan Phillips.
Phillips, 26, was drafted out of Oklahoma back in 2015 and is a supremely talented and gifted player, but his effort level and dedication to the game has been in question since his college days, and despite his more advanced draft status, his playing time has dropped lower and lower in favor of 2017 fifth and sixth-round picks Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor, who have been regularly making plays so far this season.
Phillips only recorded a total of 25 snaps (31%) on defense against the Patriots, giving him less than all the other DTs on the roster; he also was later seen throwing a temper tantrum on the sideline that was captured on television, and several players attempted to calm him down but to no avail.
But in spite of this, Phillips himself came out onto Twitter to debunk any theories that this outburst had anything to do with why the Dolphins released him.
On Monday, Gase addressed the sideline spa, which was assumed to be a result of being rotated out of the game as often as he was.
“Well there’s a reason why we’re doing that." he said. "There’s a reason why we’re subbing the way we’re subbing against that team. It’s not a secret why we’re doing it. Whatever (Defensive Line Coach) Kris Kocurek wants the d-linemen to do, that’s what we’re doing.”
Kocurek is known for wanting to continually rotate players in and out in order to keep the pass rush fresh and keeping them from getting exhausted, and it would make sense that Phillips would get frustrated by that. But there's no way to know what the real reason is behind the release without actually being in the building; either Phillips or the Dolphins aren't being completely truthful.
But the bigger story is not that he was cut or why he was cut, it's the sheer joy that he expressed through his Instagram over the fact that he's no longer a member of the team.
In the same vein as departed players Jay Ajayi, Jarvis Landry and Mike Pouncey, Phillips seems relieved to be out of the Miami Dolphins locker room headed up by Adam Gase. Whether this is a reflection of Phillips or Gase is up to reader interpretation, but it can't be summarily dismissed that so many players are so happy to be anywhere but Miami. Perhaps the players truly are malcontents, like they were being looked at as during the offseason, or perhaps there's something to Gase's coaching style that turns off certain players.
Ultimately, until the results of this move are seen, it's truly moot. As a member of the Miami Dolphins, Phillips racked up a total of 63 tackles, 5.5 sacks 11 pass deflections and an interception in his four seasons. Now, it's up to veteran Akeem Spence, and young players Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor to pick up the slack, with recently called up defensive lineman Jonathan Woodard attempting to fill in the role left behind by William Hayes, who was also playing on the interior.
Phillips is indeed 'free at last,' the only question now is who will this benefit more when all is said and done.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung
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