A few things that Joe Philbin and Ryan Tannehill can learn from watching the playoffs

Dolfans tend to get quite jealous this time of year.  We watch teams with better coaches play against teams with better owners, and all we can do is be envious.

We see quarterbacks take control of games, and we wish our quarterback did the same.

For example, in one of the conference title games Sunday, a defender was caught in a substitution and was racing to get off the field.  The QB saw this, and immediately hurried the sanp count.  The result:  five free yards and a first down.

Which of these men are better coaches than Joe Philbin? A. Both B. All of the above.

Have we ever seen Ryan Tannehill do this?  Seriously, in three complete seasons, has Tannehill ever rushed to the line because he had the defense out of alignment or caught them with too many men?  No.  Never once.

I do not think this is Tannehill’s fault.  He is taught to go up there and slowly assess everything.  You see this every single down as he checks into his cadence.  We never see an audible.  We do not see urgency.  Ever.  This comes from the top.

Joe Philbin has coddled his quarterback instead of releasing a beast, and it hurts.

In his first two seasons, for example, the offense was designed for Tannehill to call “Go” on pass plays and “Go Go” on running plays.  it was so overly simplistic that average fans picked it up after a few games.  The opposing defenses picked it up much sooner.

Was it Richie Incognito’s fault that Tannehill got sacked 4 million times last year?  No.  It was the fault of Joe Philbin and his pal Mike Sherman, who told the defense if we were running or passing at the start of every single play.

Bill Lazor did a decent job of correcting this cadence, but still it wasn’t good enough.  Tannehill drew some defenders offsides on occasion, but he has to use his cadence better, as a weapon, to get us five yards when we need it most.

Bill Lazor has stated that Tannehill has the ability to audible, but that isn’t quite true.  What Lazor describes is Tannehill’s ability to check to different receivers on certain plays.  So if MIke Wallace is covered, Tannehill has the ability to toss it to Brian Hartline instead.   But the problem is that every single pass play in the NFL has these built-in provisions.  If Player A is covered, you check down to Player B.  And then C if needed.  You can’t consider this an audible.  It’s not allowing Tannehill to “change the play.”  Instead, it’s more like allowing him a different option within the same play.

We’d like to see Tannehill have the ability to call true audibles.  If he knows in advance that Players A and B are BOTH going to be covered, then let him change the play to a handoff.  Currently, the Dolphins offense does not allow this.  If Tannehill sees that the play he is about to run will not work, guess what?  He has to run it anyway.  Joe Philbin’s fault.

During the playoffs so far, we’ve seen quarterbacks scream at the refs.  Scream at their own players.  Pick fights with the defense.  It’s a pleasure to see such intensity from that position, and I wish we had more of it.   Tannehill needs to get in guys’ faces when they drop passes on him.  You know Joe Philbin will just pat a guy on the back after he blows an easy catch.   Someone–anyone–on the Dolphins needs to let these guys know that drops are not acceptable.  And Tannehill should take the lead here.

In the same regard, other players should get in Tannehill’s face when he screws up too.  He’ll learn from it and get better.  We’d like to point out that in the very close game we lost to the Packers (the one where Joe Philbin handed a free victory to his Packer friends), Tannehill had a brutal first half.  Interceptions.  Lousy passes.  Hesitant running.

But Lazor got on him a little bit at halftime, and T-hill came out swinging.  Three straight drives.  Three straight touchdowns.  Tannehill’s tenacity had us in a position to win until Joe Philbin took it all away.  But that isn’t Tannehills’s fault.

We saw how Rex Ryan excited an entire football community just by being hired.  He didn’t even sign his contract yet, and Buffalo was already abuzz with awe.  Has Joe Philbin ever excited anyone in Florida?

Former Dolphins Head Coach Todd Bowles came to the Jets with a winning record and a commitment to win.  Dolfans could only look on in envy.  We had him once.  And Ross handed him to the enemy.  Unwise.

Did you see Pete Carroll call for a fake field goal in the most important game of the year?  Joe Philbin won’t even try such creativity in a meaningless game.

If only we had a coach with courage.  If only our coach had courage and guts.  Instead, we’re stuck with Joe Philbin, who describes himself as “queasy” when the going gets tough.  You saw Pete Carroll have tough going too, and you saw how he reacted.

Dolfans were green with envy to watch a champion coach like Pete Carroll in action, compared to the queasy coward we have now.

Joe Philbin is a nice guy and an adequate teacher when in comes to discussing X’s and O’s    His skill set is perfect for an assistant lineman coach.  But it ends there.  He is not a leader.

If someone is an outstanding sniper, that is a great skill set, but it doesn’t mean that guy should be a general.  You don’t take an English teacher and promote him to Secretary of Education overnight.  It doesn’t work.  The skill set isn’t there.   One day you’re doing an adequate job discussing adverbs, but then the next day you’re in charge of people and budgets and decisions and other teachers and…it’s enough to make you queasy if you can’t handle it.

And guess what?  Philbin cannot handle it.  The skill set isn’t there.

He cannot manage the clock.  He misuses his challenges.  He punts on 4th-and-inches in meaningless games.   Or else he tries long field goals by his unreliable kicker (who Philbin himself hand-picked because Pro Bowler Dan Carpenter wasn’t good enough).  He has zero concept of momentum (because he’s never suited up).  He keeps his inadequate friends employed until he’s forced to fire them.

The list goes on and on.  People who defend Joe Philbin should be ashamed of themselves, especially Stephen Ross.  I will eat my words and shut my mouth forever if Philbin proves me wrong.  But we are a long way away from that point.

Philbin defenders can talk to me at this point next year if we’re on the way to the Super Bowl.  Otherwise,


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  1. Up here in Toronto in sub zero weather and watching another January pass and my Phins are nowhere to be found! Bills,Jets are on the way up and I’m scared! Bright side after another 8-8 season next year the ex packer cordinator will be gone!!!! I pray!

    1. Author

      Welcome GeeBee. It stinks that Miami is not in the playoffs, but it could have been a little easier if we got some exciting news. But instead, Ross decided to keep Philbin and Coyle and let all the good coaches go to rival teams. It hurts to not make the playoffs, but then Ross rubs salt in our wound.

  2. Great article, nothing to add.
    We are a long, long, long, long, way home. And like i said once before, win or lose, we’re sadly “not even fun to watch”.

    Go Hawks on Sunday, an organization we have a lot to learn from.


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