BUFFALO -- Earlier this week Dolphins coach Joe Philbin was asked if the changing of players' roles is more difficult this week based on the fact tonight's game allowed little time for change. And the coach was coy, knowing full well that he's basically locked in on practically every role and job.
“I don’t know that anything’s out of the question," Philbin said. "We’re obviously putting together the plan for Buffalo as we speak. We came back last night and worked on it. We’ll see as it unfolds during the course of the week."
Look, the truth is the Dolphins seem locked in for this game. And, furthermore, most players seem locked into their current job because circumstances are demanding it.
Sean Smith is going to start cornerback whether he plays well as he did earlier in the season or doesn't as he's shown the past two weeks.
Ryan Tannehill is going to start the rest of this season whether he plays well or not.
Jake Long is going to start at left tackle whether he plays well or not.
Jimmy Wilson has been terrible as the nickel cornerback except on the occasions he's blitzing -- he's been excellent doing that while struggling in coverage.
Richie Incognito is likely going to remain the starting left guard whether he struggles or not, commits a dumb penalty or not.
The truth is the Dolphins don't have enough depth in the secondary and viable talent behind the starters to make a significant change. The truth is Long has not been his typical self, but no one behind him is challenging him. The truth is regardless of how much Anthony Fasano disappears (three receptions the last three week), Michael Egnew is not ready to step up.
The fact is there is only one starter whose performance is lately not up to par that can be replaced by his backups and that's running back Reggie Bush. And while Bush can be replaced on a physical and performance level, that move might have repurcussions throughout the locker room making the move dangerous.
So, basically, these are your Miami Dolphins. Things aren't going to change much the rest of the season. Get used to it.
But here's the caveat to all that ...
Jobs are not necessarily at stake now or for the rest of this year. But there are players -- Smith, Long, Fasano, Randy Starks, Brian Hartline, Bush, Reshad Jones -- who must perform well to get the kind of contracts they all want once this season is over and their current deals expire.
That and professional pride will have to be the motivation.
Fear of being replaced?
Doesn't look that way.