With his rookie season as an NFL head coach behind him, Joe Philbin probably has the trust of most Miami fans because, well, he didn't totally screw up.
He was fine.
The team was 7-9.
And like practically everyone else on the team, the coach needs to get better at his job.
So there's that. But I recently got a letter from a Dolphins fan in New England who doesn't compare what Philbin is to Cam Cameron any other Dolphins coach who failed. He compares him to Bill Belichick because that's the guy he's got to beat.
And right now, the comparison is not exactly kind.
The letter from Stephen Quigley of Massachusetts:
As a lifelong Dolphins fan living in New England I have a better feel for the Patriots than the Dolphins. It is clear that Tom Brady plays at a level that a Dolphin fan can only dream about. I love Dan Marino but I would take Brady every day of the week and certainly twice on any Sunday that mattered.:
The problem I see for so many teams is conservative coaching. Yesterday was a perfect example. Miami is down two TD’s early in the game. The second TD comes at the end of an all too easy 92-yd drive. The Dolphins get the ball back and move down the field; the result of some nice plays and a questionable roughing the passer penalty. Regardless they are faced with a 4th and 9 at the Patriots 24-yd line. What do they do? A 41-yd field goal attempt with a replacement kicker. Why? Even if Kaeding makes the kick it is still a two TD game. The kick is missed and NE walks right down the field again and score a third TD. The game was on the verge of getting out of hand (it did) so what is the benefit of getting 3pts closer when you are 7-8 playing against a superior team on the road? Would Joe Philbin have been pleased with a 28-3 loss?
You cannot match TD’s with field goals. That was Tony Sporano’s philosophy (see yesterdays Jets loss) and he is a bum. Belichick and Brady gamble all of the time. They have talent and experience. How can a team with less talent and less experience even consider playing any less aggressively? The coaching staff must play to win the game and not play to keep their job. In Superbowl XXXVI, Belichick gambled on Brady against a superior team at the end of the game. The result was a stunning upset of the high powered Rams. Do you know why? Because Belichick did not want to risk the Superbowl on a flip of the coin or wait for the other guy to screw it up. He wanted to win it and was willing to deal with the fallout if they did not. That decision took a lot of guts but that is how this game must be played. Belichick was not a proven head coaching commodity at that time and neither was Brady a future Hall of Famer. Not yet.
Joe Philbin did nothing this year that we have not seen for years. Brady is going to be playing at a high level for at least three more seasons. Will Joe Philbin be around still? Not coaching the way he did yesterday.
I read your article today and I agree yesterday was a disaster. My concern is that ownership might not see it that way. It is not just the players in my opinion.
In contrast the Miami Dolphins website notes that the Dolphins are clearly the second best team in the division. Second best?
I think he makes a valid point. The Dolphins weren't going to beat the Patriots in New England in December by kicking field goals from the Pats' 24. Moreover, the team had nothing to lose and played as if this was some sort of battle for an AFC East title. I know that's history now, but it is something that merits consideration going forward.
So what do you think?