« Dolphins win, but Wallace upset | Main | A Salguero-PFF look back at Cleveland tape »

Joe Philbin has work to do

The Dolphins won their season-opener on Sunday. They have a 1-0 record and are tied for the AFC East division lead.

And coach Joe Philbin has a problem.

That's because the Dolphins head coach has at least three players who are quite unhappy even after the Dolphins are coming off a 23-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

You already know that receiver Mike Wallace was unhappy after the game and I have confirmed through a source close to the WR that he was livid because he fact he didn't get a pass thrown his way in the first half and it got little better in the second half.

Wallace actually declined to speak because he didn't want to throw coaches under the bus. But despite his effort to not make waves, Wallace's actions -- an obvious display of displeasure over the way he was used  -- show he's a problem now.

How else to describe a player who pouts after his team wins?

Then there's Randy Starks. He is not a happy camper either, although he played very, very well on Sunday as shown by his 1.5 sacks.

He did not start Sunday, making that only the second time in the past 64 games with the Dolphins that happens. And Starks has let it be known to his teammates and others he's not happy about his status as a backup.

He believes he was the starter last year and should be so again this year. He believes he is Miami's franchise player, which he is, and did nothing to lose his job.

Yet there was Jared Odrick in the starting lineup Sunday.

Sound minor?

It's not to Starks. He is not happy about this. It is a major issue for him, believe it or not.

And then there's this:

Starks and the Dolphins have exchanged contract proposals. So far, there is no deal. Starks isn't thrilled about that, either, although this is considered a secondary issue at worst. It's not major for Starks at this point. So that much, I know.

I cannot, however, tell you with certainty whether Starks showed his displeasure with the coaching staff, or perhaps the personnel department that is negotiating with his agent, when he flipped off the Dolphins sideline after a sack Sunday -- pictured below.

That would be speculation and I'm not ready to connect those dots.

Let's just say it looked like a message. It didn't seem coincidental even if it might have been.


Then there's Paul Soliai. He is very, very angry, according to a source close to him.

Why is a member of the Dolphins leadership council upset at the team?

Well, it's a contract thing. Soliai and the team have been trying to negotiate a new extension for a couple of weeks. The talks heated last week and the Dolphins offered three new years that would have kept Soliai with the team through the 2016 season.

But the sides couldn't agree on guaranteed money.

And the sides couldn't agree on tactics.

It seems Soliai believes he's been a good soldier and took less money to stay with the Dolphins two years ago when he signed a two-year, $12 million deal. Soliai, I'm told, walked away from a five-year deal worth $35 million with $15 million in guaranteed money in 2010. And he did so happily.

He loves South Florida.

And when this round of negotiations opened for the player in his final contract year, Soliai told his agent, David Canter, to do whatever it took to stay with the Dolphins again.

But then, Dawn Aponte, the Dolphins executive Vice President of Football Administration who is handling this negotiation for the team, seriously insulted the Soliai camp with one of her offers.

The e-mail offer was dubbed a take-it-or-leave-it offer and Canter not only left it, he walked away from the negotiations altogether. And then he took to twitter to rip the Dolphins for their "tactics."

"We're fed up with their tactics," he wrote on twitter.

Canter called the Dolphins approach one of delivering "ultimatums."

Another Soliai source said the offers so upset the player that he feels he's ready to no longer be part of the team in the future and that the idea of asking for a trade was floated within the family. No such request has been made, but you get the idea.

Paul Soliai is hurt and borderline angry. He feels he's been loyal and the Dolphins rewarded him with a lowball contract offer followed by a take-it-or-leave-it offer that wasn't even delivered in person.

So where does that all leave us?

Well, Philbin basically has to resolve this avalanche of unhappiness before it spreads. It's up to the coach to get his locker room in order before small issues turn to larger issues. It's up to the coach to solve the crisis.

I must tell you, the situation with Starks and Soliai is already spreading. Both are respected players and are considered team leaders. And although they aren't complaining publicly, for the most part, they are complaining to other teammates. The men in the locker room know there are issues with these guys.

And those with an opinion agree with Starks and Soliai.

I'm not certain what effect the Wallace issue is going to have. I don't know if there are issues between Wallace and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. I don't know if there are issues between Wallace and Philbin. I don't know if there are issues between Wallace and Tannehill because the quarterback didn't even look toward him in the first half Sunday.

But I know there are issues in general.

And there is only one person that can solve it -- Philbin.

Frankly, the Starks issue is one Philbin helped create. Seriously, what right thinking coach with a finger on the pulse of his locker room doesn't discern that starting is a big deal to a prideful veteran such as Starks and probably not nearly as big an issue to Odrick?

Well, then, start Starks. Problem solved.

Issue erased.

And yet, Philbin didn't see this coming even when outsiders such as the media and others could see it a mile away. The coach didn't act. And, as a result, he was standing on the sideline that Starks flipped off.

The Soliai issue is not Philbin's fault. But it is apparently one the he must resolve. Philbin has to somehow convince Soliai that he's appreciated and loved even while his consigliere, Aponte, is turning the screws on Soliai's agent.

Is Philbin capable of being so diplomatic? Is he capable of being a good actor? I have no idea. I have no idea if he even would want to do that.

The Wallace issue is more complicated because at the core, Wallace has a reason to be upset. He's the team's best receiver. He shouldn't be a decoy. If the team doesn't throw him the ball at all in the first half of a game, something's wrong with the game plan. Something is wrong with the philosophy behind that. Something is simply wrong.

No, Wallace didn't handle it well, although he tried. But he has a point.

Where does this all leave the Dolphins? I perceive Philbin will be talking to these players privately in the next few days. At least he should be.

If he doesn't, add this to the list of problem Joe Philbin has:  Not handling issues while they're still manageable.



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

DC Dolfan Tannereach will never be elite. Eventually he will disappoint. The throw to Hartline was nice, but tell me Chad Henne didn't make his nice throws here and there as well...especially in 2009. Tannehill is inaccurate, and he will be inconsistent. With the new rules, the good ones become great right away now...there is no growing period anymore. Tannereach throws 15-17 picks this year...he will not throw 25 td's, he will not beat a good team.

Seriously...the team wins. That is the point of playing. Flip off the sideline, go play for a loser. Trade him to Jacksonville. Cry about being a decoy and helping the team win, well, that is a bit tougher due to the millions invested but it is time for that guy to grow up. Make the hard decision and let him be an analyst for some sports channel like Chad. As far as the contract negotiations, this always happens with players and when the media gets involved, that just means we hear about it. These past few years, the team appears to be drafting and cutting to build a team with good character. Two of these situations appear to be an issue. Starks...seeya...Wallace, join the team and enjoy winning.

Horrible article.......this is just Armando creating issues where there are none. Wallace id just competitive and wants to contribute - he will. The other guys want their money and they'll get it, but in the meantime they won't take it out on the coaches or the team ............ ridiculous article

Tannehill posted a 59.7 QBR in a 23-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns. The rating was good for 16th in the NFL. Other quarterbacks, such as Buffalo Bills rookie EJ Manuel and Terrelle Pryor of the Oakland Raiders, posted higher QBRs in defeat...blah blah blah

F*CK ESPN! F*CK QBR! Tannehill is 1-0, the rest of the NFL (including every analyst can go SUCK IT)!

Posted by: DC Dolfan | September 09, 2013 at 11:57 AM


Here's the breakdown......

R.Tannehill 24/38 - 272 - 1/1 QBR 82.3

EJ Manuel 18/27 - 150 - 2/0 QBR105.5

Terrelle Pryor 19/29 - 217 - 1/2 QBR 70.6

Maybe you were thinking Cam who threw for 125 Yds and posted a 97.2 QBR. The rating is based on comp. # and TD - Int. differential so they can be somewhat skewed.

We all know that this isn't the 70's so if your QB is throwing for 150 yds or less in today's track meet NFL you better have a combined running effort of over 200 yds. which wasn't the case and the reason those QB's lost.

Mike Wallace can go phuc himself.
Yesterday's opponent was the easiest we will have all season and we were trailing at the half.

Wallace is the highest paid player on the team and he didn't have to do anything and he complains to the media?

I know a guy that was the starting QB here for 3 years, won some huge games for us on Nat'l TV, set an NFL passing record and WAS NEVER PAID MORE THAN $1MIL/SEASON. He never once complained, held out, missed an OTA.

Phuc yu Mike Wallace.

Dawn Aponte needs to learn more tact and act like a professional. Sending an e-mail?! Come on Dawn, that is low class. Grow up!!

Posted by: Kevin | September 09, 2013 at 11:57 AM

In today's game 90% of players act like mercenaries selling out to the highest bidders, so to have a guy take lower compensation with higher market value (was the case when he signed extension in 2011 were he was viewed as top-5 3/4 plugger) then he should be shown more loyalty/respect by Org.

I was all for getting rid of the players Vet council of 2012 but if we keep it up were going to cut not only the team leadership but our best core players as well, what the hell is the F.O. doing now?

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | September 09, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Mark the funny thing is this stuff happens all of the time for a myriad of reasons yet the media down there always seem to try to spin it to a negative before investigating.



I don't care what ANYONE says. Just saw the Tannehill post-game presser on miamidolphins.com. I LOVE THIS KID! He's down to Earth, smart, eager to learn and succeed. Until he proves to me he doesn't have "it", I'm sticking with him.


FIRE ROSS is an ass clown. Anyways, its a shame Starks is acting like that. Such a talented player, but has no understanding of how to be a leader. The best players start and play. If Coach Philbin decides to start Odrick then thats how it is and Starks needs to be a big boy and EARN his job back. Its a shame with Paul Soliai though, that he is so grossly undervalued by Ireland and Aponte. I think at least 1 of these guys need to come back next year so the Dolphins dont end up turning their greatest strength into a mediocre group. And seriously not to be TO sexist but why is a female negotiating these contracts with the players. Its one thing to get low balled but another for a man in this sport where pride means so much to the players to get low balled by a woman who has more than likely never played football in her life? Yes its sexist but isnt it a question worth asking?



Miami Dolphins new nickname is....The Mediocre Express!!

Stuff like this is serious.

Take any team - any team at all, not just football or sports, but corporate or a fast food joint - and failure to issue carrot as well as stick will result in poor team morale and poor performance.

We're not on the inside so we can't see how the rest of the team is taking this, nor the exact way the players involved are expressing themselves, but if young players see that veterans who play well aren't being rewarded, are upset, and insulted, it can cause lasting damage.

Obviously, not everyone can get paid everything they want, that's where the art of management comes in. The Dolphin's organisation, at every level, has to find a way to foster a team spirit, to become an organisation that feels like a family, a real team, with intangible positives that go beyond a $ value. If not, it doesn't matter how much talent you pile on, success won't come and the team won't last and everyone will get bitter.

More immediately, the more players have these thoughts going around their head, the more they feel abused or confused, the less focus they will be able to put in at game time. It's just natural human working.

Philbin's tactic of sitting players when they make mistake seems to me just a bit childish, like something you'd use on a high school player. Do pro athletes really need benching in order to be motivated?

Philbin and/or Ireland need to become leaders of men, and quickly. If they don't know how, then get someone in to coach them. The productivity of human beings improves or worsens depending on the leadership.

I think this has the chance to be the Dolphin's biggest weakness. If it becomes that then it will be tragic, because no draft, no trade, can make up for a lack of real, positive leadership.

I really hope and pray the light-bulb goes on and they get this sorted soon.

f4l, the #s DC was quoting were ESPN's QBR (anking) which is different than the NFL's more widely accepted Qb rating. Newton's 97 I quoted was for the QBrating. Sorry for the confusion -a bit of tossed salad there in mixing #s.

Did anybody seen Solai pick up that fat OG from the Browns and drive him str8 back into Weedon on sheer power? He needs to sign ASAP, give him the contract the DT from the Ravens got, Aponte loosen up though panties!


And I come home from that bullshht and I come to my favoriste place expecting that we would be complaining about the team and instead I find out that the players are complaining in public.


FIRE ROSS is an ass clown.
Posted by: Phinsfan54zt | September 09, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Really says it all, other than the ignorant name (who fires an Owner?). Retarded.

Since we need to bring it up ourselves, how about Ellerbe/Wheeler? Anyone else want Dansby back?

And what about our rookie, Caleb Sturgis? See those kickoffs sail over the endzone? FGs? Love that kid too.

What, no love for Ireland for getting things right? Idiots, go back to your Jets site and talk about how you're in the drivers seat now that you lucked your way to a win. LOSERS!

didnt we all think that one of Starks or Soliai (or possibly both?) are gone at year end anyway?--hard to afford them both so not sure what the big issue is here....one of them is likely to be unhappy, and so be it--they should get a deal done with whoever they want to keep, agree (or could the message be that its neither?....hhmm)--Wallace needs to grow up, its only 1 game and they won!--I can see why he wouldnt be thrilled, but be a professional.....the team is 1-0...thats a good thing.

You worki for the Herald fantasy leage, Patrick?

I have sturgis on my fantasy, no complaints.
I have no running game, both my RBs combined for negative points.

and they should let Starks walk or trade him....cant have that--re-sign Soliai

Big Paul is the best, Truth... he deserves huge money. Wouldn't upset me if he got what Starks is getting on his franchise deal on a multi year deal. PAY that Man!

I have every confidence that he will get paid. Kind of surprised they extended Misi first tho although he's a bad arse Islander himself ... just not as talented as Soliai. Maybe it was just an easier negotiation.

A few months back we all expected that Jones would be playing out the string but he got signed. The fact that all parties are talking is good. I expect everyone crucial to the team to get rewarded. The cap room is there...

ETF. hope everything is OK man... eat a steak... you deserve it for that.

Armando, Good job trying to cover for your buddy jeff Ireland but one coach has already been fired for Jeffs inabillity to bring in enough talent. Now, Philbin and Aponte are getting thrown under the bus. Starks being unhappy about his CONTRACT sounds like Irelands problem. Solai, being low balled is Irelands problem. Isn't he the GM. I watched ex-dolphin players dominate yesterday(Reggie,Marshall). Reggie Bush was never even offered a contract after he made it known he didn't want alot of money because he was happy to be a Dolphin.Cam Wake was given the take it or leave it approach and hes one of the best at his position. He's underpaid! Long had an injury history and was slipping in play so he doesn't belong in this group. These guys have seen enough and are playing for contracts with other teams. Its obvios their upset with this regime as a whole. The only players that seem get some respect are Koa Misi's recent contract with no drama,Brian Hartline got paid with no drama and niether one of these guys have been to the pro bowl or are respected around the leaugue as top teir talent, but the Dolphins value mediocre players more than franchise players. You get what you pay for! Let Solai and Starks walk next year and see how far the Dolphins go with Tannehill, Hartline, and Koa Misil. Lamar Miller played like a 5th round pick that makes 600'000 a year. Why should anyone be surpriised. This is IRELANDS mess!

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/dolphins_in_depth/2013/09/the-dolphins-won-their-season-opener-on-sunday-they-have-a-1-0-record-and-are-tied-for-the-afc-east-division-lead-and-coac/comments/page/4/#comments#storylink=cpy



Appreciate it.

Posted by: Poizen | September 09, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Absolutely Poizen. Tannehill is still making mistakes and it's not surprising with his limited experience. Like we said he's getting better, and hopefully he will continue to improve.

The thing about some of the poorly thrown balls (not all), I disagree with why they were poorly thrown. I agree that Tannehill made the wrong decision.

He shouldn't try to force the ball when he's being rushed. When his o-line lets someone through, instead of rushing a throw to a receiver who hasn't run his full route yet he needs to sling it out of bounds near a wr so it won't be intentional grounding. That's what I watched on a couple of those near interceptions. He had someone in his face quickly and didn't make the right decision with the ball.

I disagree that he was standing back there with all of the time in the world and just made an inaccurate throw. That's how some are making it sound.

So I'm Armando now? I love it! Hey Armando you owe me (yourself) some back pay!

Early line by some books in LV for our Game Sunday, Indy -10.

There are 6 games we are 'supposed' to win, Cle was one of them.
There are 7 games we are 'supposed' to lose.
There are 3 games that could go either way:


Eli made some bad throws last night, he has won 2 super bowls.

How many of Peyton's seasons ended on an int thrown by him to get his team eliminated?

If you're not getting picked off occasionally then you are not taking enough chances.

Truth I don't think there's a chance we get a player of Starks caliber back in a trade. I love the trade idea but that would be a long shot. Draft picks would be the way to go and it is an excellent idea. If you're not keeping him get something now. Nowhere else on the team can we afford to make this happen. Starks leaves and there is no drop off. No brainer.

Tannehill CARRIED the offense to the victory. It wasn't pretty at times, but he did very well considering how bad our running game was and how much pressure he was under.

We won by 13 points on the road! Find another team in the league that was able to do that this week. Despite that, we get this crummy, negative article to start the week. WTF is wron with you Armando?

Of course Belichick and Philbin did nothing yesterday about the finger thrown at them. You first try to reason with the Player....

"The Trade" for Randy Starks should've been straight up for Branden Albert in the summer. Albert as an OG on this team with Pouncey inside? We'd be able to run. Oh well...

I agree with you in that we don't want to hear negative shht following a victory.

But Starks, not mando, flipped off the whole organization on tv...and Wallace the highest paid player on the team, not mando, refused to answer questions.

The issue I had with Tannehill is his pocket awarness is still somewhat lacking.. I honestly think he walked himself into 2 sacks, I understand we dont want a VIck QB who ready to bail at the sign of trouble, but THill does have legs, if the pocket is colllapsing GET OUT OF THERE!

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | September 09, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Mark not only that but here are some Starks tweets from yesterday.

2."Thanks for the support, we're taking off now!!!!"
3."Touched down safely, time to get back to work tomorrow!!!"

Sounds really upset right?

Line I see has Indy -3 which is fair given the home field. Vegas giving instant credibility. Coin flip game.

You reason with your child when he/she is upset.
You 'coach' your employee when they make an honest mistake.
You 'fire' your employee when he flips you off in front of all of your employees/suppliers/customers.

Oscar...again Armando has the priorities askewed....the biggest problem Coach Philbin has is the TWENTY YARDS RUSHING that represents our running game.!!!!!

Understandable that Wallace, Starks and Solai are upset for there individual reasons, but I think Philbin is OLD SCHOOL , and will just keep on truckin' on, and probably hasn't taken the reactions of either player all that well.....

....very happy that we beat the Browns.....but Andrew Luck and the Colts are a whole different animal, and without better run-blocking by the O-line, we are going to be in a real dogfight...


Posted by: DC Dolfan | September 09, 2013 at 11:57 AM


What are Pryor and Manuel's records again? 0-1? Too funny.

Hopefully Pryor will go 1-15 but have a better qbr than Tannehill while Tannehill wins 9 and gets his team in the playoffs, would love to see their heads explode over that one.

f4l, the #s DC was quoting were ESPN's QBR (anking) which is different than the NFL's more widely accepted Qb rating. Newton's 97 I quoted was for the QBrating. Sorry for the confusion -a bit of tossed salad there in mixing #s.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | September 09, 2013 at 12:30 PM

The QBR seems to have varying formulas and like the BCS is a very confusing thing but I got those stats from ESPN as well just not J.Walker.


p78, the board won't let me post what i really think of Mando's work here.

Posted by: FinFan | September 09, 2013 at 12:01 PM


Mark in Toronto | September 09, 2013 at 12:54 PM

Thought it was just me, same things been happening to me in the evening.

Wait, let me double check that line, Maybe I read the wrong Game.


Sorry about beating your team so bad this week. I just wanted to win by a little. Ha ha ha

the domination has begun!

f4l, either way, I don't care. On the eyeball test, Tannehill did what he needed to do. He's shown that his preseason was no fluke.

Pryor and Manuel had respectable showing given their experience but Tannehill played ona different level as he should've even if the stats don't point that out.

Nice to start the year 1-0 even though there were some issues. I predicted 27-13 and it ended up being 23-10, so not too far off. Browns aren't great, but a road win is always nice.

The Good- Before I forget, Sturgis looks well worth the 5th round pick so far. 3/3 on FG's and a bunch of touchbacks. Fields was good as usual.

Tannehill was good. I hear lots of bashing here. Was it perfect, no? He really picked it up in the second half though, led some drives and won the game. Hartline and Gibson both did very well. Who said Hartline can't get TDs? Clay also looked like a respectable TE with his 5 catches for 54 yards.

The whole defense played great imo. 3 turnovers and a bunch of sacks. The Browns were supposed to have a pretty good O-line and we shut down Richardson for the most part. I think Jordan Cameron is pretty good, so no big deal he got a TD. Even though it was the Browns, they averaged 19 last year and we held them to 10.

The Bad
Wallace 1 catch for 15 yards, of course I wanted to see more. Thats what their defense dicated though. I consider Joe Haden a top 10 corner in the NFL. Maybe as high as top 7 or so. It also sounded like he mightve had a safety shadowing some plays too.

The O-line and running game were just a mess. I know Cleveland's front 7 is decent, but that needs to be cleaned UP and fast. I do think it can and will get better though.

Colts didn't look good against the Raiders, I think we will win.

I'm sick of Salguero's "National Enquirer" style of journalism. Anything for controversy.

Out of 5 books reporting their lines 3 have Indy -10 and the other 2 at -5. Probably will end up tomorrow at -8 or -9.

rdubs, you handed me my arse. My team actually was respectable but you brought a big old whooping stick. Well done, sir. Until we meet again.

Same thing happened in my other fantasy league ... ran into the buzzsaw in that one too. And the owner of that team .. a woman. So me and Big Paul have a common beef with women in football today...

But Starks, not mando, flipped off the whole organization on tv...and Wallace the highest paid player on the team, not mando, refused to answer questions.

Posted by: ExposingTheFraud | September 09, 2013 at 12:48 PM

How does anyone know who Starks flipped off and if it was in anger or being playful with teammates? Here is a scenario:

Player X: Man Randy, Odrick is really killing them today. No wonder you are on the bench.

Starks: Just wait man, I'm gonna get a sack when I get back out there. This ones for you so pay attention.

That is just a speculative scenario but that's all anyone else is doing, speculating.

But Starks, not mando, flipped off the whole organization on tv...

Posted by: ExposingTheFraud | September 09, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Where did you hear this? No one is reporting this at all. Seriously, who wrote that Starks flipped off the entire organization?

Because Starks himself said he was joking with a teammate. So do you have some inside information that Starks is lying? Please stop it.

ETF, did your boy Chad Henne play at all??? The Jags are pathetic I bet MJD cant wait to get out of there

are some of you guys really talking "QBR" after 1 game?--c'mon....THill looked solid, had no running game or Oline protection to help him, sacked 4 times so never could get comfortable in the pocket--was strong in the 2nd half....he did fine, better than fine actually--and his rating is ahead of guys like Brady, Big Ben and Flacco....we all know those 3 suck, but still worth mentioning.

Time to give kudos to the O-line on pass protection, however....for the most part they kept Tanny from being manhandled....J Martin probably had his best performance of the past 6 games...so looks like he is improved...John Jerry was also a pleast surprise, as he and Clabo effectively controlled the right side on passing plays...Cogs and Martin also seemed in sync, and Pouncey was his usual workmanlike self..

...btw...Clutts , #40, as lead FB looked much improved over what we had with J Lane last season...

...so maybe the run blocking will come along....as it is generally accepted to be the harder task to perform as a unit...hope so..

GO FINS!!! 2-0 is doable!!!

I don't know how Rdubs got the players he got in a 14 (or whatever number we have) player league. WHAT THE H*LL WERE THE REST OF US DOING?

« 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 »

The comments to this entry are closed.