« 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.

My thoughts on Wallace:

Hartline, Gibson and even Clay had big games because Wallace garnered so much attention from the Browns D. He got a huge contract and the coaches seem pleased with what he has done so far. He needs to man up and be the teammate and professional he is being paid to be.

I'm happy if he only gets 15yds on 5 targets every week if it means we keep winning by 2 scores and I'm not getting paid. He needs to feel the same way given he is getting paid handsomely.

Andrew Luck, not equal to, Weeden. Even nearly. You saw him score the winning TD yesterday himself.

Truth totally agreed about pocket presence. Walked right into a sack. Had he taken the outside route and not the inside, Clabo was in position to block his guy down and allow Ryan to take an outside track and probably run for a big gain. He instead walked right into the guys arms because he doesn't give up on the play quick enough when the pocket is collapsing.

The good thing is this is a sign of an inexperienced gunslinger. He will work his way out of it on his own because sooner or later your brain starts remembering the last one and you react quicker. Brett Favre used to do the same thing and he eventually learned.

DC, I don't know about you but I had to take a wicked shite during the draft. It was very distracting. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Mark, seriously or was that a joke? Are your posts being deleted? If so probably for language and not content I would hope!

Yo Mark...tmi bud....

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.

Posted by: ExposingTheFraud | September 09, 2013 at 12:16 PM

He didn't complain to the media you Mary! Stop being a putz! You're routine is as boring as your posts!

Great, now we finally have a good team and there is disention in the locker room. 1st I understand Starks' feelings I have been a starter on every team I have played on and have gotten upset when benched in favor of another player,but you don't make it public, stand your ground,play hard and if you must leave next year then do so. Too bad he will find out it is a business with every team in the NFL. Soliai has defintely been dissed, he has been a good soldier and the way that deal was handled was crap on the dolphins part, give him his money he has earned it. Wallace on the other hand while I understand his feelings he got paid big bucks, shut up and play your team won, don't be a cry baby spoiled diva brat receiver, his day will come soon when he has a big game, it just wasn't today, it belongs to Hartline, be happy for your team mate and play hard next game.

If you noticed, we went single back for most of the Game. Late in the Game, #40, who I assume is the new FB got into the picture and running then was a little easier.

DC, I guess we're all Irelands and Rdubs is Newsome.....

Exposing the Fraud(yourself), go find another blog to try to incite. You're posts have no basis in anything meaningful.

You sit here & make stupid post after incredibly stupid post hoping to get attention. Do you not get enough hugs at home? You bi*ch like a 50 yr old woman starting menopause.

Everybody has work to do, Armando(not you).

lol remember how scared everyone was about Martin taking over for Long? He did okay yesterday but still has work to do.

"On the next play left tackle Jonathan Martin was once again beaten, forcing Ryan Tannehill to scramble out of the pocket where he threw the ball away. Martin followed up on the next play by getting beat by Paul Kruger who managed to hit Tannehill, forcing him to check down underneath for a minimal gain."

This is why stats and qbrs are not always reliable, you have to watch the game. And so many commentators do not watch the games and rely solely on stat lines to come up with their praises and criticisms. It's instant gratification at it's finest.

Posted by: Buster | September 09, 2013 at 01:11 PM


P78, yeah it's probably for language even though I'm using a * in the word, it still gets X'd

Buster, sorry dude, i thought it was an important factor in our draft.

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.

Posted by: GKoh | September 09, 2013 at 12:29 PM

We've seen this type of thing wreck Locker rooms in the past and with stronger more entrenched personalities Coaching.

The situation with R.Moss in N.E. a couple of Yrs. back were he and Brady really got into it and Moss was dealt quickly.

The situation between Bill Parcells and Antonio Bryant back in the Tuna's last H.C. GIG in Dallas were Bryant (there best WR wearing vaunted Cowboys #88) started dogging it in practice over $ issue and when Parcells got in his grill over it Bryant took his jersey off and threw it in Parcells face.

The Haley situation in S.F. feuding with S.Young and management when traded to Dallas (which swung the pendulum in Dallas favor)

Heck it was a split Locker room in 95 over who should be starting ect.. which ended Shula's career in Miami.

It would be CATASTROPHIC for Philbin to have this issue so early into his Head Coaching career from my perspective.

Solia and Starks are the HEART of the D and collapse the interior forcing everything to the perimeter allowing the DE's and LB's to make plays. In the 1st series of the Browns game they were able to neutralize Odrick enough to allow Richardson some room.

In the 2nd series with Starks replacing Odrick they started collapsing the pocket effectively shutting everything down inside forcing the runs wide shifting the Browns philosophy fast! This was NO COINCIDENCE!

If I see it then the team sees it giving a discord with these 2 the chance of dividing the Locker room, add Wallace in the mix and Philbin better run damage control quick or lose the Locker room the way Shula did and even JJ with his Marino feud effectively ending his work here before it gets started.


Nice One menace @ 1:17

Fraud you're so full of crap man. You state your opinion over and over again, same thing. And then we ask you some questions about it, mildly challenging your theory, and you shrink like a penis in a glass of ice water.

Back your s$#t up man! haha

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.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | September 09, 2013 at 12:57 PM


Don't misunderstand, I agree 100% and feel the QBR misleading!

The Colts barely beat the Raiders...


You makey offre they no refuse.

Given how Solai and Starks played yesterday....maybe we should be encouraging Ireland to offend our OLINE and piss them off with their contracts?

For better or worse (than last year):

QB... Better
O-Line... Worse (for now)
WRs... Better
TEs... Tried to be better. Lost Keller. Now, worse.
RBs.... Worse

DL... Better
LBs... Better
Ss... Better
CBs.... Better

HC... Probably better
DC... Better
OC... Same. Which equals worse.


D... Better (much)
O... Worse (for now, and that has to do with RB, OL and, especially, OC)

If all stays the same (i.e. running game and play calling don't improve, a lot)... Record might be marginally improved over last year. 9-7. However, I anticipate improvement on offense. The Ravens did it with Dilfer et al. Because of a superior defense. Differ was a good game manager who didn't make a whole lot of mistakes. All RT has to be is Dilfer or, CP. He does not have to be Marino, or Elway. But... Sherman has to take a creativity pill. And it would be nice if they used Sims... Clay is a hybrid guy and looked like one. I believe this line will gel. Jerry will be supplanted at some point. Starks can be trade bait for a high quality TE or Guard

This team is a Reggie Bush, a good TE and an inventive OC away from being very good.

I am no Ireland fan but this team is better and most of these players were brought in by him.

Anyone else excited by Dion yesterday? Facemask or no, that was lightening fast. I just don't like that he's holding that shoulder like he's in pain.

I'm not certain wnts would say of do anything that represents getting money for they're clients and by proxyhat an en, getting paid themselves.
The only place the TRUTH is being told is between those who have to read the contract to protect the players they manage... and the people who wrote them.

Buying into, the blizzard of bullshiznit is remarkably stupid. Agreeing with the dirt balls just because you have an insatiable appetite for sticking with the underdog is just about (but not quite" as dumb as standing shoulder to shoulder with them.

Dawn Aponte has a pretty solid track record for NOT buying Miami under an avalanche of player debt. And fans in Miami should be pretty damned happy. Aponte is Miami's safe bet to not get burned and need to dump all the work done up until now... There are a BUNCH of people out there who have the same job and let her burn

Sick of the Oprah (I mean Mando) team drama. Instead of asking Mike Wallce the same question 5 times and trying to annoy him, maybe we can get Mando to ask much more pressing questions to the coaches.

1) What is Sherman going to do to improve the running game. How could it have been soooo bad yesterday?

2) How does Sherman plan to get Wallace more involved in the offense?

3) Why do you keep starting Jerry given his poor performance?

4) If Patterson can't go how are you going to set up your secondary to stop Luck?

Obviously the coaches will not answer any of these questions with actual answers but that is what I'd love to see a nosy reporter pushing at instead of all of this player drama.

It looks to me that Wallace is clueless as to his value of the team, It freed up Hartland and Gibson this game, Chances are good he'll again only get a few passes thrown his way again vs. the colts, but sooner or later the other teams are gonna have to account for Gibson and Hartland freeing up Wallace for some scoring opportunity's.
Most intelligent, elite WR know this...
Maybe Wallace is just not that intelligent..
And when a team is paying you that amount of money and your complaining just shows how stupid Wallace is....
JMHO though, I might be wrong.....

Starks can suk it. He's not getting any more money elsewhere. No chance.

Solia is fairly paid @ 7.37 mil

See all other DTs...


Posted by: finsunderworld | September 09, 2013 at 01:23 PM

Great point and I only wish Wallace would see it this way.

He has no idea. He wants to be the hero and he doesn't realize he already is. We're smart enough as fans (most of us) to know that without him everything those guys did yesterday would have been near impossible. He opens things up and I appreciate that sooo much, no idea how long we've been waiting for that speed.\

Does he see the big picture? Does he know he was key in the win yesterday because of this? Does he realize other defenses are now preparing to better cover Gibson and Hartline which is going to open his game up more? It's going to come.

I ripped him a little yesterday but thought about it a little more. The guy has a tremendous amount of weight on his shoulders. He wants to live up to his teammates expectations and the media. He has to try to justify his high salary (in his mind) because people around the NFL have now called him overpaid. He's in full, 'I'm going to prove my worth to the entire league and shut them up'. And he set his expectations WAY TOO HIGH.

He's going to be fine. He's a gifted athlete with elite speed. Forget what people who can't even run to the mailbox without getting winded are saying and play for your team. Everything else will take care of itself. I have faith in Wallace, he's not a dumb guy. He will get it figured out and get his head on straight but only when he stops putting unecessary amounts of pressure on himself.

Oh, and stop making it harder by smack talking Mike! You praise your opponent, not rile them up. That's football 101.

DC, I guess we're all Irelands and Rdubs is Newsome.....

Posted by: Cuban Menace | September 09, 2013 at 01:17 PM

That was hilarious Cuban. Touche.

players ask for alot of money, too much in many cases......teams offer alot less, too little in many cases--all teams, in every sport, deal with this--sometimes it gets ugly and sometimes no....it'll work itself out.

and its sure looking like our early draft picks next year will be on Oline and Dline, no?

Phins78, they should just run a reverse or put him in the slot...

Something to ease his mind, lol

Armando is a typical reporter, have of this he made up just so people would talk no wonder the world look at newspaper reporters as people who do not tell the truth.

P78,See my 1:33 post,I bet Wallace failed his Wonderlic test miserably I be........

Mebbe we reason it with Mikey. You get the $ame, the $ame girlies, you no get hurt, you be the hero x2 or more/year. De acuerdo?

making a bigger deal out of the Wallace situation too--he's probably embarrassed because he was exchanging some friendly barbs with Haden all week, and then barely was targeted....and Im sure Haden was letting him know it during the game--a bunch of targets and a few TDs will cure Wallace's attitude quickly...and I dont love it, but dont most good WRs have some diva in them?--he'll cool off....

Phins 78...

i respect your opinion....but they were off target...

lets just agree that there is room for improvement...

And about the running game. Omar said something that reminded me of this. he said, "either the Browns have a top notch defensive line or the dolphins are tipping their run game somehow".

What do you think gentlemen? I remembered during the game yesterday screaming at the screen and Sherman because I knew they were about to run. I knew this because EVERY time they brought the FB in they ran the ball. I don't remember one play action out of the weak/strong set up. You can't do that, plain and simple, dumb dumb dumb. If you're going to run out of a formation you had better first establish you can also throw out of it. I thought this was a major way Sherman was tipping our hand in the run game.

Did anyone else notice this or anything different?

Underworld, absolutely!

If I'm Sherman I'm coming up with ways to move him around more. Sheesh, he was on the right side the entire day running drags. He was probably too out of breath to talk to Armando!

Mebbe, mebbe.....MVP?

Already there Kris :)

Truth Be Told:

If I were OC Mike Sherman, on the rushing td, I would have made it a passing play. As terrible as the run game was yesterday, they didn't even deserve to have a td credited to their awful play.

Plus, with 2 passing tds, it would have dramatically raised Tannehill's QBR and put him on early pace to throw 32tds(16 * 2). Also given Tanne even more of boost in confidence in throwing "red zone" tds.

He's very young and he needs all of the passing confidence and bravado in this area that he can get.

I don't know Cuban, he seems like a pretty bright guy. He picked up this offense really quick and that's not an easy thing to do ya know?

Maybe not first establish that you can throw out of it but at some point you must use play action or they will know exactly what you're doing. This is common sense so I have to believe I missed something and they WERE doing this? I mean I only had a few beers I wasn't that out of it.

SMART FANTASY FOOTBALLERS will have Mike Wallace starting next week. Vontae Davis is their best cb and he isn't a Joe Haden.

Add this to the fact Wallace comes in pissed, and it should be quite a Tannehill to Wallace show this weekend.

Remember, you heard it first here...................

I'm taking up too much space so I'll leave it to you guys for a while and check back later. Have a great day everyone.

Vontae Davis will be coming off of a "DRUNK" vs Fins this weekend. When Tannehill/Wallace are done with him, he'll be in a burnt toast stupor..............

agree with Faking....if they dont target Wallace 58 times next week, I'd be shocked

Was Sims or Egnew in the Game at all? Which TE was blocking? I only saw Clay split out wide.

Truth Be Told:

If I were OC Mike Sherman, on the rushing td, I would have made it a passing play. As terrible as the run game was yesterday, they didn't even deserve to have a td credited to their awful play.

Plus, with 2 passing tds, it would have dramatically raised Tannehill's QBR and put him on early pace to throw 32tds(16 * 2). Also given Tanne even more of boost in confidence in throwing "red zone" tds.

He's very young and he needs all of the passing confidence and bravado in this area that he can get.

Posted by: LOVE FAKING 17-0-IN-YUR-ASS! | September 09, 2013 at 01:48 PM

This has got to be 1 of the, if not the dumbest thought I've ever read.

Yea, lets let him throw for a td cause it looks nicer on the stat sheet to boost his confidence.


What if he threw an int? A sack? a fumble? Tore his achillies on a drop back like Marino & Testeverde?

TD seals the game there, no reason to jeopardize it when you can punch it in.

Fact of the matter is, the running game shouldn't concern too many people between the 20's. The running game in this offense & today's nfl is more relevant in the red zone.

I'll tell you this, I think Pittsburgh missed him yesterday....

Come on guys, I am going to give Rdubs a run this week. I still have McCoy and RG III

PS, to those who advised me to start Thompkins I opted against it.

I started S. Smith & it paid off more than Thompkins did. Maybe later in the year the kid will be a threat.

YG, you want us to return that TD?


Clay and Egnew started in the "two-te package". Sims played too. However, neither Egnew nor Sims received a Tannehill target yesterday.

Clay received all 5 targets to TE's yesterday. Surprisingly, Clay made all 5 catches..........

If it makes anyone feel better. My other 2 Fantasy team. chugged wet turds this weekend! Inlcuding the pay league!!!

oscar, they put eggy in at fb once.

I think Cleveland has a really solid front 7. They also had Hayden doing a good job containing Wallace most of the game. So, I think they were happy to rely on their front 7 against our front 5 (or 6 or 7 when we had a TE or FB). We can all point the finger at Miller or Thomas or try to wish Reggie Bush back. But in most cases yesterday the RB's were hit behind the line of scrimmage and that is due to poor blocking.

The fact was their front 7 was better than our front 7. That is the final story about yesterday's running game.

Our front seven needs to do a much better job opening holes and sustaining blocks.

« 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 »

The comments to this entry are closed.