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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.



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FOX SPORTS.. Ross is a character....but at least he wants to win

I mean, any D line has to be softer than what we faced yesterday. Those guys were in the backfield before our RB could take 2 steps.

This is why the Dolphins haven't won a championship since 1972 - the me,me,me attitude. Solai and Starks are both ham and eggers and Wallace will get his touches eventually - ITS ONE GAME DUDE!! The Dolphins suxed with these guys and can sux without them. Someone make a play and maybe you'll get paid. Show them all the door.

Finsiders is propaganda radio/t.v. for douchebags who are too dumb to know they're being fed propaganda.

It's corporate owned.

Clay actually manned up yesterday. Good job!!

Where's the guy that was ready to put Tavon Austin in the Hall of Fame after 6 games today? Is he off sick or something? You're pretty quiet today bud. Is it because Austin only had 41 yards receiving yesterday, with the longest being 14 yards.

Where are you brother? Come out, come out......

Austin had about 3 Times the production of Wallace

What happened to Tavon's teammate WR, Bailey if I recall correctly?

Should we compare Jordan and Austin's stats after yesterday and declare a winner, like this guy wanted to do?

Too early?

People need to keep in mind there was a lot of talking going on before the game.
If u had a corner in your face talking smack u would also want to catch a few passes.

But its silly to call any receiver a Diva. They have to desire to catch the ball and make plays. Anyone who has ever been an athlete understands...

Starks and Solai are not feeling job security.


The Dolphins under Ireland have truly done a poor job handling players. They tend to take these positions that manage to both insult and offend these players. This evokes memories of the Bryant story, the Clark story... There seems to be a culture of petty unprofessionalism in their contract negotiations.

I don't know him, but from what I've seen of Ireland in public, he strikes me as a terribly insecure GM - a guy who doesn't know how to use power. Constantly beating his own chest, constantly reminding you how much experience he has, how he's been in the business for a long time. Secure GMs don't need to do that.


Just back from Cleveland...long drive to upstate NY!

Not a great game by the Dolphins...but good enough to win! In the stadium, watching each play unfold, I could tell when Wallace was going to get the ball...or even a look. He was going through the motions by the second quarter, and he's not wrong to be annoyed. I was annoyed. The running game was stupid bad, all they had was the passing game, it would not have hurt to try throwing the ball down the field past the down marker a few times early. RT never even looked his way. The Dolphins did not look like an offense/pass minded team...going after Wallace in the off season made the fan base believe that they were going to be an offensive minded team. What they did yesterday against the Browns, worked against the Browns, but it won't work against every team they meet up with this year.

Starks deserves better...but needs to be more professional about how he reacts to management. Solia is a beast and needs to be treated better too! They are the core of the team...make them happy...and it will translate to wins, which will make the fans happy!

On Saturday outside the Rock Hall...had the great pleasure to meet Curtis Johnson...1972 cornerback of the undefeated Dolphins...thought it was a good sign - and it was!

Go Dolphins, let's get the house in order and win more games!


It's week one, Jesus Christ people. Wallace will get over 100 yards next week win or lose and it won't be mentioned again.

I'd bet money that Starks or Solia get an extension in the next few weeks also. You see this all the time where the agent tells the media how unfair the team is being to their client and then 'vala' they sign a new deal.

However Dawn Aponte is a C word I can't write on here. If you watched Hard Knocks she with the itch saying they weren't going to budge on the contract offer to Tannehill and he could enter the draft again the following year.

The powers that be need to have a discussion about professional dialog with colleagues.

Et Tu Salguero? You're not actually suggesting that Philbin should start Starks and tell Tannehill to throw the ball to Wallace simply because they want it are you? You simply CAN'T be this stupid. Players do not gameplan, coaches do that. Coaches don't play, players do that. I'm not sure I've actually seen a coach try to play, but I'm pretty sure it would be ugly. It's real ugly when players try to coach as well. So I have suggestion for Wallace and Starks, just go out and play the game and do whatever is asked of you and do it to the best of you ability. And I have a suggestion for you too Salguero, focus on the big picture. The coaching staff put together a GREAT gameplan the and players executed it perfectly and the Dolphins won. Sure, Philbin has work to do and that's to make sure the EXACT same thing happens again next week.

Ireland is a dumbass for letting Bush go I e-mailed him and urged him to find a way to keep him but dumbasses never listen to good advise....and now he has this bimbo offending our best players...this team is never gonna improve....Im tired of the inept tact

Armando back in crisis mode...or did you ever leave to begin with?

Soliai's agent shouldn't even give the time of day to this clown the Dolphins have (Dawn Aponte)??? That's beyobnd insulting. No woman (NO WOMAN) has ANY place in football negotiations! I wouldn't even talk to her. Go thru someone else.
As for starks thinking he's the "franchise player".....I'm still laughing.

Philbin will get this team together as long as IDIOT Ross will let him do his job & keep Ireland out of the loop till he gets FIRED!!! Offense has got to block better & make holes, but the Defense is pretty much on thier game but will have to continue to apply pressure especially to Luck & he'll make mistakes!!! Let Tannehill throw those bombs to Wallace!!! Beat Indy!!!GO FINS!!!

whiners or winners. Does every player on the Dolphins have a woodie concerning contracts? Not every player gets a 60mil contract. Trade'em we need OL help.

Trade Armando to the National Enquirer and find which fan forum he's stealing his stories from THIS season!

Mike Wallace should tip his arms off and use them to beat the ugly off Salguero's face!

We face FOUR tough games before the bye, and we are 1-0 right now, so Mando has to make Phin fans feel BAD? Great job LOSER!

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