Everybody is aware Dolphins players hit back on Wednesday. In what seemed like a well practiced, well executed blitz, players throughout the entire locker room defended the team's leadership, defended the team's coaching staff, and mostly, defended Richie Incognito -- giving new context to the Incognito-Martin scandal.
Well, the truth about that apparent orchestrated offensive is that it was kind of orchestrated.
And it went against Joe Philbin's previous explicit orders to players Monday to not discuss the issue in the media. Philbin often tells players the message they should pass to the media.
But by Wednesday, the head coach had changed his mind. Philbin told players in a morning meeting to defend themselves.
And as a group of players, fed up with the scandal, the Dolphins broke their silence.
"We were at a point where we weren't told to say anything. We weren't going to talk. There's an investigation. Plain and simple. You guys expected that," receiver Brian Hartline said. "And now we're able to say our opinion and really protect ourselves from being bullied by [the media] because we weren't talking. Nobody said a word. We weren't fighting back. There were no comments from Richie. There were no comments from us. And we just sat back and listened to it a couple of days.
"And we got kind of tired of it. We got to the point, and you guys can judge, but it caught us all off guard and it's a shame it happened."
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill said players talked about the scandal as a team and decided to come closer as a team.
“Well yes, it’s nonstop," Tannehill said. "I feel like today’s been much better. Guys aren’t discussing the whole thing like the past few days. Obviously, everyone’s hearing about it. Our phones are blowing up from anyone we’ve ever come in contact about the situation. There has been a lot of chatter about it but, today I think guys are happy to stick to each other, have each other’s backs and get ready to play.”
There has been speculation about how disastrous this issue could be to the Dolphins' on-field chances.
I think that speculation is going to be proven wrong. I don't see a team divided. I don't see a team cracking under pressure.
I see a team that is under external pressures but not necessarily divided internally.
We won't know until Monday night in Tampa when the Dolphins play an 0-8 opponent that, guess what, also has had its share of drama.
[Update: The players were told to get back on message today -- which is to say, stop talking again. "We've been told to only talk about Tampa Bay," guard Nate Garner said.]
[Correction: Previously I was told Philbin's orginal orders stood Wednesday. They did not. He changed them Wednesday and changed them again Thursday.]