When the Dolphins held their press conference to introduce Dennis Hickey as their new general manager, everyone in the organization who is anyone attended. And that means coach Joe Philbin, who was part of the interview process for GM, was there.
But as soon as the floor was opened for questions, Philbin left.
He obviously didn't want to answer questions about the interview process for a new GM. He didn't want to talk about Hickey. He didn't want to answer this question: "What responsibility do you believe you have for your relationship with former general manager Jeff Ireland deteriorating into dysfunction?"
I relate Philbin making himself scarce for the last of the Dolphins opportunities to speak with the press, and by extension you the fans, to get to this:
Philbin is good at not explaining what it is that troubles the Dolphins. He declined to take questions at the presser by simply fleeing. He often declined to explain what was wrong with his team in 2013, instead contending the club was "close." He declined to discuss the NFL scandal as it was happening by saying he could not talk about it because there was an ongoing report underway.
When Ted Wells asked Philbin questions, the coach made it quite clear he knew nothing that was going on. That was plausible to Wells.
That is unacceptable to me.
I don't expect Philbin to know every detail about every player on his roster. I don't expect Philbin to be aware of the interpersonal relationship between players away from the Dolphins facility. But a coach is paid to have the pulse of his locker room. Philbin particularly made a point of often telling us how wonderful the locker room culture in Miami was.
And yet, as Richie Incognito and his group harassed Jonathan Martin, often within that very locker room Philbin often vouched for, the leader of the football side of the Dolphins organization was completely ignorant to what was happening.
Stuff was happening at practice and Philbin didn't see it.
Assistant coaches were hearing and seeing and doing things and Philbin didn't know. And when he asked, they apparently lied to him.
Philbin asked players to "respect each other," according to the Wells report. And those players Philbin is paid to lead ignored the coach's wishes.
I don't know what's worse, the ignorance of the problem or being ignored by the players Philbin asked treat each other with respect before things get out of hand.
Either way, Philbin shows an obvious lack of leadership.
Will that get the coach in trouble? I doubt it. Owner Stephen Ross apparently doesn't see any problem in Philbin's lack of leadership.
I do. And I predict we haven't seen the last of it.
The Dolphins -- no, Philbin -- should have fired offensive line coach Jim Turner on Friday in the wake of that report. Didn't happen. The NFL might snatch the control from Philbin's soft grip and suspend Turner instead.
And when all this is over, will Philbin answer for any of this, the most embarrassing chapter in Dolphins history? I predict he will not. He declined to take questions about the NFL scandal when it was ongoing.
I doubt he ever calls a press conference and answers questions about the issue following the NFL's resolution of the matter. I doubt he answers why he didn't ask Martin why he walked away from the team? Why he never had an in-depth discussion with Martin about his May 2013 contemplation of suicide anytime after May 2013? Why he allowed Incognito to be a team leader when so many within the organization saw the guard is a divisive guy?
And if he doesn't give us some answers it'll be further proof -- up there with the losing record and two-game collapse at the end of 2013 and the dysfunction with Ireland -- that the Dolphins job may be too big for Joe Philbin.