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Joe Philbin has improved Miami Dolphins coaching staff

Joe Philbin has not won in Buffalo as the Dolphins head coach.

He lost in Buffalo in 2012 -- final score 19-14 -- and he lost in Buffalo last season -- with that one going down in the media guide as a 19-0 score.

So why do I bring up this sour fact while you're still shopping for hotels in Phoenix for Super Bowl 49, following last week's season-opening win over New England?

To say this: The Dolphins go to Buffalo again this weekend. And while the same head coach is leading this Miami team, it is already clear it is a different type of coaching staff.

This one?

Better. Upgraded.

The view from multiple angles is that when Philbin relented (because he didn't want to) and fired friend, mentor and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman and then replaced him with Bill Lazor, the Dolphins head coach did himself and the franchise a service.

In getting Lazor, Philbin picked a rising commodity in the coaching ranks. Multiple NFL people have told me Lazor will be a head coach candidate within three-to-five years assuming his work continues its current trajectory. He is demanding. He is "real," with players as quarterback Ryan Tannehill said Wednesday. And he's got a good scheme that has pulled plays from his multiple experiences and stops both in the NFL and college.

“He’s been great. He wants to be great. He wants to score a lot of points," Tannehill said. "He wants me to play well and that’s what I want. It’s been good to have him push me along and teach me the ins and outs of the offense and expect to play well. That’s what I like."

Dolphins offensive linemen also have a growing kinship not just with offensive line assistant John Benton but his offensive line assistant Jack Bicknell Jr.

This is not meant as a putdown but it is a fact: The Dolphins' offensive line coach the last two years had never coached in the NFL before coming to Miami with Philbin in 2012. Jim Turner was a career college coach.

This year the Dolphins offensive linemen get coached by men with a combined 15 NFL seasons of experience. Benton has been coaching NFL players 10 years in St. Louis and Houston; Bicknell Jr. has made stops with the Giants, Kansas City and Pittsburgh, the last two as the lead OL coach.

So aside from the fact GM Dennis Hickey upgraded the tackles a great deal and addressed the interior line well enough to hold the proverbial fort until Mike Pouncey returns, these two guys have indeed brought the talent -- all new to each other -- together very quickly.

I'm not saying they are going to be the Great Wall of China. But the Patriots did show multiple fronts against the Miami line on Sunday and the adjustments got made. There were some technical issues, but it was the first game out.

Then there's the linebackers coach.

George Edwards, who as the linebacker coach last year, had tons of experience. He'd coached with the Redskins, Cowboys, Browns, and was even the Bills defensive coordinator in 2010-11.

But something wasn't translating. Something didn't click last year with the LBs. And it may have been predictable based on what I was told in 2012.

"We got guys in the room underperforming and I think he's one of them," one linebacker told me of Edwards in 2012.

Alrightie then.

New linebacker coach Mark Duffner is equally experienced, having spent time with Jacksonville and Green Bay and Cincinnati. I don't know him from Adam, honestly, but I hear around the league he is very well respected as hard-working, loyal and capable assistant. He pushes players. He teaches well, I'm told.

The proof seems to be that when the Dolphins had zero starting linebackers in the game on Sunday, the reserves played well.

I'm not saying the reserves didn't make any miscues. But the results are the results.

So what does all this mean?

I'm not saying the Dolphins are beating the Bills or going undefeated or you should get back to that call booking the Phoenix hotel room.

I'm saying Joe Philbin has improved the group of coaches supporting him. That already is apparent.

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