Joe Philbin mishandled the quarterback situation this week by refusing to acknowledge publicly that Ryan Tannehill is the starter, an approach that led Tannehill to accuse Philbin of creating a distraction.
But since Tannehill made his comments Wednesday afternoon, Philbin has prudently handled the aftermath of the controversy.
During a team meeting with his players on Thursday morning, Philbin took accountability for what he did, said he should have handled it differently, and was remorseful about having created a distraction, according to two people who were inside the meeting. He indicated something like that would not happen again, according to one of the two sources.
And according to a league source, Philbin and Tannehill met in the wake of Tannehill’s comments Wednesday, and Philbin struck a similar contrite tone with his quarterback.
Philbin addressed the issue briefly with reporters Thursday.
Asked whether he wishes he would have handled this differently in retrospect, Philbin told reporters: “All I’ll say is one of the functions of the head coach is to create an atmosphere free from distractions. To the degree that I contributed to any of those distractions, intended or not doesn’t really matter. That falls on me. It’s my responsibility and certainly I expect that responsibility as a head coach. That’s all I have to say on that.”
In case you missed it, Tannehill said Wednesday that Philbin’s refusal to publicly name him the starter --- even though he told Tannehill privately that he would start --- created a stir and a distraction and was not a "good feeling."
Tannehill was in a good mood in the locker-room Thursday and engaged teammates in a game of cornhole, in which players toss a bean bag into a slanted wooden board some distance away.
Tannehill took all the first team snaps this week and will start Sunday’s game against Oakland in London.
Asked how much having to learn a new system has contributed to Tannehill’s struggles, Philbin said: “We’ve been working at this since April. I want to say we had over 1100 competitive snaps in OTAs, over 1600 in training camp, preseason games, three regular season games. I don’t want to minimize it. There are some differences. But at the end of the day, football is football."
Philbin has given neither Tannehill nor Matt Moore any indication of whether Tannehill could be lifted during Sunday’s game if he struggles.
Philbin was asked his general philosophy about lifting a quarterback during a game, and inserting the backup, if a team is struggling.
“I don’t think it’s any different [from] every position," Philbin said. "You have to have a sense for the game, feel for the game, look at it clearly. Everything should be based on what gives your team the best chance to win.”
### Randy Starks (back), Shelley Smith (knee), Koa Misi (ankle) and Cortland Finnegan (neck) missed practice. Finnegan insisted he will play Sunday. Smith isn't expected to play. Misi might have had a setback; he practiced on a limited basis Wednesday but was nowhere to be seen Thursday. Starks' status is very much in question.
Samson Satele again took first-team center snaps, suggesting Mike Pouncey might be given more time before returning to game action.
The Heat will complete its 20-player training camp roster by adding Chris Johnson, a 6-11 center from LSU who has played 71 games (one start) for Portland, Boston, New Orleans and Minnesota over three seasons. He played in China last season.
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