A dozen postscripts on the Dolphins, today's firing of Joe Philbin and promotion of Dan Campbell to interim coach:
### The player feedback we heard on today’s news was very positive. Players like and respect Dan Campbell. One person in the building said Campbell will do everything in his power to make this a tougher team (literally) and that nobody is going to be pampered anymore.
Players didn’t loathe Philbin but felt he was neither a motivator (obviously) nor an X’s and O’s savant (clearly) and didn’t bring any special talent to the job.
But one player sentiment expressed to us by multiple people was this: The benefits of a change from Philbin to Campbell will be marginal if defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle or offensive coordinator Bill Lazor isn’t replaced.
Coyle is as disliked by his players as any coach we’ve encountered here. Players pleaded with him in a meeting last Monday to change his approach, including his read-and-react style which keeps defensive linemen from attacking as much as some would wish. Coyle made some concessions but not enough to please them.
Campbell made clear today that he wants to play aggressively. But he said he hasn’t decided whether to replace Coyle. One person inside the building mentioned former Lions coach Jim Schwartz as an option that had been mentioned, but it’s unclear whether Campbell will pursue that.
Linebackers coach Mark Duffner is well liked and also could be a candidate for defensive coordinator if a change is made.
Last season, a lot of players appreciated Lazor’s abilities as a play-caller even though some were turned off by his personality. This season, though, there has been considerable internal questioning of his play-calling, including his lack of commitment to the running game, which frustrates several players.
### Philbin’s final Dolphins practice featured heated exchanges among quarterback Ryan Tannehill and defensive players, according to multiple sources.
According to a player, Philbin has consistently conveyed a message that during Saturday practices, the defensive players should take it easy on the offense and let them execute.
Tannehill, who was irritated and testy because he was throwing some errant passes throughout the week, reached his tipping point on Saturday when Chris McCain did something more aggressive than typical for a Saturday practice, forcing a turnover.
According to two players, Tannehill then flipped, saying something to the effect that he would prepare a scout team trophy case for McCain. At least a couple of defensive players responded angrily and a minor confrontation ensued.
Shortly after that, practice squad safety Jonathan Dowling intercepted Tannehill and returned it for a touchdown, according to another player. The defensive players continued aggressively going after Tannehill passes until coaches implored the defensive players to take it down a notch.
According to The National Football Post, Tannehill also told another defensive player “to enjoy your practice squad pay check.” I have no confirmation of that and would be surprised if he said that.
The team declined to comment on the matter, and Tannehill was not made available for comment. Our feeling: It's not a big deal. This team has bigger issues and I doubt it will linger.
Tannehill has the league’s fifth worst passer rating among starting quarterbacks at 77.1, ahead of only Jameis Winston, Colin Kaepernick, Ryan Mallett and Andrew Luck.
### Not only are the Dolphins last in the league in rush defense and sacks, but it's not even close. Miami has one sack; Detroit is next lowest with four. The Dolphins have allowed 642 rushing yards – 78 more than No. 31 Cleveland.
Offensively, the Dolphins are 30th in the league in scoring at 16.2.
### This is also troubling: The Dolphins’ investment in their young guards simply hasn’t paid off. Jamil Douglas has allowed 16 quarterback hurries (most in the league) and Dallas Thomas has permitted 13 (second-most).
Among 79 guards, Pro Football Focus rates Thomas 78th and Douglas 79th.
### That’s disappointing but not shocking. This, however, is: Cameron Wake, who has played 147 defensive snaps, has one tackle all season (he had 32 last year), no sacks (11.5 last year) and just four hurries.
Wake, who is still being affected by a hamstring injury, played just 34 of Miami’s 81 defensive snaps on Sunday. Olivier Vernon (no sacks, five hurries this season) played 64, Derrick Shelby 60 and Terrence Fede 18.
### PFF graded Ryan Tannehill as the Dolphins’ worst player on offense and Kelvin Sheppard the worst player on defense on Sunday.
Tannehill completed just 12 of 32 passes for 127 yards and two picks when blitzed on Sunday (a 34.2 rating). He was 7 for 12 for 71 yards and a 103.1 rating when he wasn’t blitzed.
### Couple more interesting things on Tannehill, from PFF’s Sam Monson today:
"This season Tannehill is being pressured on 43.7 percent of his dropbacks (highest percentage in the league), up from 38.4 percent last season. To make things worse, when Tannehill can get the ball to a receiver, he is seeing it dropped more often.
"Last year the Dolphins receivers dropped 29 passes from him. This year they have already dropped 10. Tannehill has only completed 56.7 percent of his passes those season, and while he has suffered from 10 drops, he has been accurate on only 69.9 percent of passes when those are factored out. That is just the 24th-best mark in the NFL, worse than Jay Cutler, Matthew Stafford and Josh McCown.
"Even at his best, Tannehill never really looked like the kind of quarterback who would raise everybody’s game and carry a team on his back," Monson said. "Within a well-functioning offensive system, though, he did look like a quarterback who could take the team far. With the system imploding around him this season, he just looks unable to halt the destruction."
### The receiver snaps need to be re-evaluated. Greg Jennings got 40 snaps on Sunday -- more than Kenny Stills’ 28 and DeVante Parker’s 23. That allocation of snaps is questionable, considering Jennings has caught only 7 of 15 passes through to him, for 54 yards, with three drops. Jarvis Landry logged 56 snaps and Rishard Matthews 42.
### In firing Philbin, Stephen Ross conceded the Dolphins might have overestimated their talent.
"Hey that could be,” he said. “That we’ll find out if I did or didn’t. Today, with the salary cap, there’s no such thing as having a perfect roster. But I think have a lot of great players.
"We knew where our weaknesses were and we thought we could overcome those weaknesses and develop players that could play at that level. No team has all stars, but they work together as a team and they make up for the deficiencies that other players have. I didn’t see that development happening.”
Ross said he gave no thought to firing either or both coordinators and keeping Philbin. “I believe at this point,… it was time to really replace at the top.”
### Asked, in retrospect, if he should have dumped Philbin during the offseason, Ross said: “That’s an easy thing to say now. In retrospect, sure. I didn’t believe it then.
“…I may be accused of having maybe too much loyalty, but I felt that we had the right people in place…. I don’t think anybody out there wants to win more than I do…. I put my money where my mouth is, and we’re doing everything we can to win.”
### Ross said he doesn’t believe players quit on the coach.
“These players, they play to win. They way people look at game tapes and if their future isn’t with the Dolphins, their future is with another team is really based on the way they play. I don’t believe that anybody really lay down because they didn’t care about Joe Philbin. He might not have gotten the best out of them, but that’s a different issue.”
Ross said firing Philbin was “tough” because he’s a “wonderful person.”
### So who could be the permanent coach for 2016? The Dolphins would like nothing more than Campbell winning games as much as he won the press conference today. If he makes this a playoff team or just misses, he becomes a top candidate for the permanent job.
If not, options (and this is purely speculative) could include:
Eric Mangini: 49ers defensive coordinator was 33-47 as a head coach with the Jets and Browns but worked with Mike Tannenbaum in New York.
Jim Mora: Had one winning season in five years as an NFL head coach (with Atlanta and Seattle) but is friendly with Mike Tannenbaum and has had success at his current job (UCLA).
Josh McDaniels: Patriots offensive coordinator was 11-17 as Broncos head coach in 2009 and 2010. Oversees excellent offense in New England.
Adam Gase: Bears offensive coordinator left same job in Denver after he was passed over for head coaching job this past spring. Interviewed for 49ers, Bills, Falcons and Broncos head job after last season.
Kyle Shanahan: Falcons offensive coordinator also served in that role for Houston, Washington and Cleveland. Generally well regarded.
Hue Jackson: Bengals offensive coordinator was 8-8 in one season as Raiders coach (2011).
TV analysts: Tony Dungy, who has a good relationship with Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, has made clear he isn't returning to coaching.... Bill Cowher has said he's happy doing television.... Jon Gruden has given no indication he's looking to return to coaching and last year signed an extension with ESPN through 2021, though it's believed he could escape it if he wished. Gruden has a home in Tampa and said in September this would be the year of the Dolphins in the AFC East... Ross has never shown any interest in Brian Billick.
### Twitter: @flasportsbuzz... Our next post will be early the week of Oct. 19, barring something unforeseen before that. Please check back then.