After back-to-back 8-8 seasons, the Miami Dolphins were supposed to take the next step this year. They were supposed to at least be a Wild Card team and potentially unseat the New England Patriots in the AFC East.
Instead, they started 1-3 and have fired head coach Joe Philbin as a result.
Was firing Philbin the right move?
“You have to, man,” former Dolphins linebacker and current WQAM radio host Channing Crowder said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “The man’s been here four years. The defense is struggling after signing Ndamukong Suh to a blockbuster $114 million deal. You lock in Ryan Tannehill to a $96 million deal. This was supposed to be the year where everything came together, where he had all his guys. This was supposed to be the year everything got going. It seemed like every single player on the team regressed and you cannot do that. I don’t know if Dan Campbell being a sixth-year NFL coach with just the tight ends – not having any coordinator experience or head-coaching experience – was a great move, but he was not Philbin. We were just looking for not Philbin. So yeah, you had to get rid of Joe Philbin after starting 1-3.”
Crowder, who spent six years with Miami, said this might be the most talented team the Dolphins have had in a decade.
“This is the most talent that’s been on that team probably in the last five years that I played and since I retired,” said Crowder, who called it a career in 2011. “If you have that much talent, if you spend that much money (and it’s not working), you have to make some moves in this league; 1-3 isn’t cutting it.”
Miami has a bye this week, meaning Campbell has about a week-and-a-half to improve the league’s 31st-ranked rushing offense and 32nd-ranked rushing defense.
“Being an ex-player, I think it was a smart move hiring an ex-player because he naturally gets that respect because he played in the league for 11 years,” Crowder said. “But as fast as he gains that respect is as fast as he can lose that respect from well-respected, good players in the NFL. He can go in, he can make the practices tougher and he can try to run the ball more. I’m trying to be optimistic abut the whole thing, but it’s tough to change a team. The other head coaches have had four or five months with their team to set their identity and set their expectations. And he has 10 days. It’s 10 days. What can a man really do in 10 days?”
Still, Crowder felt a change was necessary.
“Joe Philbin had no emotion,” he said. “He wasn’t your strong alpha-male, take-control-of-the-room type guy – and Dan Campbell is that guy. So like I said, we didn’t hire a great coach; we just hired the total polar opposite of Joe Philbin.”