Reaction is what the Dolphins are great at. The problem is to succeed you have to be proactive, something the Dolphins have yet to figure out. Nearly a week after the Ted Wells’ report was released, the Dolphins’ took action. This seems responsible and on the right track. The dilemma is the report was a scathing indictment on the entire organization and instead of being proactive and taking the lead, the Dolphins waited a week to slowly react to the findings. It is understandable to not want to over react to new information; however, the report was overt and blatant. The report also was well thought out and researched. This report made the decision to the rest of the world, seem easy. Finally Miami did take action and terminated offensive line Coach, Jim Turner. The Fins also parted ways with long time head trainer, Kevin O’Neill. O’Neill had been with the franchise for almost two decades, and is highly regarded the league over. Turner and O’Neill are considered by many to be good men, this may be true, and either way in life with every mistake there is consequences and repercussions. In this case these two men took the fall.
The Dolphins are in the middle of a season/off-season of major change, questions, and minimal answers. The Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin fiasco took over the season. It led to the firing of General Manager Jeff Ireland. The Dolphins then went on a lengthy search for a new GM, which landed Dennis Hickey. It seemed the ship was starting to get fixed and the organization would be able to focus on the future instead of the past. Then the release of the Wells report shined another light on the negatives throughout the Dolphins’ franchise. Glaring issues once discussed as a possibility from the mouth of Jonathan Martin, were proved to be true events. The Dolphins were forced to act and after finding out that head trainer Kevin O’Neill stood idly by, even joined in the laughter, when players mocked overtly one of his trainers. Also once it was found out Offensive Line Coach Jim Turner not only was aware of the atrocious bullying on Jonathan Martin and Andrew McDonald, but he also took part in it himself. The report said that Turner gave the offensive linemen inflatable female dolls. As strange as that was, Turner, took it to another level with offensive lineman Andrew McDonald. McDonald had been accused of being gay; Turner went on to give McDonald a male “blow-up doll”. The Dolphins eventually made the right decision and cut ties with O’Neill and Turner.
The problem for the Dolphins is they reacted slowly up to this point, as they always seem to the last decade plus, they continue to wait to react going forward. Joe Philbin is the one man remaining, the man who this entire time has used the excuse that he did not know of anything going on in his locker room. This excuse was valid for Ted Wells, as he left blame on seemingly everyone else within the organization not named Joe Philbin. The problem is this excuse is extremely inconsistent with everything else Joe Philbin has said during his short tenure with the Dolphins. Philbin early in his time with the Dolphins made it known he was extremely detail oriented. He released Chad Johnson ‘Ocho Cinco’, because of character issues. He preached integrity and cohesiveness. However, he allowed Richie Incognito, a man kicked off of 2 college teams, troubles with the Rams, and who already had an incident at a golf charity event while with the Dolphins, he allowed him to become a member on the Dolphins’ leadership council.
Joe Philbin is contradicting himself there, if you are about integrity and character then Incognito would be the farthest from a team leader. Also in a Thursday press conference Philbin stood up and took responsibility for what happened inside of his locker room. He said, though he was unaware it had happened, it is his team and he makes the decisions. This leaves him responsible for what occurs within his organization. He then went on to say, when asked why Richie Incognito, a known troublemaker, was a part of the leadership council, that players elect the leadership council, and he wouldn’t want to mess with their decision. This again is highly contradictory. If you are saying it is your team, you are responsible, you make the decisions, then when the players’ elected a known troubled individual who has never demonstrated the ability to lead with any character or integrity, it is incumbent upon you to remove him from the council.
Joe Philbin both on the field and in the locker room has demonstrated an inability to lead the Dolphins with any conviction or consistency. He says one thing and repeatedly does another. The Dolphins continue to react to difficult situations; when this is a case where they could have been proactive. When a man has been marginal at best at his job, and has shown no ability to take charge, an organization should be left with no confidence in this individual. Joe Philbin whether it be losing control of his locker room to the point of Jonathan Martin walking out in the middle of the cafeteria, or losing the final two games to teams who had nothing to play for, with a playoff spot within his team’s grasp. Saying bye to Philbin is a decision that, even the slow thinking and always reacting Dolphins, should have been able to make. The fact that he stands there still as the Dolphins’ coach today, continues to demonstrate all that is wrong with the Dolphins. It is why the failures of the past and present will continue on into the future for this franchise.