Elliot Harrison has released his latest set of power rankings, this time ordering the 32 NFL coaches heading into 2015. For a complete list of his coaches, click here.
However, the only ranking I really care about and want to focus on is his ranking of Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. Harrison has him at 25th out of 32 NFL coaches. Is this too high, too low or just right?
Harrison’s logic for this placement is that “the Dolphins have been stuck in neutral since he came on board in 2012.” For once, I completely agree with an NFL.com writer (I know, shocking right?). But Harrison is exactly right. Philbin has not done a poor job, but he has not done a great job either. His legacy thus far in Miami absolutely rests on how Miami does this season. Many great coaches took years to come into their own, including New England’s Bill Belichick. So ranking Philbin 25th for being a neutral coach in his first three years is fair.
I also looked at who got ranked ahead and behind Philbin. Harrison has Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio one spot behind Philbin. The former Broncos defensive coordinator is entering his first year with the team. I love Del Rio, and think he is a fantastic coach. He took a team that was very similar to the Raiders, the Jacksonville Jaguars, to the playoffs a couple times while he was the head coach there.
One spot in front of Joe Philbin is Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer. Just like Philbin, Zimmer has been neither exceptional nor terrible in his first couple seasons with the Vikings. He is sort of like the NFC version of Philbin, quietly flying under the radar without any majorly poor coaching decisions but also a lack of passion.
So how does Joe Philbin move up on this list? Simply put, you could say he needs to take this team to the playoffs in 2015 or even post his first winning record in four seasons with the team. However, I would like to see Philbin go beyond that. I want to see him verbally and physically become a better head coach, getting behind his team and supporting them with more emotion. I understand he is not an emotional guy at heart, but when you’re coaching a team with this much talent in a division home to the reigning Super Bowl Champions, more passion and emotion may be what you need to fire your team up and reach that next step.
I guess my final conclusion is that I support Harrison’s placement of Philbin on this list. For now. As for my belief in Philbin as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, I am neither fanatically backing him nor am I shunning him. I will have to firmly pick a decision soon I suppose.
But that can wait until after this upcoming season.
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