Say what you want about the lack of talent at linebacker, offensive line and in the secondary. You can say that the Miami Dolphins are missing this piece here, or that piece there, or will never be good until they sign so and so or draft this position in this round. The simple truth is that the Miami Dolphins have more than enough talent to win right now. Compared to every other team in the AFC East, they have the most talented roster overall on both sides of the ball. And yet, they are 1-2 and find themselves in a downward spiral.
The truth is, the Miami Dolphins are two integral pieces away from becoming a consistent playoff team and potential Super Bowl candidate right now. Those two pieces? Head Coach and defensive coordinator. The case has been made for Joe Philbin. Three years, three mediocre seasons, including two where the Dolphins controlled their own destiny late in the season and faltered down the stretch. This has never been more evident than the first three weeks of this season, seeing that the Dolphins currently possess more talent than ever before (dating all the way back to the 70’s).
Philbin just doesn’t have what it takes to get the most out of these extremely talented players. I am not sure whether Miami just isn’t the right place for him, but it’s beginning to look like he doesn’t have what it takes to be a head coach anywhere in the NFL. And without a head coach, you can’t expect to make it anywhere in this league. On the flip side, with a really great coach, suddenly less talented teams become more talented (for example the New England Patriots). Not to mention there is something called development, something the Miami Dolphins have lacked for the better part of the last decade.
And then there is Kevin Coyle, the defensive coordinator who has taken what was perceived as a for sure Top 10 NFL unit and turned them into a question mark. Sure, the Miami Dolphins could use upgrades at the linebacker position and one more solid cornerback, but given their defensive line, they should be able to hold their own. They shouldn’t surrender 41 points to the Buffalo Bills and a perennial third string quarterback at home. That is inexcusable, and it rests on the shoulder of Coyle. The Dolphins simply can’t stop the run, which is fundamental to a good defense in the NFL. They can’t get off the field on third down, and their incredible defensive line looks like a division three school against the likes of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Buffalo Bills. Imagine what will happen when the Patriots and Tom Brady come to town.
Coyle spent this offseason examining and fixing the defense, claiming he was going to “simplify” things defensively. It appears as though he’s stopped scheming and planning entirely. At least that’s what it looked like on Sunday, as the Buffalo Bills had their way with the Miami Dolphins at home.
So, is there a solution to this double-edged sword that has the Miami Dolphins spiraling downward? I am not saying I have the solution, but a good start would be to hire a head coach and defensive coordinator who are willing to adapt and switch things around each week depending on what happened last week and depending on their opponent the following week. You know, that thing called coaching, that Bill Belichick does so well.
The Miami Dolphins are one good head coach and defensive coordinator away from truly making some noise and living up to their preseason expectations in this league.