The Miami Dolphins finally stopped the bleeding by firing head coach Joe Philbin after just four games this season. Unfortunately, stopping the bleeding after gallons of blood has already spilled out onto the floor isn't always best for the patient. So, will getting rid of Philbin make for a positive change in Miami? And what does it mean for bettors?
Philbin didn't command respect: Philbin is yet another example of how hard it is to predict whether a very good coordinator can make the shift to head coach. Philbin masterfully ran the offense in Green Bay, but he never got it together in Miami. It seems like he just wasn't an ideal leader. The stories coming out now are ridiculous - my favorite is that he often used cue cards when making emotional speeches to his team. He just wasn't leading this team anywhere, and he really shouldn't have been given this shot at a fourth year. He didn't have a winning season, and he made an art of the late-season collapse. Why would we believe that things would change this year?
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Replacement questionable choice: I'm all for fresh coaching blood and all, but this interim hire is not a particularly inspiring one. Dan Campbell is just 39 years old and has had precisely one employer as a coach - the Dolphins. After retiring as a player, he started as a coaching intern with the Dolphins then moved up to tight ends coach. Taking over this badly-damaged ship is a lot to ask, and it's not like there is a long list of success stories when it comes to midseason replacements. He looks particularly uninspiring compared to what could have been - guys like Todd Bowles and Dan Quinn were hired this offseason and have been excellent so far. The Dolphins could have been in play for either guy if they hadn't stuck with Philbin.
Talent to work with: This is not the best roster in the league, but it's far from the worst - and much, much better than it has been performing up to this point. Underachievement is running through this roster like an epidemic. No one is playing as well as they should be on either side of the ball. As skeptical as I am of the coaching choice, if Campbell can get these guys believing and feeling inspired and focus then there is certainly room for improvement - and potentially in a hurry. - they should be much better, so fast turnaround is at least theoretically possible
Defense has been really awful: The defense in particular has been an embarrassment for this squad. Ndamukong Suh and his ginormous contract has been only slightly better than I have been, and I have never worn shoulder pads. The entire defensive line is potent on paper yet toothless in person. The secondary - with the notable exception of corner Brent Grimes - hasn't been good. The schemes are brutal. The spark is totally absent. The upside and room for improvement is particularly massive here, but with the defensive staff intact, and a new head coach who only knows tight ends, it's hard to imagine them improving in a hurry.
Schedule is favorable - in the short term: Things get ugly in a while - they kick off a three-game road trip with a visit to Foxborough on Oct. 29, and that game comes on short rest. Until then, though, things could certainly be worse. They have a bye week now to get back on track then face manageable opponents in Tennessee (on the road) and Houston. They could face a more welcome first three weeks of the new regime, but not by much.
Public won't be excited early on: The team has been disappointing and underwhelming for a long time now. We are used to coaching being a problem in Miami, and the interim status of Campbell certainly won't change that. This has not been a public betting team for a while, and that certainly isn't going to change. It is very unlikely in the short term that this will be more than a blip in the betting world unless something significant happens - positively or negatively. Add in that the next two opponents don't excite bettors, either, and it's very likely that they will be nothing more than a betting afterthought.
The hole is deep already: The team is only a quarter of the way through their season, but it is already not tough to argue that the season is all but over for them. They are already three losses behind the near-certain division winners, the Patriots. They have already lost to the Bills and Jets - and have to play them both on the road coming up. They definitely aren't winning the division, aren't much more likely to gain a wild card spot, and it is highly doubtful that the current head coach will be back next year - or any of the other coaches, for that matter. Given all that, it's tough to be at all optimistic.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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