So is Miami’s defensive coordinator.
The Dolphins made it clear this week that coaches were mostly to blame for their shoddy performance to start the season. The team fired head coach Joe Philbin on Monday and also got rid of defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle on Thursday. They are the first NFL head coach and defensive coordinator to lose their jobs this season.
With two major coaches shown the door, the pressure now falls on the Dolphins' players. We will find out over the next 12 games if coaching was truly the issue in Miami or if the team has bigger problems.
Philbin and Coyle certainly had their faults. The Dolphins were outscored 37-3 in first quarters this season, which is a clear indication Miami’s coaching staff didn’t have its team prepared to play, and the team was out-coached this year in at least three of its four games.
As a result, there was a growing disconnect between players and coaches, particularly on defense. Philbin confirmed last week that Coyle met with his defensive players before their game against the New York Jets to discuss what had gone wrong and take suggestions. That didn't work as Miami lost to New York 27-14 in London.
The replacements -- new interim head coach Dan Campbell and new defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo – will bring intensity and some new ideas to the Dolphins. But do not expect this pair with zero experience at their new jobs to suddenly come up with every solution.
Miami's possible turnaround on the field will come down to the players. Campbell and Anarumo cannot tackle, pass protect, run block or complete passes. The Dolphins are having issues with all of these fundamentals, and if that continues, the players have no one else to blame but themselves.
Dolphins vice president Mike Tannenbaum and owner Stephen Ross said the team’s goal of making the playoffs remains in reach. There is plenty of football left in the season. But according to ESPN Stats and Information, only 13 percent of 1-3 teams since 1990 have made the playoffs.
If this year’s Dolphins team falls within that other 87 percent -- which is probable -- then it is clear their issues go beyond just the head coach and defensive coordinator. There is a good chance the Dolphins' organization and many NFL pundits overrated this year's roster and potential.
“Hey that could be. That we’ll find out if I did or didn’t,” Ross said this week. “Today, with the salary cap and everything, there’s no such thing as having a perfect roster. But we I think have a lot of great players on our team. We knew where our weaknesses were and we thought we could overcome those weaknesses, and develop players that could play at that level.
“No team has all stars, but they work together as a team and they make up for the deficiencies that other players have, they work as a team. I didn’t see that development happening.”