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Will Dolphins Changes make a Difference next Year?

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After scoring seven points in the last two games when one win would have gotten them into the playoffs, we knew some heads would have to roll for the Miami Dolphins. Many wondered if Head Coach Joe Philbin would survive the shake-ups. He did, although he is probably sitting on a warm seat going into 2014.

It would have been best to clean house altogether in our opinion but Philbin kept his job. Maybe this for the best, the recycling of head coaches is like continuously going back to square one. Teams that win generally give their head coaches more than two seasons to get everything in place. But in today’s NFL (and big time college football too), fan bases are increasingly impatient and with internet message boards, Twitter and Facebook, when they are unhappy, they let the world know. This puts pressure on team ownership to appease an angry fan base or risk losing money at the ticket window and also in the TV ratings game.

But, the Dolphins have kept Philbin and instead cut General Manager Jeff Ireland loose along with Offensive Coordinator Mike Sherman. Nobody is shedding any tears over Ireland’s departure in South Florida. He has been a bit controversial more than once in his six year run in Miami. And after what happened this season with Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin, somebody in upper management had to take the fall for that. This meant Ireland had to go.

No replacement has yet been named to replace Ireland, but hopefully one will be named soon. Anyone would be an improvement over Ireland.

Sherman had to take the fall after Miami folded in the last two games against two teams they really should be beating in the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets. The fact that they not only lost to both but did it on the heels of a huge win over the New England Patriots was especially painful.

But keeping Philbin was the right move for now. Whether it is progressing quickly enough to make the fans happy or not remains a question but the team is getting better. If they keep getting better then soon we will be looking at a playoff team. So Philbin deserves to remain the coach so he can finish the job.

As for new Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor, he was the Eagles quarterbacks coach this past season. As we all know, the eagles went to second year quarterback Nick Foles and he led them to the NFC East Championship and a playoff berth. Foles threw for 27 touchdowns and only two picks. Cutting down on picks would do wonders for Ryan Tannehill who threw 17 of them.

In fairness to Tannehill and also Sherman, the Martin/Incognito incident took two starting offensive linemen out and then when center Mike Pouncey went down late in the season, they were three starters down. That would explain the league worst 58 sacks allowed and of course this likely led to some of those picks thrown by Tannehill. So that will be Lazor’s first priority, getting the offensive line back into shape. If the Fins can get that part of the equation solved, then Lazor working with Tannehill could be a great thing. After all, Tom Brady can only play for so long and after that somebody else will be stepping into the top spot in the East. Right now, the Dolphins seem to be in great position to assume the top spot.

If this does not work out in 2014, things could get really ugly in South Florida. Philbin will likely be let go and then the Dolphins will have to start over again. With the Bills and Jets both breaking in two promising young quarterbacks, they could rise up soon. So Lazor and Tannehill need to hit the ground running in 2014.

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