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Miami Dolphins: Still a Mess in Miami

The Joe Philbin Era in Miami has finally come to an end. After 24 wins, 28 losses, no playoff appearances and one improbable contract extension at the end of last season, Philbin was released of his duties after the team fell to 1-3 this season following a 27-14 loss the New York Jets in London.

It was rumored that the coaching staff might be affected if the team lost this past weekend with the defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle being the name that had been kicked around as the one getting axed.

Now, Philbin has fallen on the sword in light of what is happening in south Florida.

The team announced that tight ends coach Dan Campbell will be the Dolphins’ interim head coach. NFL Media’s Rand Getlin added that Dolphins players have a strong affinity for Campbell and that they would welcome the change.

Change may do the Dolphins good, but there are major problems on both sides of the ball that need to be fixed.

“This was a tough decision for me to make knowing how tirelessly Joe worked in his four years here to make this a winning team,” owner Stephen Ross said in a statement via the team’s website. “He is a man of the highest character and integrity that I developed a close personal relationship with. I am extremely disappointed with how we have started the season, but I feel confident that we can improve quickly with the talent we have on our roster.”

It’s a sad state of affairs down south. The team I used to root for as a child is a shell of its former self. I grew up rooting for Bob Griese and a team that was a perennial playoff contender to a team with Dan Marino that was a perennial Super Bowl contender, to now a team that just hopes it does not have the first pick in next year’s NFL Draft. To say these Dolphins have fallen on hard times might be the understatement of the year.

While the team holds a victory in the season opener against the Washington Redskins, it could be the worst in the league – and that is no exaggeration.

Ross gave Philbin more rope than he probably deserved, given the fact the Dolphins have been a firestorm of controversy from the start of Philbin’s tenure down south.

Now, with a semi-clean slate to work with, does this team have enough firepower to reload and try to make a run toward the playoffs in an AFC East that is better than it has been in years? New England is the best team in the AFC. Buffalo and the Jets have proven to be better than advertised. Both could make the playoffs this season.

I may take a full season and a reload of the franchise to determine how far this team has fallen under Philbin’s regime.

Campbell’s connection to the players may be something management considers when finding a replacement. Philbin was hired for his success in Green Bay with the Packers offense. Could another offensive mind be what this team looks for, given the development of quarterback Ryan Tannehill? Who is retained from the coaching staff and how will this affect player moral?

Also, because the defense has taken a major portion of the blame for the team’s lack of performance this season, how quickly will the team look to move Coyle and will the new head coach have a defensive background to help reestablish this franchise as a contender?

Miami has a bye this week following the game across the pond. They play at Tennessee on Oct. 18.

Now that Ross has finally made the decision to move forward, what does this say for other NFL franchises in disarray? Will there be more coaches who are released during the season? Firing a head coach in season is rare, although it has happened recently in Oakland with Dennis Allen last season and with Miami in 2011 with Tony Sparano.

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