DAVIE, Fla. - He wasn't the Dolphins top choice. Chances are, he wasn't even the 4th or 5th choice. Yet, in the end, Joe Philbin was the choice to replace Tony Sparano as the Miami Dolphins new head coach. That's not exactly a comforting feeling to most Dol-fans, but I'm here to tell you to give him a chance.
Trust me, I know most of you are probably screaming at me through your computer screen that I don't know what I'm talking about. In many of your eyes, the Dolphins blew it. They blew a great opportunity to find a big time coach to turn this franchise around. To that I say, I totally understand.
Miami fired Sparano with three weeks left in the regular season with the hopes of getting a jump start on other NFL teams. Fans were dreaming of Jeff Fisher, Jon Gruden or maybe even Bill Cowher.
None of those coaches wanted to take over the Fins, so owner Stephen Ross had to look at the alternatives. Is that his fault? Well, he clearly isn't highly thought of among many NFL people.
The Dolphins have been a mess over the last few years and have only made the playoffs once in the last 10 years. But, when it's all said and done, Ross hired a coach who paid his dues while leading an explosive offense in Green Bay since 2007.
In many ways, Philbin fits the bill perfectly. He represents a fresh start.
Most fans couldn't pick Philbin out of a police line-up. He's far from being a household name, and he certainly isn't going to get people jumping out of their chairs to buy season tickets. Still, he's a very well respected football man, and most importantly, considered an innovative offensive mind.
With the Packers, he coached a top 10 offense in points and yards in every season he was offensive coordinator. He also got to learn under Mike McCarthy, and has a Super Bowl ring on his resume.
What's not to like? Yes, the head coaching experience question is a legitimate concern, but after the big names were gone, Miami had no choice but to look the coordinator route.
Philbin has also had to deal with his share of heartbreak. I can't even begin to imagine the pain of losing a child. He recently lost his teenage son, who drowned in an icy lake in Wisconsin. Despite the tragedy, Philbin told teams he still wanted to be a head coach. The Dolphins are giving him that chance.
Now we'll see how Philbin can handle a team to himself. Ross needs to hope GM Jeff Ireland gives his new coach what he needs.
I've said it all along, no matter who Ross hired, he wouldn't be successful without a good quarterback. The Dolphins don't have one and haven't had one since Dan Marino.
Ireland needs to give Philbin someone to work with. Remember, he coached Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre in Green Bay. He knows what it's like to set an offense with an elite QB.
An intriguing possibility is that Philbin brings along Packers back-up QB Matt Flynn. Flynn will be a highly sought after free agent and could project to be just the quarterback Miami needs.
Does any of this really comfort a frustrated fan base right now? Probably not. But, I am willing to give Philbin a chance, and so should you.
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