It’s been a stunning week of housecleaning in the world of South Florida sports: Miami Dolphins “nice guy” head coach Joe Philbin was canned. Miami Marlins general manager Dan Jennings was shown the door. And on Thursday, the Dolphins fired defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle.
And there may be more departures.
The bloodbath was justified — just ask frustrated loyal fans.
The fired were instrumental cogs in their teams’ bad performance. How could they not be?
In the case of the Dolphins, maybe owner Stephen Ross should have listened sooner to South Florida fans before finding himself headed deep into another dismal season with an ineffective coach, especially amid the hoopla under way as the team celebrates its 50th anniversary. To assuage fans, Mr. Ross spent millions to renovate Sun Life Stadium only to have his team stink up the place with uninspired football and a 1-3 record.
And after the team’s embarrassing showing Sunday in London, of all places, what was there to celebrate?
Now, fans can root for a team rebirth, a second chance. That brings people together.
At least, they can say Mr. Ross is doing something to avert another 12 miserable games. That’s action, overdue perhaps, but hey . . .
Mr. Ross’ obvious fondness for his head coach blinded him. Miami Herald sports columnist Armando Salguero blamed Mr. Ross’ cluelessness on the fact that he is an absentee owner who flies down for games.
Mr. Philbin clearly is an honorable man, one whom Mr. Ross trusted.
But after three flat seasons with Mr. Philbin at the helm, the billionaire owner finally saw the light. Maybe watching his team make seven unsuccessful attempts to score from the red zone against the New York Jets finally did it.
Better late than never.
Stepping into the role of savior is interim coach Dan Campbell.
Where Mr. Philbin was unassuming, Mr. Campbell is a strapping, square-jawed, in-your-face force, and that’s what the Dolphins need to transform themselves into a force — any kind of force will do.
Let’s see what Coach Campbell can do. Being a white knight is not easy.
With the Marlins, Dan Jennings tried to pull off the trick. In an unusual move, he left his post as general manager and transferred into the dugout earlier this year to manage the team, anchored by slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
However, it failed to spark a turnaround.
On Tuesday, after a depressing season, the Marlins announced Mr. Jennings will not return as manager. So much for salvation from the front office.
As for the Dolphins, Coach Campbell appears to be taking the reins with outsized confidence and a winning spirit that should give fans heart.
“I can do this!” Coach Campbell told reporters at his welcome-aboard news conference, lurching forward and almost out of his chair as he said it. The optics are encouraging, but now he has a week off, with no games to play, to get the team up to speed. Already, just the daily scrimmages have become more intense, observers say.
On Thursday, he took quick, decisive action in firing Mr. Coyle, the defensive coordinator. The Dolphins’ defense is the second worst in the league in allowing yardage. The fans got their way again.
Let’s hope Coach Campbell has what it takes, because South Florida fans are starving — famished — for a winning sports team.
They are sick and tired of all the losing, and are hungry for victory.