A day after Ryan Tannehill expressed displeasure about Joe Philbin’s refusal to commit to him publicly as the Miami Dolphins’ starting quarterback, Philbin told his players Thursday that as the coach, he should have handled the matter differently and was remorseful about creating a distraction, according to two people inside the team meeting.
One player said Philbin indicated he would not put them in that position again.
And according to a league source, Philbin and Tannehill met in the wake of Tannehill’s comments Wednesday, and Philbin struck a similar contrite tone with his quarterback.
Philbin addressed the issue briefly with reporters Thursday.
Asked whether he wishes he would have handled it differently, Philbin said: “All I’ll say is one of the functions of the head coach is to create an atmosphere free from distractions. To the degree that I contributed to any of those distractions, intended or not doesn’t really matter. That falls on me. It’s my responsibility and certainly I expect that responsibility as a head coach. That’s all I have to say on that.”
Tannehill said Wednesday that Philbin’s refusal to publicly name him the starter – even though he told Tannehill privately that he would start – created a stir and a distraction and said he doesn’t “feel good” about it.
Tannehill was in a good mood in the locker room Thursday and engaged teammates in a game of cornhole, in which players toss a bean bag into a slanted wooden board some distance away.
Tannehill took all the first team snaps this week and will start Sunday’s game against Oakland in London.
Asked how much having to learn a new offensive system has contributed to Tannehill’s struggles, Philbin said: “We’ve been working at this since April. I want to say we had over 1,100 competitive snaps in OTAs, over 1,600 in training camp, preseason games, three regular-season games. I don’t want to minimize it. There are some differences. But at the end of the day, football is football.”
Philbin has given neither Tannehill nor Matt Moore any indication of whether Tannehill could be lifted during Sunday’s game if he struggles.
Philbin was asked his general philosophy about lifting a quarterback during a game, and inserting the backup, if a team is struggling.
“I don’t think it’s any different [with] every position,” he said. “You have to have a sense for the game, feel for the game, look at it clearly. Everything should be based on what gives your team the best chance to win.”
Defensive tackle Randy Starks (back), guard Shelley Smith (knee), linebacker Koa Misi (ankle) and cornerback Cortland Finnegan (neck) missed Thursday’s practice. Finnegan insisted he will play Sunday. Smith isn’t expected to play.
Misi might have had a setback; he practiced on a limited basis Wednesday but was nowhere to be seen during the portion of practice open to the media Thursday. Starks’ status for Sunday is in question.
Samson Satele again took first-team center snaps, suggesting Mike Pouncey might be given more time before returning to game action. Pouncey (hip) and tight end Charles Clay (knee) were among 13 players who practiced on a limited basis Thursday.