News that Joe Philbin would be back for a fourth season was received positively in a locker room that at times this season had questions about their coach.
Some of the best:
▪ Quarterback Ryan Tannehill: “It’s great. I’m happy for him. I think we believe in Coach Philbin and the program that he has. Everything is set into place, and he does a great job. I am happy to hear that he is coming back.”
▪ Jason Fox, who started at right tackle in place of an injured Dallas Thomas: “Players love Coach. The guys fight for him. He’s one of us, and he’s part of this football family. We fight for him every game, not just today.”
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▪ Receiver Mike Wallace: “That’s our coach. We’re rocking with him. That’s our guy. I have a good time playing for him. I enjoy it. Coach always puts us in a great position. The plays might not always work, but that’s on us.”
▪ Defensive tackle Jared Odrick: “I think it’s awesome. We’ve got a game to play next week. There’s a lot of decisions to be made in the offseason, in terms of everybody else. What he’s got intact here, in terms of his coaching and his belief in us and our belief in him, is something special. It’s definitely a great move for the organization and for Joe.”
▪ Defensive lineman Derrick Shelby: “It’s his team. I go out and play hard for everybody. It doesn’t matter if it’s Coach Philbin or whoever it is. I owe it to these guys to give it everything I’ve got. Him being the coach, I’m playing for him as well. People make a big deal about that, trying to play hard for a guy. It’s your job. It’s something you’ve got to do.”
Maybe the only remaining big questions heading into the offseason is what happened to the Dolphins’ defense and how to fix it.
Coordinator Kevin Coyle will surely take some heat in the coming days after his group allowed 30 or more points for the third time in five games. The Dolphins have surrendered 156 points in that span.
The Dolphins, who got back injured linebackers Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi on Sunday, allowed touchdowns on three of the Vikings’ five red-zone trips and gave up scores after each of Miami’s two turnovers.
“There were some missed tackles but, again, football is a team game,” Philbin said. “Sometimes the offense has to step up. ... We scored in the second half on every possession, and that’s what we needed to do. We’ll take a look at the tape and make the corrections.”
The Dolphins inducted former defensive tackle Manny Fernandez into their Honor Roll at halftime. Fernandez is best known for recording 17 tackles in Super Bowl VII.
“This is an honor I never expected or really thought four years ago, when I went into the Walk of Fame, that’s where it was going to end,” Fernandez said at halftime.
“But here I am.”
This and that
▪ Cameron Wake had two sacks, the first of which gave him 101/2 on the season and triggered a $750,000 bonus, ESPN reported.
▪ The Dolphins, who outgained Minnesota 493-357, set a franchise record with 36 first downs.
▪ Tight end Charles Clay’s 114 receiving yards were not only a career high but also the second-most by a tight end in Dolphins history.
▪ Wallace on tying his career high with 10 touchdown catches: “It’s cool. I was [hoping] to have about 18 right now, but we’ll take it. But that’s on me. I’ve got to play better, so I can get to 18.”
Eighteen is the team record held by Mark Clayton.
▪ Defensive end Derrick Shelby injured his ankle and did not return.
▪ Full list of Dolphins inactives: WR Rishard Matthews; RB Daniel Thomas; DB Don Jones; LB Chris McCain; OL Dallas Thomas; OL Nate Garner; WR Matt Hazel.