Everything should be on the table now.
Words to that effect came out of Joe Philbin’s mouth late Sunday evening after his team played its worst game of the season, at home no less, in losing 34-15 to a previously winless Kansas City that is a middling team in the supposedly easy part of the Dolphins’ schedule.
“We have to look at everything we’re doing,” Philbin said Sunday after the bitterly disappointing performance by him, his coaching staff, his offense, his defense and his special teams.
And I agree with the Dolphins coach.
Everything should indeed be on the table and under scrutiny now because otherwise this season, which is starting to look like most other unfruitful, unfulfilling seasons the Dolphins have played the past decade or so, is going absolutely nowhere.
So in searching for an elusive answer, everything must be questioned.
The Dolphins should seriously study benching Ryan Tannehill. I’m not saying they should do it, but after three weeks of hot-and-cold play from the quarterback, the coaching staff should not simply start Tannehill as if by rote, because that’s what they have been doing.
Coaches had better be certain Tannehill is better suited to run this offense than Matt Moore. And they had better be ready to explain why, because Tannehill’s performances are offering a heavy counter balance to the idea his status cannot be questioned.
Onus on Philbin
Gathering a kindling and setting on fire the hot seat under Philbin should also be on the table, because this was the kind of uneven performance against a winless team that sets people on the road to being fired.
Joe Philbin is a good man. He’s very organized. He knows football. But that’s all résumé stuff for someone before he’s hired.
Once he’s hired, his team’s play and his winning percentage are the coach’s résumé.
And right now Philbin’s team is playing inconsistently and unimpressively after starting the season in such promising fashion. In that regard, this team is showing us in microcosm what it showed in macro the last couple of years.
Win three, lose four, win one, lose two, win one, lose one, win three and lose two.
The Dolphins coaching staff should be thinking of finally digging into the playbook and pulling out that up-tempo offense that was promised in training camp but so far hasn’t made it to the field. Going to that needs to be on the table.
The only time the Dolphins showed any alacrity and Tannehill seemed truly in charge of the game Sunday was when offensive coordinator Bill Lazor unleashed the two-minute drill before the end of the half. The offense seemed to have the Chiefs on their heels.
So did they keep the Chiefs on their heels to open the second half by using the same attack style? Nope.
Getting this defense, which seems talented enough to succeed but succeeds only enough to break your heart, changed has to be on the table. This is on defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle.
Coyle is under the microscope because this is his third season with basically the same group of players. And that group that coaches thought are good enough to win with has not gotten collectively better.
Cutting people. Adding people. Coaching them differently. Coaching them better. Trades. Examining the unorthodox.
It should all be on the table.
Because this team needs to change direction immediately. And Philbin knows it.
“We’re not playing well enough the last two weeks to win a game in the National Football League,” the coach said.
The Dolphins are actually not playing well enough to stay within two touchdowns of their past two opponents.
And more disturbing, they’re not approaching games correctly at the start.
The Dolphins have trailed at halftime of every game this year. They were down by 10 at halftime to New England before recovering. They were down by nine at halftime to Buffalo before wilting. They were down by 11 to Kansas City.
So players are not well prepared enough or they’re not coming to work with a proverbial hair-on-fire attitude.
“It’s no need to panic,” cornerback Cortland Finnegan said. “I would tell the fans not to panic. We are going to get it right, we are going to fix it.”
Panic because this team is playing like past Dolphins teams we have seen before, and those guys never fixed it before the season was over. So this is no time for patience. This is a time for action.
This is a time to look at everything.