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Monday, January 6, 2014
Can Joe Philbin relate to Mike Munchak?

By James Walker

Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin is in a holding pattern. After meeting with team owner Stephen Ross last Thursday, Philbin, general manager Jeff Ireland and their staffs await their fate as Ross continues to decide on his next move.

In the meantime, Philbin may be able to relate to the recent happenings in Tennessee. Former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak was fired last week after three years for refusing to get rid of members of his coaching staff, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. Munchak stood on his principles, despite it costing the head coach his job.

Could Philbin be facing the same situation in Miami, even if on a lesser scale? All indications are that Philbin is safe after going 8-8 this season and 15-17 in his first two years. However, Ross wanted clear answers on his team’s fifth consecutive non-winning season when he visited the Dolphins’ facility on his personal helicopter. It’s expected that some changes will be made, particularly when it comes to assistants on Philbin's staff.

For example, what is Ross demands Philbin fires embattled offensive coordinator Mike Sherman and offensive line coach Jim Turner? Both assistants struggled mightily this past season, and Ross may demand an upgrade. But Philbin is close friends with Sherman, who is also a mentor, and kicking Sherman out the door would be very challenging for Philbin.

Philbin recently defended Sherman during his season-ending press conference.

“I have a lot of confidence in our staff, our offensive staff with Mike Sherman,” Philbin said. “He’s an excellent football coach, and that’s what I think.”

It’s clear Philbin does not want to fire Sherman. But at the same time, it’s also unlikely Philbin would take Munchak’s route and take the fall instead. Expect an interesting next few days and weeks in Miami as Ross tries to get to the root of what went wrong with the Dolphins.