Joe Philbin vows to change in 2014

Updated: March 25, 2014, 2:23 PM ET
By James Walker | ESPN.com

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said Tuesday at the NFL's owners meetings that he promises to be more visible and accessible to his players.

The Dolphins are coming off a high-profile bullying scandal in 2013 that led to a league investigation into Miami's locker-room culture. Philbin says he was blindsided by the findings that three of his offensive linemen harassed former teammate Jonathan Martin, who left the team in October and was traded to the San Francisco 49ers earlier this month.

Philbin took responsibility Tuesday, saying the situation will prompt a change in the way he coaches.

"As I examined some of the things as head coach of the Dolphins I can do better, I think the visibility factor can be the difference," Philbin said. "That's one of the things that I'm going to do. It's not that I [had] never been [visible]. But I think one of the things that happens sometimes to coaches is you're conflicted of whether I should watch that blitz tape or third-down film. Sometimes a better use of a head coach's time is to walk through the training room, walk through the locker room, walk through the hallways. It's not that I never done that stuff, but I think it's fair to say I'm going to do it more."

According to Ted Wells' report, Martin never told any of his superiors, including Philbin, that he was being harassed, an indication that the team didn't make the workplace culture comfortable enough for Martin. That is an area Philbin is working to improve.

[+] EnlargeJoe Philbin
Robert Mayer/USA TODAY SportsDolphins coach Joe Philbin promised to be more accessible and visible to his players going forward.

"I think a lot of times what happens in the building in the National Football League is everybody doesn't want to be the bearer of bad news sometimes," Philbin said. "The head coach is busy, so don't bother him. He's watching film, doing this and doing that.

"But we got to get away from that. Frankly, I have to be a little more vigilant in the enforcement of the policies and procedures that I want to have in the locker room that I want to have. That falls on me."

Locker-room culture has been one of the main talking points during this year's league meetings. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said three players involved in the bullying scandal -- Miami center Mike Pouncey and former Dolphins offensive linemen Richie Incognito and John Jerry -- must be evaluated medically before returning to the field. Pouncey is the only one of the three still with the Dolphins, and Philbin said he expects Pouncey to cooperate.

The unprecedented scandal prompted conversation and change throughout the league. Philbin acknowledges it has caused some sleepless nights.

"When you coach, you want everybody to have a great experience," Philbin said. "You want to make an impact. I can't speak for 31 other guys, my colleagues, on why they got into coaching. But I know why I got into coaching. You want players to leave [here feeling they had] a great experience playing. When it's not, it's bothersome."

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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