While nothing is as satisfying for Dolfans as going into MetLife Stadium and completely dominating the Jets after a week of them running off at the mouth, what the Dolphins showed us yesterday is equally encouraging. As I wrote prior to the game, the outcome of yesterday could have turned the season in either direction. In as big of a game as they have had all season, the Dolphins outplayed, out-coached and
"out hearted" the Jets. The Dolphins wanted it more. All week long, Rex Ryan and the Jets talked about "emptying the tank" during this game. Mark Sanchez openly talked about how being .500 during their bye week would put them where they wanted to be. There is talking about it, and then there is doing it. That falls on the leader, on the Head Coach, and maybe we got the right guy leading our franchise not just this season, but into the future.
Mike Greenberg of ESPN''s Mike and Mike in the Morning, a die-hard Jets fan himself, once said of Rex Ryan "When the head coach is acting like John Belushi, he can't be surprised when his players are acting like it is Animal House." For the Dolphins, that is where Philbin comes in. As someone who DID like the hiring of Philbin at first, I like everyone else had my questions. As this season goes on, they are slowly getting answered. We saw on Hard Knocks how detail oriented Philbin was, how he wanted every drill, every play in practice to be precise. Many poked fun at the scene of him cleaning up wrappers on the practice field. The benefits of his program and his process are starting to show. Using the eyeball test, which team appeared more prepared yesterday? Which team seemed to be focused on its execution in all three phases?
What about the character question? The Dolphins traded and cut players that were deemed to be distractions. Gone are Brandon Marshall, Chad Johnson and Vontae Davis. Is it a coincidence that this team appears as united as it has been in years? As focused as it has been in years? Look at the franchise across the way yesterday and all the problems they have had recently. Look at Cromartie, Holmes before he was injured...see the difference? No franchise is without it's issues don't get me wrong, but there is an obvious theme, an obvious difference.
Rex had some success at first, but does that style work long term? Joe Philbin comes from one of the franchises in the NFL that teams would like to model themselves after in the Packers, who have enjoyed sustained success. The Dolphins may go on and make the playoffs this season, they may not. However, if this team continues to follow the example of their head coach, and if they continue to improve, the result of the 2012 season may be just a footnote in a success story still to be written.