The Miami Dolphins are already seeing returns on their investment in head coach Joe Philbin this offseason. After firing former head coach Tony Sparano before the end of the season last year, then conducting an exhaustive search for a new head coach, the Dolphins hired Philbin, who had been the offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers. Since that hiring, Philbin has built a very impressive team of assistants around him, and has said all the right things when talking to the media.
Now, it appears Philbin says all the right things to the players as well.
The Dolphins opened their voluntary offseason workout program without their top defensive player, linebacker Cameron Wake. Wake, who is scheduled to only make a little over $600,000 this season, wants a new contract from the Dolphins, and, honestly, he deserves one. The top pass rushers in the game, of which Wake is one, normally make $10 million a season as a minimum.
So, a lengthy, tense holdout would be understandable in this situation. But, Philbin apparently calmed Wake, and got him to report to the workouts.
"Cameron felt like he had to go in to speak with Joe Philbin face to face, man to man, out of respect to him as a new coach," Wake's agent Paul Sheehy told the Miami Herald. "They spoke, and Cameron decided to work with his teammates during this voluntary period, while I work on the business side of things with the Dolphins."
Whatever Philbin said to Wake, it was effective. And, after seeing the team suffer through cramps and lack of conditioning at the beginning of the 2011 season, it is a good thing it was - the defense needs its leader.