Joe Philbin Must Show He Is Not Just Waiting For Someone To Tell Him What To Do

June 19, 2012; Davie, FL, USA; A general view of Miami Dolphins players practicing during mini camp at the Dolphins training facility. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

This summer, the Miami Dolphins will be featured in the NFL Network and HBO show Hard Knocks. While initial reactions among fans were mixed, with many concerned about the unnecessary distractions that the show could bring to Miami, most fans did agree it will be nice to see inside the Dolphins organization, a franchise that has historically been one of the tightest lipped in the league.

But, that's where Michael Lombardi of NFL Network and sees a problem.

"When fans peek into Dolphins camp this summer, general manager Jeff Ireland must prove to everyone that he is the most qualified person for the job -- that he's not just a 'yes' man for owner Stephen Ross," Lombardi writes. "Head coach Joe Philbin must show everyone he is ready for the challenges ahead and that he is not just waiting for someone (Ireland or Ross) to tell him what to do. This is a fine line to walk, particularly for a first-year head coach."

He points out that, while some teams have come away from the show with no issues, some teams have had the show spotlight uncomfortable situations. Lombardi uses the Cincinnati Bengals' experience on the show as an example, with fans quickly learning that owner Mike Brown was completely running the team, and handcuffing head coach Marvin Lewis. Or the Kansas City Chiefs 2007 edition of Hard Knocks, when head coach Herm Edwards was seen as unable to make a decision as the show focused on his decision for a starting quarterback, Brodie Croyle or Damon Huard. Since neither should have been the starter, Lewis inability to make a decision led to some fans losing trust in the coach and the franchise.

Could the same thing happen this summer with the Dolphins? Could Ross come across as too involved in football operations? Will Ireland be seen as a general manager in over his head, as many fans already believe? Will Phibin be able to instill confidence in a fan base trying to learn who he is as a coach?

Lombardi writes, "This is a huge undertaking for the Dolphins, as they could potentially gain more fans.

"But," he adds, "they could also lose whatever confidence the fan base has in the organization.

"For me, the risks far outweigh the rewards with Hard Knocks."

While the are potential downfalls for the Dolphins doing Hard Knocks this summer, then potential gains are too great to pass up. The Dolphins organization has needed to find a way to rebulid its relationship with the fans over the last few years; Hard Knocks provides that opportunity. But, if any of the top three come across as out of touch or incapable, that same fan base could be lost forever.

Vote below for who you think has the most risk this summer on the Dolphins' Hard Knocks.


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