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Miami Dolphins Coaching Candidates: Joe Philbin

The wife had her surgery and is on the mend, but her mouth is not wired shut. Darn. Once again I escape the evil voice by writing these articles. I think she's yelling at me while I type, but I've become accustomed to mastering the "yeah" and "I know" responses while toning her out.

I've already posted articles about other candidates such as Rob Chudzinski, Marty Mornhinweg, and Bill Cowher. This time I will focus on Joe Philbin, current Offensive Coordinator for the Green Bay Packers.

Philbin started his coaching career in 1984 as a Graduate Assistant for Tulane University after he earned a master's degree in education. In 1986, he served as Offensive Line Coach for Worcester Polytecnic Institute. He served two years for WPI, mostly going unrecognized because he coached a school that 99% of the population didn't even know had a football team. After two years at WPI, Philbin was hired by another school most didn't know fielded a football team, the United States Merchant Marine Academy, and served an additional two years as Offensive Line Coach. For those that don't know of USMMA, it is one of the US Service Academies. In terms of recognition, it rates just below the University of Political Corruption, a training academy for those aspiring to work in Congress.

Philbin was finally hired at a recognizable school, Allegheny College, in 1990. Ok, so it's not really well known, but in terms of no-name schools, Allegheny College is USC compared to WPI, which would more resemble Appalachian State. During Philbin's years, Allegheny College had two undefeated regular seasons and won the NCAA Division III National Championship in 1990, a league in which every participant receives a trophy. Philbin then departed for his next big school, Ohio University where he served as Offensive Line Coach.

In 1995, after only a single season at Ohio, Philbin was hired by Northeastern University as Offensive Line Coach/Offensive Coordinator, a position he held for two years before he was hired by the big Ivy Leagues.

Philbin was probably not the most popular person on campus, but he once again served as Offensive Line Coach/Offensive Coordinator for Harvard for 1997 and 1998. During this time, Harvard broke 15 offensive records, including most political debates in a huddle. Five members of the offensive unit earned All-Ivy League Honors, an award that should be honored about as much as my fifth grade science fair ribbon. Notable offensive players during Philbin's tenure includes six-time Pro Bowl center, Matt Birk.

Philbin finally made it to a football school many alumni actually respected, the University of Iowa. From 1999 until 2002, Philbin was the offensive line coach for an impressive unit. The 2002 team featured one of the best offensive lines in college football and Iowa finished second in the Big Ten in rushing with 214.2 YPG rushing. Philbin coached Eric Steinbach, Robert Gallery, and Bruce Nelson during his tenure at Iowa. All three linemen received three of five first-team All-Big Ten linemen positions in 2002. All three lineman would be drafted in the first two rounds of the NFL draft.

Philbin entered the NFL on February 23, 2003, as Assistant Offensive Line Coach. He was promoted to Tight Ends/Assistant Offensive Line Coach in 2004. He was finally promoted by Mike McCarthy to Offensive Line Coach in 2006. In this season, Philbin oversaw an offensive line manned by rookies Daryn Colledge, Jason Spitz, and Tony Moll, who combined for 38 starts. Injuries forced the Packers to use five different starting combinations for their OL, but the Packers managed to allow only 24 sacks and their run blocking actually improved from 2005.

Philbin was promoted to Offensive Coordinator in 2007 and helped Brett Favre turn around a two-year skid in which Favre was as impressive as Matt Moore. After two years in which Favre finished with QB Ratings of 70.9 and 72.7, Favre finished with a QB Rating of 95.7, the highest rated season in a decade for Favre. Favre finished his only season in Philbin's offense 4,155 yards, 28 TDs, and 15 INTs. Favre was also sacked a career low 15 times. The Packers' offense ranked 2nd in the NFL, their highest rating since 1983. The Packers finished with 5,931 net yards and 435 points, both ranking fourth highest in franchise history.

In 2008, Aaron Rodgers took over from Favre and passed for 4,038 yards, making it the first time in NFL history two QBs have passed for over 4,000 yards in consecutive seasons. Rodgers again surpassed 4,000 yards in 2009 and Ryan Grant rushed for over 1,200 yards while both Donald Drive and Greg Jennings surpassed 1,000 yards in 2008 and 2009. This marked the first time in NFL history a team has had a QB throw for over 4,000 yards, a RB rush for over 1,200 yards, and two WRs surpass 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons. The 2009 offense set a franchise record for points (461) and set their third highest mark in yards (6,065). They also turned the ball over only 16 times, a franchise record, in 2009.

During Philbin's four years as Offensive Coordinator, not including this season, Green Bay has scored 1,703 points and turned the ball over only 83 times, both franchise records for a four year period. The 83 giveaways are 2nd in the NFL to New England over that time period. The Packers have also set franchise records for postseason points scored in three of Philbin's years as Coordinator, with 42 against Seattle in 2007, 45 at Arizona in 2009, and 48 against Atlanta in 2010. Green Bay has ranked top ten in points scored and yards in every season under Philbin.

Much of Philbin's success can be attributed to Favre and Rodgers, but he's done a solid job of getting production from young players who have overachieved at positions such as WR, RB, and OL. His expertise is the offensive line, which would make many Dolphin fans cringe thanks to Tony Sparano. Unlike Sparano, Philbin often prefers a zone blocking scheme and has experience as an Offensive Coordinator.

Philbin isn't the highest coaching prospect in the NFL currently as he ranks below others such as Marty Mornhinweg, Rob Chudzinski, and Al Saunders, but his name becomes more popular each season and could soon find himself among some of the hot Head Coaching prospects as many teams will target the Green Bay front office and coaching positions to fill their staffs.