As soon as the Miami Dolphins' 2014 regular season ended, with another year of not appearing in the postseason, the speculation began that a shakeup for head coach Joe Philbin's staff could be coming. Eveyone focused on defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, whose defense fell apart at the end of the season. Those changes did not come immediately, and, midway through January, still have not come.
But that does not mean they will not come.
According to the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson, Philbin is still deciding what he wants to do. He has not fired anyone, but he has not told anyone, specifically Coyle, that they will be back in 2015 either. Jackson's report states that, once Philbin does make a decision, the Dolphins will convey it publicly.
Speculating as to why a decision has not been made, my guess is it is because Philbin wants to be sure that Coyle's system was the problem and that they can get an upgrade if a change is made. I would imagine Philbin is studying the tape, trying to weigh in how much impact injuries had on the season, versus a collapse of a system that has had the Dolphins' defense performing at a high level for two-and-a-half years before last season's collapse.
He's also going to be looking at the landscape of available coaches, and try to find a target he thinks would upgrade Coyle's system. If there is a likely target, he might make the change. If there is not one, maybe he maintains the status quo.
Interesting in all of this is the fate of defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers. A highly regarded assistant coach, Rodgers could be a potential replacement for Coyle, if the Dolphins want to stay in house while replacing the defensive coordinator, but Rodgers may not be long for the job in Miami. Indications are he is the leading candidate to join Todd Bowles with the New York Jets, where he would be installed as the defensive coordinator.
If there is one thing that we have learned about Philbin in three years as the Dolphins coach, it is that he is a details-oriented guy, who is very deliberate in his approach to just about everything. Why should it surprise any of us that he is taking the same approach to his decision regarding any changes to his coaching staff?