Bullying Saga Derails Dolphins
By Drew Cathey
About three weeks ago Jonathan Martin left the Miami Dolphins shortly after their game against Cincinnati on Thursday night. From there it has seemed like the story just took off with numerous things going on that are still continuing to this day. Some might argue that it wasn't really that big of a deal while others say that it could lead to huge changes being made in the Dolphin's organization. Regardless of what people thought there was still football to be played and on top of that there was the chance to keep a spot in the playoffs moving forward in the season.
With the accusations freshly on their mind the Dolphins went into Monday night against Tampa Bay and played poorly. The first half was just disappointing and other than the late attempt at a comeback that they had it was nothing short of a bad performance by a team who was just coming off a solid victory against Cincinnati. Some people will say that everything going on was a distraction to the team, but what it comes down to is the fact that they lost to a team who hadn't won a game up to that point and for an organization that is looking to move into that top tier of teams.
Moving forward, with another week removed from the bullying situation, the Dolphins took on the San Diego Chargers. To put it simply, it was a grind it out victory. Things weren't even close to being perfect by any means, but they won the game which is what you want in the NFL. It doesn't always have to be pretty, but when it's all done you want a win because wins get you to the playoffs.
Fast forward to yesterday and the Dolphins are playing in a tight game with the Carolina Panthers. A game in which they lead for most of the game up until the end when the Panthers finally got the go ahead score and held on to win the game. It was a disappointing loss after playing so good and leading for most of the game, but you can't knock the Dolphins for being able to stick with one of the hottest teams in the NFL at this point.
So, what do we make of all of this? Well, for one the Dolphins are 5-6 right now and despite the fact that they have a losing record they are still in the hunt for a playoff spot.They're next two games against the Steelers and Jets are important because if they come out of it with a 7-6 record they might set themselves up with a pretty nice situation with only three games left.
Despite what some people might think about Joe Philibin and his coaching staff, I commend him for what he is doing right now with the Miami Dolphins. With all these things going on he seems to be handling them very well. An NFL season is hard enough without any added on pressure and after going 3-0 to start the season and then losing 4 straight it didn't seem like the Dolphins were going to be going anywhere fast. Philibin however had other things in mind.
After that Thursday night game against Cincinnati it seemed that things might be getting back on track, but then Jonathan Martin happened and they seemed back to square one. However, Philibin has continued to coach who he has on the field and only do what he can otherwise. It has showed in his game plans where we see the Dolphins consistently in games right down until the end. Finishing them is another story and again I think that is more on the players then the coaches.
So, the verdict on what to make of the Dolphins and what happened in a nutshell is that it could have been a lot worse. After losing to Tampa Bay things could have gotten ugly fast, but the coaches continued to coach the players and the players seem to be responding the best they can. In the NFL you can't really ask for much more at this point and with a playoff spot still in reach things seem to be still looking somewhat good for the Dolphins going into December.