Philbin is dealing with the first bye week of his head-coaching career, knowing full well that a critical division game at the New York Jets is waiting on the other side. But he also is cognizant of the other important things that have to be accomplished during the only off week of the season, tops among them being the team’s health.
There will be two practices – one tomorrow and one Wednesday – before the players are given their four consecutive days off as per the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. This will allow those like running back
“We’re going to show the entire team three really good plays from each unit of play and three plays that need correction,” said Philbin during his day-after press conference. “We’re just going to be honest and realistic about it. I’m not that smart where I can play mind games so we’re just going to show them what was real in the game.”
That sometimes is easier to do when the final numbers fall in line with the end result, but in the case of Sunday’s 17-14 win over the St. Louis Rams, that was not the case. The Rams outgained the Dolphins by 270 yards (462-192) and converted both of their fourth-down gambles. They completely dominated the running game by a 162-19 margin but only found the end zone once and trailed by as many as 11 points.
Miami’s defense came up big in the red zone by holding St. Louis to two field goals in the first half and Vernon’s two sacks were critical as they forced Rams rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein to try long field goals of 52 and 66 yards, both misses. So the win before the bye, the team’s second straight, allows Philbin to find things to build off of as he sets his team up for the final 10-game stretch.
“Again, there are 14 days in between games, so I think it’s clearly better to enter in on a victory,” Philbin said. “I’m not caught up in the record overall. What I’m caught up today is, we’ve got a lot of stuff to clean up on the St. Louis game. Let’s make sure we do that. Let’s use this week to improve, get healthy. Every week with this team it’s kind of a new hurdle for us. Now we have to go on the road, we’ve got to win a division game. That’s going to be a huge challenge. That’s really all that matters right now.
“I told the staff, ‘Let’s find three or four things that maybe can make a difference in our production in the second half of the season.’ I don’t think we have to reinvent the wheel. I don’t think we have to scrap what we’re doing. Maybe just make some adjustments to what we’re doing. Where are we deficient, and what can we shore up in a quick period of time and get better at? Let’s not fix nine million things. We don’t have time for that.”