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Joe Philbin: A Lot To Accomplish This Offseason

Posted Jan 9, 2013

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin sat down with Dolphin Digest editor Andy Cohen recently and discussed a wide range of topics including the growth of Ryan Tannehill, needing more explosiveness on offense and what the defense needs to do to take the next step.

Q. How would you sum up your first season as coach of the Miami Dolphins?

JP: As I’ve said many times, it is a privilege to represent this organization as its head coach. I’m proud of the men we have in the locker room. They competed hard. They represented the organization well. And I think we have a lot of work to do before we become the type of team we want to be.

Q. What are some of the lessons you learned?

JP: You can’t take anything for granted in the NFL. What they say about parity in the NFL is absolutely true. The records don’t mean a lot once you kick off on Sunday afternoon. You have to be ready to play every single week and there is very little margin for error for any team. You have to be thorough and detailed. It’s not easy.

Q. As you look at Ryan Tannehill’s body of work, what are your lasting impressions?

JP: Hard worker. Smart guy. Developed. Sees things on the field. Accountable guy. Thought he improved.

Q. If you were him, what would you do this offseason?

JP: First, I would get some time away. When you are looking at a rookie you are looking at a guy that played the college season, prepared for the combine, prepared for his pro day and came to OTAs. You are probably looking at a guy who has been throwing the ball almost since August of 2011 every day. So get away. Second, study the 1,100 snaps you had as an NFL rookie. Study it all. Study your mechanics. Study your decision- making. Study defensive tendencies. There is so much to learn.

Q. Can you talk about the need for more explosive firepower on offense?

JP: In simplistic terms we know we have to score more points so you have to get into scoring position. It’s harder to have 14-play drives. While they are great and you love to have them, there are a myriad of things that can go wrong in a 14-play drive. The easiest way to get into scoring position is to get takeaways on defense or big plays on offense. We have to create more big plays, whether it is by the run or the pass. We’re heading into the offseason knowing that.

Q. Do you think you have the makings of a championship defense in place?

JP: We’ve done some things very well on defense. The way we play in the red zone is at a championship level. Our scoring defense is very good. But I don’t think we are a championship defense yet. We have more work to be done.

Q. What is it that needs to be done?

JP: We have to do a better job limiting explosive plays and we have to do a better job getting takeaways. You can’t be a championship defense if you don’t get takeaways on a consistent basis.

Q. Did you have a welcome to head coaching moment this year?

JP: Not really. I was fortunate. I was able to hire an excellent staff. I don’t know that any of us were totally shocked by things. Maybe the biggest surprise for me was having to pick out the color of the carpet when we renovated the training facility. I guess you could say that was a welcome to the NFL moment.

Q. How much of a better coach do you anticipate being in year two and in what ways?

JP: The hope is players and coaches alike improve. We know our players a lot better. We will be more efficient with our time and ideally putting our players in position to be more successful. I’m expecting that will happen.

Q. How closely will you work with Jeff Ireland in deciding which players to re-sign and what free agents to pursue?

JP: Jeff is very open. There is a big collaboration. You have to have that to be successful. I’m very much looking forward to working with Jeff during this process.

Q. What does Joe Philbin want to accomplish this offseason?

JP: First, I want to evaluate the 2012 season from every single aspect. How we travelled. How we practiced. How we meet. What kind of food we have. What we did in the weight room. We have to evaluate all of the things we need to do better. Second, we have to devise an outstanding offseason program for our players. The rules are such now that you just don’t have a lot of time. We want to have a more efficient offseason than we had last year. And finally, we are going to devise an in-season plan that will help us compete for a championship.

Q. Can you elaborate on a 7-9 record and your vision and commitment in taking this team to another level?

JP: As I told the team in our last meeting, there are high expectations in this organization. It starts from the owner on down. We all invest an awful lot and we all make a lot of sacrifices to be a part of this. And when we become a part of it, the objective is to win championships. We’ve been left a great legacy by some Super Bowl championship teams here. We have to embrace that. We can’t run away from it. That tradition should be an asset to us as we move forward. It is our responsibility to all get better in order to reach our goals.

Q. Finally, are you any less confident today than you were a year ago at this time that you can reach your goals with the Dolphins?

JP: No not at all. I’m more confident, as confident as I have ever been that we will get there. Absolutely.
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