NOTEBOOK: Even Keeled Approach Working For Dolphins; Other Notes

Posted Oct 25, 2013

Players are following Philbin’s lead heading into New England.

Every team handles wins and losses differently, and when you throw in winning streaks and losing streaks it really tests the mettle. This year’s Miami Dolphins are passing that test.

Early in the season when Miami jumped out to a 3-0 start with two of the wins coming on the road, it would have been easy for the players to exhibit a bit of a swagger. But they were even keeled, like their Head Coach Joe Philbin, and that seemed to prepare for them for the three-game losing streak that ensued.

Despite falling to the Buffalo Bills last week in a division clash between AFC opponents and staring at a road game against the New England Patriots this Sunday, the Dolphins aren’t displaying any cracks. Philbin chalks that up to the makeup of each individual and how they all are meshing with each other.

“It’s a high character group of guys,” said Philbin, who is in his second season at the helm. “I like the way they work, I like the way they conduct their business in the building and on the practice field. And we told them, in the NFL it’s a long season and there are inevitably highs and lows and we’ve got to stay the course and we’ve got to believe in one another. There are no magic answers and we’ve got to go back to work and do things better.”

There has been looseness to this group that is sort of refreshing as they prepare to face a Patriots team that has dominated the division for the better part of a decade. Philbin has noticed good energy throughout the week and discipline, with the practices finishing either on time or even a minute or two early.

When you have the kind of mix of veterans and young players that Miami has it makes it easier to maintain that balance and keep everyone’s emotions in check. Some fall back to lessons learned with previous head coaches on different teams and others lean on their college experiences, like defensive tackle Jared Odrick.

“I’ll tell you something I learned from another Joe. You’re never as good as you think you are and you’re never as bad as you think are,” Odrick said in referring to the late Joe Paterno, who was his head coach at Penn State. “You’re never as good as you think you are when you win and you’re never as bad as you think you are when you lose. So you just have to go to work every day and work as hard as you can to be the best player possible and the best team possible. That’s not up on a wall anywhere but it’s right here in my heart.”


Veteran right tackle Tyson Clabo has weathered quite the storm so far this season as the newest member of Miami’s offensive line and the one-time Pro Bowler (2010) has remained a top-notch professional.

Coming off of a tough finish in last week’s home loss to the Buffalo Bills during which he gave up two sacks to Bills defensive end Mario Williams, Clabo returned to practice knowing that the Dolphins had traded for veteran tackle Bryant McKinnie. His work ethic, like that of his teammates, is solid and he is gearing up for whatever is in store for him this Sunday at the New England Patriots.

“I still have a job in the NFL, which is one of the greatest jobs in the world,” said Clabo, who is in his eighth season in the league. “So I’m just going to continue to do my job, which is to do whatever they ask me to do. If they ask me to back up, I’m going to back up and if they tell me to go in and play, I’m going to play. It’s my job and I’m just trying to do my job.”

And it’s precisely that approach that got the Dolphins interested in signing him to begin with.


Since the Dolphins are getting ready to head up to a colder climate in New England, it was kind of a pleasant finish to the practice week on the music front. Damian Marley’s “Welcome To Jam Rock,” kicked things off with a reggae vibe and the last song was “Money Trees,” by Kendrick Lamar and Jay Rock.


“He’s really good at feeling the rush, not taking his eyes off of downfield and making a throw. You’ll see him many times shuffling sideways, avoiding guys barely with guys reaching in there and almost getting the ball but he keeps his eyes downfield and he makes the throw. That’s what he does in the pocket because he’s not going to run it, so that side shuffle when you’re running full speed, it’s kind of hard to redirect.” – defensive end Derrick Shelby on what Patriots quarterback Tom Brady does to frustrate opposing pass rushers
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