If he can win this weekend, some of the heat under the seat of Joe Philbin will be extinguished.
If he cannot beat the Carolina Panthers and the Dolphins fall to 5-6, those flames might get a bit hotter - even when it is the holiday season in south Florida.
Even with a .500 record right now, the seat has to be pretty warm for a head coach that came in to move an offense, drafted a quarterback with a solid arm, hired his college coach to run the offense and has not had a true running game to speak of.
At times, you swear it looks like David Woodley with Eddie Hill and Tony Nathan in the backfield.
Philbin and team general manager Jeff Ireland have to make this year work because $140 million is tied up in free agent signings and the team still has issues with the offensive line and its running game.
The loss of Jake Long and the drafting of Dion Jordan seem like poor decisions now, don’t they?
The linebackers - Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler have not been as explosive as they were expected to be. Mike Wallace is - well - Mike Wallace. Pittsburgh really isn’t missing him.
There are issues off the field as well, which we all know about. And an 8-8 season is one game better than last year, but is it enough to retain both Philbin and Ireland, let alone one of them.
Dolphins team owner Stephen Ross brought in legends like Don Shula and Tony Dungy to help change the culture of this team in the wake of the Ritchie Incognito suspension. How that changes a lockerroom, I have no idea. But the team is still a mess and in need of change. Should Philbin get axed in the offseason, here are a few names who should be considered.
His name is going to be mentioned with every high profile opening this off season. Dungy has already asked to be part of the changes in Miami - so this is not like it should not be considered. I think Dungy likes his gig with NBC and mentoring and will stay off the sidelines.
No one talks about him anymore for coaching positions, but he is a Dungy student and he makes sense in that he is a defensive guy. Edwards could bring in Romeo Crennel to run his defense and either keep Miek Sherman to work with Ryan Tannehill or reach out for someone like Jay Gruden.
He is what Philbin is not. While you see the work Philbin puts in, you can hear it in the words that come from Billick’s mouth. He has been rumored for other jobs in the past, why not this one?
I am sure he has bought some property in Miami by now. Cowher - like Dungy - will be named to every coaching vacancy there is in the NFL. But the right job must open up. I think he is an option but only if the Giants job does not become available.
Jack Del Rio
I personally think he or Jeff Fisher get the job at USC. But he is a feisty no-nonsense guy who would work in Miami. He had a losing record in nine seasons with Jacksonville, but a new start would probably do him some good.