Philbin, Dolphins brace for change after 8-8 finish

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DAVIE, Fla. -- The season came to a crushing close Sunday for the Miami Dolphins, and there could still be pieces left to scatter in the days to follow.
The 20-7 loss to the New York Jets in Week 17 left the franchise stuck in the non-playoff mud for the fifth consecutive year. There were immediate indications that ownership might be ready to map a new course.
"I'm disappointed, what else can I tell you," owner Steve Ross said. "For everybody. I've got a lot to think about."
If the Dolphins (8-8) would have beaten the Jets, they would have entered the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
In fact, if the Dolphins would had won either of their final two games, Sunday against the Jets or two weeks ago at Buffalo, they'd have made the playoffs.
"Certainly," head coach Joe Phlbin said, "there are areas we need to improve starting with me; 8-8 is not where this franchise wants to be, needs to be and should be."
Sunday was a bitter finish to a season that was two years in the making with hiring Philbin, drafting quarterback Ryan Tannehill and signing wide receiver Mike Wallace in free agency.
And still, the Dolphins find themselves roughly in the same position they've been for the past four seasons. Ross said he hasn't made a decision on whether Philbin or general manager Jeff Ireland would return.
"I'm making no comments on anything like that," Ross said. "We're going to look at everything."
Philbin, upon being told his team finished 27th in offense and 21st in defense, was asked his feelings about the season.
"My feeling is Week 17 we had a game that had we won, which we didn't win, we would have been in the playoffs," he said. "That's where I'm getting the barometer that we are not that far away. We are close. I acknowledge the fact that on that paper there is a lot of room for improvement, a lot of room for improvement."
Philbin is 15-17 in his two seasons as head coach but many think his job is safe. Ireland, offensive coordinator Mike Sherman and offensive line coach Jim Turner could be on the hot seat.
Philbin voiced support for Sherman, his longtime friend and mentor.
"I have a lot of confidence in our staff, our offensive staff with Mike Sherman," he said. "He's an excellent football coach, and that's what I think."
As for when personnel decisions would be made, Philbin said there's no timetable.
"We'll evaluate everybody," he said. "We evaluate all of the coaches. I'm in constant communication with Steve (Ross). I visited with him after the game. There will be an appropriate time and place to meet with him. Then we'll go from there."

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