Dolphins coaches defend relationship with players
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) With the strain of a costly loss showing, Miami Dolphins coaches said they have a good relationship with their players, even the one who yelled at Joe Philbin on the sideline during the defeat.
Defensive tackle Jared Odrick ''kind of snapped'' when he angrily confronted Philbin in the closing minutes of the Dolphins' loss to the Baltimore Ravens, defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said Monday. But Coyle said the outburst didn't signal an underlying problem between Odrick and the coaching staff.
''I think it's a good relationship, as it is with every guy on this team,'' Coyle said. ''I feel very strongly about that. I think that's one of the strengths of this program.''
Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor agreed.
''It's a reflection on Joe Philbin, the kind of professional atmosphere we have,'' Lazor said. ''I'm very comfortable with how our players are on game day, even when they get excited, whether it be because they want the ball more or whatever reason. We've got players here that I feel can talk to me, and that I can speak with. It's a very professional atmosphere.''
Camaraderie will be tested in the wake of Sunday's 28-13 loss to Baltimore, which could keep the Dolphins (7-6) out of the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year. Any finish short of the postseason would leave Philbin's job in jeopardy after three seasons as Miami's head coach.
The Dolphins went into last weekend with an edge in the race for the final AFC wild-card berth, but now they might be left out even if they win their final three games. Ravens coach John Harbaugh predicted such a sweep.
''This is a very good football team that we played,'' Harbaugh said. ''This team will probably win out.''
Philbin will like the sound of that, and he acknowledged there's no more margin for error, beginning Sunday at AFC East leader New England.
But Philbin expects his team to bounce back from the latest loss.
''I have a lot of faith and confidence in these guys,'' he said. ''We've got a huge challenge this week going up to New England. I told them in the locker room, we're going to find out a lot this week.''
Injuries are taking a toll, with safety Louis Delmas joining the list when he suffered a season-ending knee injury Sunday. The Ravens feasted on replacements, including R.J. Stanford at cornerback and Dallas Thomas at right tackle.
The defense has allowed 661 yards rushing over the past three games while twice blowing double-digit leads. The offense has scored one touchdown each of the past two weeks, and with pass protection shaky, Ryan Tannehill has stopped trying to throw downfield.
But Philbin said he's confident his players still have faith in the coaching staff and game plan because of ''the way they conduct themselves every single day, the way they've gone out and competed every single week. I absolutely believe that.''
Odrick attributed his outburst to the emotions of the moment. Coyle agreed, but didn't endorse his lineman's behavior.
''There is a fine line,'' Coyle said. ''Football is an emotional game. You want guys that play with passion. But I think there is a professionalism that everybody has to have, players and coaches alike. You try to keep your composure, because outbreaks of emotion generally don't tend to benefit the team. It can be a distraction. So I think that's something everybody needs to be careful of.''
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