Dysfunctional, lack of leadership, no institutional control, all of these words could be used to describe the Miami Dolphins.
On Friday, Ted Wells finally released his 144 page report on the investigation of Jonathan Martin, Richie Incognito and the Miami Dolphins. Some of the things found in the report were already public knowledge. Other things were shocking to say the least.
According to Wells, not only was Incognito involved in the harassment of Martin and an unnamed offensive lineman, but so were guard John Jerry and Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey. This is the latest to what’s been a horrific off-season for the Miami Dolphins.
So who’s the blame for the lack of control in the Dolphins locker room? Well if you ask me, the dysfunction starts at the top.
Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross for the most part has been an absentee owner. He had no idea what was going on with the team or the happenings inside the Dolphins’ locker room. Once news broke about the Martin/Incognito situation, only then wanted to be more involved with the team.
Ross went so far as to form a so-called five-man committee consisting of Tony Dungy, Don Shula, Dan Marino, Curtis Martin and Jason Taylor, which has never had one single meeting. Stephen Ross has no idea what’s going on with the Miami Dolphins. Nor does he know how to run a successful football team.
I don’t have a problem with Ross not being a football guy. The problem I have is when you are an owner of any company, it is your responsibility to know what’s going on with your business and to put the right people in place.
Ross kept former general manager Jeff Ireland longer than he should have. Not only should have Ireland received a pink slip this off-season, but head coach Joe Philbin should have as well.
Philbin has been on record as saying that he had no idea any players were being harassed in the locker. Either he is a liar or he has no pulse on what was going on in his locker room. As a head coach, you have to be in control of your locker room and it appears Philbin has no idea what it takes to be a head coach in the National Football League.
You can blame Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey (and yes they should be blamed as well), but the fact is the culture from top to bottom, is a mess. The Dolphins have an owner and a coach who are oblivious to what’s going on with their team. A former general manager who appears to have created the dysfunctional culture. Assistant coaches such as offensive line coach Jim Turner who appears to have participated in hazing and harassment themselves. Players in Incognito and Pouncey, who Philbin appointed to be leaders in the Dolphins locker room. This is why the Ross should have did what Dolphins fans have said for years, clean house.
If you’re head coach Joe Philbin you can’t have this type of culture going on in your locker room. The players only do what they can get away with and Incognito, Jerry and Pouncey must have thought this is what Philbin and the other coaching staff wanted them to do.
There’s a cultural problem with the Miami Dolphins and it appears letting go Karlos Dansby, Reggie Bush and Jake Long was an even bigger loss in the locker room than on the field. The team lacked leadership and not only was it obvious inside the locker room, but on the field as well.
The Dolphins were 8-6 after 14 weeks and controlled their playoff fate, but played their two worst games at the end of the season. As talented as Miami is, there is no way they should have been outscored 39-7 in their final two games of the season.
Everyone knows the Dolphins have a rich and storied history, but this Ted Wells investigation is certainly a stain on the franchise. Now it is up to Ross and Philbin to clean up the culture in the locker room. The same culture they helped enable.