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Ryan Tannehill or Joe Philbin? Who Will Be The Last Man Standing?

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(Image courtesy of bleacherreport.com)
(Image courtesy of bleacherreport.com)

It is no secret that there has been tension between Joe Philbin and Ryan Tannehill. The question is, who will be the last man standing in South Beach?

It started when Philbin refused to name Tannehill as his starting quarterback in Week 4. Tannehill was irked by it and this could have caused a rift in the locker room.

The Miami Dolphins won their game, but questions still remain.

Tannehill hasn’t been playing well except for last week. Philbin knows that he is coaching for his job. He is still weakened by the Jonathan Martin scandal and questions about his ability to be a head coach.

There is no doubt that he had thought of benching Tannehill for the solid, if unspectacular Matt Moore. That would be a desperate move and it would most likely end if disaster for the team.

As for Tannehill, he needs to be held accountable as well. There have been flashes of brilliance, but he is too inconsistent. He had every right to complain about the mediocrity of former offensive coordinator Mike Sherman’s scheme.

It was clear that is wasn’t working and Tannehill recognized that. The organization responded by bringing in Bill Lazor from the Philadelphia Eagles. Tannehill had to learn a new system and all the other things that go with a change of scheme.

The results this season have been mixed. Miami is 2-2 this season. Sometimes they have looked good, while there have been times that the team has looked overmatched. When they come out of the bye, I would expect the team to better for the obvious reasons. Question is, will their best be good enough?

The remaining schedule is a mixed bag. Miami still has four division games left. They are 1-1 against AFC North competition. None of the teams in the division are looking great at the moment. The Dolphins have the talent to go 5-1 in the division.

My concern is that there are six very difficult games remaining.

Miami has games against Green Bay, Chicago, San Diego, Detroit, Denver and Baltimore. All of these teams are going to be favored over the Dolphins. They would have to win at least three of those games in order to really stay in the hunt.

Games with Jacksonville and Minnesota are games that Miami needs to win. If they don’t make the playoffs, owner Stephen Ross will make changes to the team.

There is no doubt that Philbin would be jettisoned before Tannehill. There is a report out there that Philbin doesn’t get along with Dolphins executive Dawn Aponti. Ross trusts her and delegates a lot of the day-to-day operations to her. If that is true, he is going to have to make the playoffs to convince Ross to keep him.

He would get rid of Philbin if he could get a big name coach such as Jim Harbaugh to come to Miami.

Ross tried to pull the same stunt with Tony Sparano several years ago and made the organization look incompetent. It also undercut his head coach at the time. Philbin needs to convince Ross that he is irreplaceable. Tannehill looks safe for the time being.

Since Tannehill was drafted eighth overall in 2012, he is going to be given a long leash by the organization. Quarterbacks are hard to find and he is at the very least, competent. Considering some of the players who have been starters recently, he doesn’t look that bad. I doubt that Ross would hire someone without making sure that Tannehill is still the starting quarterback.

The key for him to ensure his survival is continuing to improve. At least very least, Ryan has another year to prove he is the long-term answer at quarterback.

Both sides in this marriage are breaking apart. In the end, Tannehill will be the last man standing.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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