INDIANAPOLIS (CBSMiami) – An intense Joe Philbin met the media in Indianapolis gathered for the annual Scouting Combine and finally addressed the aftermath of the Ted Wells report that showed his players were harassing each other and other staffers.
“I’m the one responsible for the workplace environment at the Miami Dolphins facility,” Philbin said, accepting responsibility for the scandal that has engulfed the franchise. “I wanted to create an atmosphere where there experience as a Miami Dolphin was the best professional experience that they ever had. Any time that isn’t accomplished, it requires my attention it needs to be corrected it needs to be looked at and it needs to be fixed”
Philbin said several times that he and the rest of the Dolphins organization received the Wells Report at the same time as the general public. The Dolphins head coach said that he found some of the “facts, language, and behavior” unacceptable.
The Dolphins had been expecting last Friday’s report for some time and owner Stephen Ross said previously that he knew pretty much everything that was in it. Philbin said there were a few things that were surprising. The bottom line was though everything falls on the head coach.
“I’m the head football coach, so the team, the performance of the team, that falls on my shoulders. I’m going to be more diligent. I’m going to be more visible. And I’m going to be a better coach,” Philbin said. “I can tell you, we’re going to do things about it. We’re going to make it better. We’re going to have a better workplace. I’m going to make sure that happens.”
The Dolphins head coach was asked why it took so long to make any moves, even in the first few days after the Wells Report. Philbin said that because the careers of so many dedicated professionals would be impacted, they wanted to have discussions before making any decisions.
As for himself, Philbin sidestepped a question of whether he feels lucky that he still has a job saying Stephen Ross would be the person who should answer that question.
One of the most curious parts of the entire Incognito/Martin scandal that blew up for the Dolphins was how Incognito, despite his past problems and problems from a Dolphins team event last year on a golf course, was still named a team leader.
Philbin deflected the blame for the decision saying it was strictly a players call.
“I didn’t name him a leader, there’s a leadership council that we have in place. The players elect the players they want to be on the council,” Philbin said. “Out of respect for the process, that’s how the votes came in and he was on the leadership council.”
The Dolphins are not out of the woods yet when it comes to the scandal. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is likely to hand down punishment for multiple individuals, staffers and players, involved in the Incognito/Martin scandal who were named in the Ted Wells report.
The Dolphins themselves haven’t disciplined any players, but have fired offensive line coach Jim Turner and trainer Kevin O’Neill. The players future, has yet to be decided, either staying with the team or anything else.
“We’re in concert with the NFL and the commissioner’s office for the potential discipline of any players,” Philbin said. “We haven’t made any decisions on the futures of any players on the Miami Dolphins.”
Philbin said the situation has been “tough on everybody and touched a lot of people across the country.” He also said that everyone still in the organization is “resolute in our dedication for getting this right.”
Getting it right will start in Indianapolis at the scouting combine. The Dolphins need to walk away from Indy with a good plan for how to handle both free agency and the upcoming NFL Draft to finally put a consistent winner on the field.
That, more than anything, will push the messy incident into the past for fans quicker than anything.