At different points of the offseason, as the Dolphins have begun to prepare for the new year, Joe Philbin has mentioned he’d like to mix a few things up during his second season on the job.
Nothing major, it seems, just some subtle administrative adjustments; the type of tinkering a head coach makes with some experience under the belt, to see how his young team reacts.
The NFL Today’s Bill Cowher, the former Pittsburgh head coach, recently called in to The Finsiders and said that this is natural, comparing a new coach’s on-the-job growth to that of a rookie quarterback making a jump during his second season.
“You have that comfort zone,” said Cowher, the Steelers head coach from 1992-2006. “You’ve been there; you’ve been through one whole year. Same thing for Joe – he knows his players better, he knows how to pace himself better. He’s a better coach this year than he was last year, just because of that year of experience.”
An immediate playoff berth could be just the beginning, a harbinger of things to come; it could, almost as likely, be a flash in the pan. To expect a first-time NFL head coach to be the same guy he’s going to be a few years into the job feels unfair. But so absolute is the desire for instant success, Cowher said, that some — a rabid fan base, ownership, etc. — have become blind to a few crucial stops on the path to sustained winning.
“We are such a results-oriented league right now, and we want to change if we don’t get what we want immediately,” Cowher said. “But if you have the right guy, he continues to grow, continues to understand what he wants to do and makes the necessary changes that you have to make, he’ll become better through a period of time.
“I think Joe Philbin will be a lot more confident coach, I think he’s got a better feel for his team and I think his team will have a better feel for him.”
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