Friday, March 22, 2013

New Dolphins expected to 'fall in line' with culture


Since taking the helm a little over a year ago, Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin worked to establish not just his brand of coaching, but a winning and professional culture for the franchise.

After the addition of several big-name free agents, Philbin still wants to make one thing clear: this is his team.

“They’ve got to get acclimated," Philbin said Tuesday of Miami's new acquisitions, according to the team's website. "In [the past] 13 months we’ve been able to establish a culture and environment, an atmosphere of how we do business when they walk into that door."

The Dolphins planned for and executed a massive free agent haul to start this offseason, a group that includes wide receiver Mike Wallace, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and tight end Dustin Keller. These moves should help Miami be a more explosive team, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

But Philbin expects these established players to to not only help them on the field, but to conform.

"While these guys are veterans and we’re certainly looking for them to put their stamp on things and make an impact," Philbin said. "They’ve got to kind of fit into how we do things."

It's likely no coincidence that the Dolphins parted ways with some of the team's vocal leaders at the same time, as linebackers Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett were released and tailback Reggie Bush was allowed to sign elsewhere as a free agent.

Those players, in addition to Jake Long, who is also no longer with the Dolphins, made up the team's 'leadership council', a group that perhaps infamously met with Philbin in protest after he decided to release Chad Johnson during training camp last season, as chronicled on HBO's Hard Knocks.

The decisions to release Johnson and now to sever ties with some of the leaders of the team were done to help preserve the culture that Philbin wants for his franchise. Something that the new additions will be expected to adhere to.

And Philbin puts the onus on them to figure that out.

"[It’s on them to] understand these are the responsibilities, the obligations that come with being a Miami Dolphin," Phibin said. "And to fall in line and then let their football stuff care of itself.”

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