Joe Philbin coaching Dolphins for here and now after Ross announces he will remain on job



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DAVIE, Florida — Dolphins coach Joe Philbin had the pressure of coaching for his job lifted by owner Steve Ross, who confirmed Philbin will be the head coach in 2015.

That means he can plan for Sunday's final game against the New York Jets with no distractions.

Philbin insisted Monday that he was so consumed with preparing his team for the 37-35 win over the Minnesota Vikings and the upcoming showdown with the Jets that hearing the news "wasn't a big deal."

He refused to address the futures of defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor or anyone else on the staff, maintaining that he is in full coaching mode and nothing else.

"I'm just concerned about playing the New York Jets and winning this football game, period," said Philbin, who carries a 23-24 record into the last game. "There is a time and place to talk about the staff and those types of things."

When pressed on how he reacted, Philbin joked that when he got home last night he had one Guinness. He also got to share the news with his family, including some of his children visiting for the holidays.

Jets week typically brings with it plenty of drama and that was the case last season. Miami lost at home in the final week and was eliminated from playoff contention, while Jets coach Rex Ryan got a vote of confidence from owner Woody Johnson and kept his job.

Ross didn't make Philbin carry that burden into this season's finale, choosing to quash the speculation a week earlier. That gesture was not lost on the third-year head coach.

"It's important for a head coach of a NFL football team that the owner believes in him, what he is doing and the program he is instilling," Philbin said. "It's very important. If you don't have that type of belief and faith from the owner it's not going to work.

"I know if players don't believe in their coaches and coaches don't believe in their players, you have no chance. ... But again, I've been in this profession a long time, I wasn't worried about my own personal future."

Defensive end Cameron Wake presented Philbin with the game ball in the locker room after the win over the Vikings, the second time this season he was given the game ball. He also received it in honor of his late father, Paul, who passed away two days before the Dolphins beat San Diego 37-0 on Nov. 2.

The support of his players has never waned this season, and they were vocal about Philbin's future following the 41-13 loss at New England on Dec. 14. The reasoning behind that support was given context by veteran left guard Daryn Colledge.

"I like a guy that's level-headed and can coach me up and let me know where I need to be," he said Sunday. "We as players, we can get ourselves hyped up."

Philbin's mild-mannered approach will be in the spotlight Sunday when the Dolphins try to give him his first winning record, and set the tone for next season.


AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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