In a conference call with Season Ticket Members and other fans that lasted close to 30 minutes, Philbin answered a variety of questions on topics ranging from the red-zone offense, to the emphasis on takeaways, to how the team stacks up in the AFC East, to the direction of the organization.
“It’s always great connecting with our fans,” Philbin said at the end of the call. “It’s a loyal and passionate group. I’m excited about seeing them at the stadium tomorrow night and throughout the course of the season.”
Philbin was asked for his thoughts on the team’s offeason moves and where the team is compared to this point last season.
“On paper, I feel a lot better about our football team,” Philbin said. “I think there’s better depth. I think there’s been better competition for the 53 roster spots that are available. And I feel good about the chemistry of the football team, the quality of the individuals that we have, both from a talent standpoint and a character standpoint. Those are all really encouraging signs and we’re excited about the upcoming season and confident in our guys.”
Philbin mentioned defensive end
“We’re excited about Dion,” Philbin said. “He’s got a lot of talent, a lot of skill. We’re going to integrate him into the defense. He’s learning kind of a new position and doing some things schematically he hasn’t done before, but he’s really catching on quickly. We’ve got to get him a little bit more repetition. He needs experience and reps. You’re going to see a lot of him during the next coming weeks.”
One of the fans on the conference call prefaced his question by pointing out he was celebrating his 21st birthday and the opportunity to ask the Dolphins head coach a question made for a great present.
Then there was a caller whose first name was Strock, as in former Dolphins backup quarterback Don Strock.
Strock asked Philbin about the challenge that awaits the Dolphins in the first five weeks of the regular season when the opponents will be Cleveland, Indianapolis, Atlanta, New Orleans and Baltimore.
“I feel very good about it,” Philbin said. “It’s obviously a challenging schedule. Three of our first four games are on the road. We’ve got an excellent team in Cleveland with a brand new staff that we’ve got to deal with, that’s always a little bit of a challenge. We haven’t seen the team on film in a regular season, so that’s a unique challenge on the road. Then we’ve got to go to Indianapolis and play on the road in Week 2 against a very good football team that we had a hotly contested game against a year ago that we certainly had opportunities to win. And then the Atlanta Falcons have been a very consistent football team that came within a whisker of going to the Super Bowl. We’re excited about playing them in the home opener. New Orleans is a very good football team, and then we have the Super Bowl champions at home. It’s certainly challenging, but I know our guys will be up to the challenge.”
There was one non-football topic that came up when Philbin was asked what brings him enjoyment outside of football.
“I’m blessed to have a large family and when I have the opportunity, certainly that’s the one thing that I devote a lot of time to aside from the game of football,” Philbin said. “My wife Diane and some of the kids have gotten involved in the community more than I have, I have to admit. I need to certainly do a better job of that. Really, it’s the profession and the family that are the cornerstones of my life.”
The Dolphins have hosted these free exclusive conference calls through the summer and leading up to the start of the regular season.
The previous conference call featured owner Stephen Ross and the one before involved the television and radio voices of the Dolphins: Bob Griese, Kim Bokamper, Jimmy Cefalo, Nat Moore and Jesse Agler. Among the players who have taken part in the conference calls are
Alumni who earlier took part in a conference call included Dick Anderson, A.J. Duhe, Larry Little, O.J. McDuffie, James McKnight, Louis Oliver, Chad Pennington and Lousaka Polite.