After QB Tells Teammate ‘Enjoy Your Practice Squad Paycheck,’ New Coach Aims to Cure Dolphins Dysfunction

AP Photo
The Associated Press

Before things fell apart for the Miami Dolphins on game day this past weekend, they fell apart on the practice field.

“Enjoy your practice squad paycheck,” Ryan Tannehill allegedly told a linebacker who intercepted a pass at the walk-through. “Enjoy your practice squad trophy.”

After the scrub squad aggressively reacted on ensuing plays to the quarterback’s remarks, Joe Philbin, since fired as head coach, instructed the defense not to go all out on Tannehill’s passes. Soon, the disgusted defenders stopped going at all.

The New York Jets handled the Dolphins at Wembley Stadium 27-14. The next day, the Dolphins handed their head coach his walking papers.

Although walk-throughs don’t generally serve as the time for defensive players to upstage the quarterback, Tannehill’s pointed remarks directed at teammates have elicited widespread criticism.

A former opposing player in the AFC East, and teammate of Tom Brady, contrasted the attitudes of the reigning Super Bowl MVP with Tannehill’s. Donte Stallworth notes that whereas the Dolphins QB insults teammates who intercepted him, Tom Brady pays them.

Incoming coach Dan Campbell intends to reorient the dysfunctional Dolphins’ practice habits.

“To me, the best teams that I’ve been a part of are the ones that, during the week, they go after each other,” Campbell announced at his Monday press conference. “Whether it’s practice squad versus the defense. They’re giving the look of practice squad versus offense, but it gets heated. And it’s intense, and it’s people that are fighting to win. they want to get noticed or they want to do their job. It’s not just going through the motions.”

Past performance after practice performance doesn’t guarantee future results. But the tale of two AFC East quarterbacks suggests that Dan Campbell may be on to something.

Miami sits at the bottom of the AFC East with a 1-3 record. New England finds itself in a familiar spot at the top at 3-0.