Fresh off the Miami Dolphins' 35-13 victory on Sunday, the mood is much more optimistic among Dolphins fans than it was just a few days ago, when the team was coming off a 30-10 blowout loss in its season opener. But while Dolfans are allowing themselves to think about the possibility of the team's first playoff berth in 4 years, Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was decidedly realistic on Monday.
The first-year head coach said Monday that as nice as the win over the Raiders feels, the Dolphins need to keep improving. The win "means an awful lot to everybody who walks in the building every day," Philbin said. "That's when it's fun: when everybody feels they have a little stake in it and reap the rewards."
But he does not want his players to get complacent. "I told the team in the locker room [on Sunday], 'Our message to the media should be we have a long way to go.' We have to show a lot of improvement." He summed up the state of the team by saying, "We made a couple of strides but we still have a million miles to go."
Not that Philbin was totally unceremonious with his team. He complimented the defense for stopping Oakland on 11 out of 12 third-down conversion attempts, joking, "The Raiders are one for 12, and we thought with that one, in our minds we didn't play it correctly and maybe could have pitched a shutout on third down."
He also praised RB Reggie Bush, who ran for 172 yards and two touchdowns against the Raiders, though the first score came on a run in which Bush shifted outside, not the way the play was designed. "No. No. No. Yes!" Philbin said he reacted on the sideline as the play unfolded.
Of Ryan Tannehill, his rookie quarterback, Philbin said, "The thing I like about him at this stage of his development, is that he has had some tough stretches in both games, and he battled back in the second half of both games and showed some resiliency and didn't pout and say, 'Oh my God, I've made four bad throws, let's make seven bad throws.'"
Philbin's calm and measured management style was on full display in training camp, when the team was featured in the HBO miniseries "Hard Knocks." By all appearances, that demeanor is not a facade. He knows the NFL season is a long one, and does not want his team to lose sight of that fact after one win.
Up next for the Dolphins is a home date with AFC East rivals the New York Jets. Like the Dolphins (and the rest of the AFC East), the Jets are 1-1 with a share of the division lead. The Dolphins split the season series with the Jets in 2011, losing on the road in Week 5 and winning at home on the final day of the season.
New York's All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, who burned the Dolphins for two interceptions and a touchdown last season, said Monday he might not be able to play this week. "I'm going through the tests and things" Revis said Monday, "and doing what I need to get back and help my team." Revis suffered a "minor concussion" in Week 1, according to the Jets. He did not play on Sunday.