DAVIE, Fla. — Last month, Richie Incognito said severe repercussions would be warranted if the Miami Dolphins kept allowing sacks at such an alarming rate.
“Everybody should be fired,” he said.
Nobody in Miami is talking about sacks anymore. Firings remain a distinct possibility for very different reasons.
The Dolphins’ harassment scandal is threatening the season and job security, leaving the future of coach Joe Philbin, his assistants and general manager Jeff Ireland in doubt.
Tackle Jonathan Martin alleges he was harassed daily by teammates, including Incognito, who has been suspended. While Martin is scheduled to meet with an NFL special investigator late this week, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has formed two committees to study the team’s locker room culture.
“Changes need to be made,” Ross said at a news conference Monday. “We need to examine everything internally.”
Someone in the organization will likely be designated the primary culprit for the scandal, and Ireland’s the early front-runner. Ross said he had “total, utmost confidence” in Philbin but barely mentioned Ireland, who didn’t attend the news conference.
Philbin, who is 11-14 since joining the Dolphins last year, said he appreciated Ross’ vote of confidence.
“The only way you succeed if there is support within the whole entire organization,” the coach said. “It starts at the top.”
Ireland, who rarely speaks publicly, didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The findings of the NFL investigator could sway Ross’ opinion, as could the final seven games and dwindling fan support. The Dolphins (4-5) have slumped after a 3-0 start, and on Monday they became the first team to lose to Tampa Bay. Another half-empty stadium is likely Sunday when they play host to San Diego.
The intensity of media scrutiny abated a bit Wednesday. Some 60 reporters and cameramen filled the locker room after practice, but Philbin was asked only two questions about the scandal during his daily news conference.