Of the eight unbeaten teams, only one opened with a pair of away games. Only one had a high-priced wide receiver pout over a lack of passes aimed his way. Only one had a defensive lineman make an obscene gesture that was presumably directed toward his own coaches for demoting him to the second string.
No coach carries more anonymity than Joe Philbin of the Miami Dolphins, who had never led a football team at any level before the Dolphins hired him in 2012, when the team went 7-9.
Yet the former mastermind of Green Bay’s offence has jumped into the early lead for coach of the year based on his two road wins, unorthodox thinking and handling of two players throwing hissy fits.
While teams customarily take Tuesday off from practice, the Dolphins work that day and designate Thursday for rest and relaxation. Traditionalists have questioned the schedule, but Philbin can point to his record as supporting evidence for his plan.
As for the self-absorbed miscreants, Philbin made it up to Mike Wallace, who seethed after logging just one reception in the first game, by feeding him enough balls for nine catches last week.
Randy Starks apologised for the obscene gesture, though he insisted it was aimed in jest at teammates. Apparently, neither was punished.
In this league, only results matter. The sample size is small, but whatever approach Philbin has adopted is clicking.
Let’s raise a cup of joe to Joe.