Philbin surrounds himself with New England familiarity in Miami

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Philbin surrounds himself with New England familiarity in Miami

FOXBORO -- The Patriots travel to Miami on Sunday, but they won't be the only ones with New England ties.
Springfield, Mass. native Joe Philbin filled his coaching staff with people he worked with in the New England area before he became Miami's coach in January.
He was part of coaching staffs at Northeastern and Harvard before he jumped on an NFL staff. And from his former English professor at Worcester Academy in Mike Sherman, to coaches he worked with at Northeastern, Harvard, and even at local football camps, Philbin has surrounded himself with familiar faces, all who have connections to New England.
"When I was fortunate enough to get this job, I knew it was going to be important to hire, number one, excellent coaches, but number two, people that I could have total trust and faith in, guys that were loyal," said Philbin in a conference call on Wednesday. "That's the first and foremost thing."
So he hired his former high school teacher, Sherman, to be the Dolphins' offensive coordinator, while hiring former Holy Cross defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle to run Miami's defense.
"I'm delighted about having both of them as the coordinators," said Philbin. "Obviously they have double-digit years of experience in the National Football League. Mike's been a proven winning head coach in the National Football League. He was the head coach for six seasons and had five winning seasons, so I think he knows how to build a winner. He's a great resource to have.
"Kevin Coyle's a dedicated professional, and made a nice contribution in 11 years in Cincinnati. He's an unselfish guy and a real pro.
"So, to have both those guys on the staff, I feel very fortunate."
Out of the two coordinators though, Sherman's presence is one that looks to make the most sense. Sherman coached rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill at Texas A&M, and even though the reunion wasn't necessarily planned, their familiarity with each other has certainly helped the transition.
"I barely knew who Ryan Tannehill was between you, me, and the four walls," said Philbin.
"I think it's helped quite a bit," added Philbin. "Sherman knows how the kid thinks. He knows how the kid acts. I believe the coordinator and the quarterback have to be on the same page, and have to kind of view the game the same way, if you will. That part of the relationship has been helpful, no question."
"I definitely think it helped," said Tannehill in a conference call on Wednesday. "It definitely made my transition easier, in the fact that, I didn't have to learn a full playbook. I had the foundation of it down. And of course we have some new things and new tweaks, and we've built on it along the way. But coming in, having the foundation of it already known, I didn't have to spend the same amount of time learning the plays. I could devote more time to understanding defenses and focusing on the fundamentals and intricacies of the plays, rather than just the concepts in general."
Philbin enjoys the familiarity he has with his coaching staff, especially with those who aren't coordinators.
"Jimmy Turner, I worked with at Northeastern University, he's coaching our offensive line," said Philbin. "Lou Anarumo is coaching our secondary, I worked with him at Harvard. And I used to work the Holy Cross camp with Kevin Coyle 100 years ago. Ya, we've got quite a few guys from the New England region, no doubt about it."
Bringing those guys in, was just one way that he could return the favor to those who gave him coaching opportunities in the past, helping him get to the NFL.
"It was a great experience at both Northeastern and Harvard," said Philbin. "Barry Gallup, who's the assistant AD at Boston College, was nice enough to give me a job at Northeastern. I was unemployed after going to Ohio University. We went a glamorous 0-for-11 and I didn't have any job. I had four children, and my wife was pregnant, and Barry was good enough to give me a job, and I loved coaching every minute there. I was the offensive coordinator. Barry was excellent to work for. We had a winning season in the Yankee Conference, the first time I think they ever had one there, in '96 I want to say.
"I used to drive by Harvard every single day at work, going to Northeastern, so I cut my commute down about 10 minutes. And Harvard football head coach Tim Murphy's just done a fantastic job there, as you guys know. An excellent and program that he has there. And I really enjoyed that experience as well."

Rookie Dak Prescott solid again, Cowboys beat Bears, 31-17

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Rookie Dak Prescott solid again, Cowboys beat Bears, 31-17

ARLINGTON, Texas - Maybe the Cowboys will be OK without quarterback Tony Romo this time. The future of the Dallas running game with Ezekiel Elliott looks pretty good, too.

Dak Prescott led scoring drives on all four Dallas possessions in the first half before throwing his first career touchdown pass in fellow rookie Elliott's first 100-yard game, and the Cowboys beat the Chicago Bears 31-17 on Sunday night to snap an eight-game home losing streak.

With his second straight win, Prescott doubled the number of victories the Cowboys (2-1) had in 14 games without the injured Romo over three seasons before the fourth-round pick showed up.

Prescott's first TD pass was a 17-yarder to Dez Bryant for a 31-10 lead in the fourth quarter, and he's up to 99 throws without an interception to start his career. Philadelphia's Carson Wentz has 102, and those are the two highest career-opening totals for a rookie in NFL history.

"Dak's handled every opportunity he's had right from the start really, really well," coach Jason Garrett said. "No different tonight."

Brian Hoyer had trouble moving the Chicago offense early with Jay Cutler sidelined by a sprained right thumb as the Bears fell behind 24-3 at halftime and dropped to 0-3 for the second time in two seasons under coach John Fox.

Making his 27th career start for his fourth different team, Hoyer was 30 of 49 for 317 yards - a good portion of that with the game out of each late in the fourth quarter - and threw for two scores to Zach Miller.

"We haven't played a complete game," Fox said. "This week was the reverse of what we've had. We played very poorly in the first half."

Elliott finished with 140 yards on 30 carries, including a 14-yard run when he hurdled safety Chris Prosinski. The Cowboys kept giving him the ball while trying to work the clock with a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter a week after he was benched because of two fumbles in a win over Washington.

"Made a lot of good runs tonight, a lot tough runs, a lot of NFL runs," Garrett said. "He's physically tough. He's mentally tough."

It didn't even bother Prescott that Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith missed just the second game of his six-year career after his back tightened up during the week.

Prescott was 19 of 24 for 248 yards in Dallas' first home win since last year's opener, which was a week before the first of two broken left collarbones that kept Romo out of 12 games last season.

Romo is expected to miss about another month after breaking a bone in his back in the preseason.

Prescott had one of three rushing touchdowns for the Cowboys, who have seven this season after getting eight all of last year, when they finished 4-12.

Because the Bears fell behind again, they couldn't do much with the running game. They had just 15 carries for 73 yards and lost leading rusher Jeremy Langford to an ankle injury in the second half.