INDIANAPOLIS -- Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was defiant and displayed resolve during his first comments since the release of National Football League-appointed investigator Ted Wells's report of the franchise's bullying scandal that has followed the team since last October.
The head coach spoke forcefully about the changes the franchise needed to make in the aftermath of last Friday's report release.
"I'm the head football coach so the team, the performance of the team, the 8-8 record, that falls on my shoulders," said Philbin, who stood before a large media contengient at the NFL Scouting Combine where team executives review potential players for the NFL Draft in May. "So I'm going to be more vigilant, I'm going to be more diligent, I'm going to be more visible and I'm going to have a better pulse."
Philbin said he was alarmed after reading a report that outlined bullying and harassing behavior among Dolphins guards Richie Incognito and John Jerry, and center Mike Pouncey, toward tackle Jonathan Martin, tackle Andrew McDonald and an assistant trainer Naohisa Inoue.
The Dolphins have taken some steps in correcting the troubled workplace when they fired offensive line coach Jim Turner and head trainer Kevin O'Neill on Wednesday for roles in the saga. The Dolphins do not plan on any other staff discipline at this time.
Philbin, who took responsibility for the Incognito-Martin controversy, said he wasn't caught off guard by the Wells report because he questioned people between the time Martin left the team on Oct. 28 and the release of the Wells report on Valentine's Day.
"The majority of things I knew about," Philbin said.
Still, the report was startling.
"Some of the facts, the behavior, the language that was outlined in the report is inappropriate, and it's unacceptable," Philbin said. "And I'm the one, as I mentioned earlier, that's in charge of the workplace so I can tell you, I can tell our fans, I can tell you sitting here, I can tell our players, we're going to do things about it, we're going to make it better.
"We're going to look at every avenue, we're uncover every stone and we're going to have a better workplace. I promised you that. I'm going to make sure that happens."
Philbin said he hasn't made any decisions on whether Incognito, Pouncey or Jerry would return to the Dolphins. Incognito and Jerry are free agents, while Pouncey has one year left on his contract. Each could be facing disciplinary action from the league.
"We're in concert with the NFL and the commissioner's office in regard to the potential discipline of any players, we're communicating with them on that," Philbin said. "We haven't made any decisions on anybody's futures in terms of the 2014 Miami Dolphins."
Philbin also said he's unsure whether Martin will re-join the team.
"Our owner, Steve Ross, has reached out to Jonathan," Philbin said. "At some point in the near future, they plan on getting together. For me to make any comments prior to that meeting would be inappropriate."
Philbin didn't directly answer when asked if he considered getting rid of Incognito after the 2012 incident at a team-sponsored golf tournament in which he harassed a female volunteer and took a participant's car and went joy riding in the parking lot of the golf club. Incognito was fined a total of $55,000 by the team for those incidents.
"When I was made aware of that situation that you're referencing I took immediate action, in the form of player discipline," Philbin said. "Obviously, there are many options. We discussed as an organization what the best course would be and that's what we came up with. I'm not going to pass the buck to anybody else. I was part of it. That was the decision that we made."
This week the Dolphins brass, along with the rest of the league's team converged to interview and workout potential players that can be drafted in May. Among the scuttlebutt in the air during this week is the stability of the Dolphins' locker room.
Notre Dame's Zack Martin, who plays both guard and tackle and could be on the Dolphins' radar with the No. 19 pick in the first round, said he'd have no reluctance or hesitance about being in the Dolphins' locker room or joining on the troubled offensive line.
"I tell people I'm just looking for a job so any team that's willing to take me I'm very excited to go and hear my name called," he said. "At the end of the day I'm just looking forward to landing on a team."
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