- WR Hartline cut after 6 seasons WR Gibson was also released
- Mike Tannenbaum hired... ...as Dolphins' executive VP of football operations
- Philbin retained Coach Philbin was given a contract extension
- Fins season ends on low note Jets down the Fins to end their season 8-8
A New Direction….Finally!
Most Dolphin fans have been screaming for Ireland’s head for over 3 years. Even steadfast Ireland supporters have softened their stance over the past year. We’ve seen web pages, and airplane banners demanding as much. Fireland became his nickname. I’d put him right up there just above Sammie Smith as the most hated Miami sports figure ever.
Most Dolphin fans have been screaming for Sherman’s head for most of this season. Whether it’s “improper use of personal” or “Go, Go-Go.” Most everyone saw Sherman as part of the problem, rather then the solution. A report came out that suggested the team did not put enough practice time into the long ball, and that was probably the straw that broke the camels back in the fans mind. Not allowing Tannehill to use his legs more was another major area of contention. I actually felt the fans were tough on Sherman, but there was certainly justification for a change.
Ross listened. He not only heard you, but he acted on what he heard. You know Philbin could not have possibly supported letting his mentor go. Ross most likelyinsisted. It’s business. Sometimes tough decisions need to be made. Money is at stake, Ross’s money. Ross is well aware there is a disconnect between the team and it’s fan base.
So now we’re in limbo while Philbin searches for an offensive coordinator, and Ross decides on a worthy General Manager.
There is speculation that being a franchise seemingly in disarray will dissuade the top candidates from having interest in either position. I do not buy into this theory for several reasons.
Let’s focus on the General Manager position first.
You’re always going to have a few guys satisfied in their current positions, Eric DeCosta comes to mind. DeCosta is being paid a salary comparable with a acting GM. He’s promised contractually to take over for Ozzie Newsome when that time comes. Nobody in their right mind would leave the security of that situation for an unknown. He’s loyal to the Ravens, and rightfully so considering the circumstances. Take him off the list.
Every other candidate would see this position as a promotion. There are only 32 said positions, and only 2 are currently vacant. Of the two, Miami is offering the most control. (Tamps being the other).
There’s been talk of power struggles within the organization. It’s well known Ireland, and Sparano did not see eye to eye once Ross put Ireland on that airplane to court Harbaugh. In hindsight, Ross admitted this was a huge mistake on his part.
Since then, Ross has aligned himself with people who he can lean on to avoid repeating similar mistakes. Matt Higgins, Tony Dungy, and Carl Peterson come to mind. I am sure this is just touching the surface of the contacts he’s made. Certainly, there’s many more we are not aware of, because quite frankly, it’s not been made public.
I believe the Aponte/Philbin v Ireland friction recently surfaced, it certainly did not exist before Miami began to struggle earlier in the season. Understand, Ireland knew he was under severe pressure to produce, and felt the coaches were doing him more harm then good. Always blame the other guy rather then yourself.
While some of the coaching decisions may have indeed been questionable, you’ve got to think that Ross heard what he needed to hear from Philbin to make the decision he made. There’s little doubt Ireland did more harm then good for this franchise during his six year tenure. No need to rehash it here.
Here’s a very well written piece for those who feel Ireland got a raw deal.
Worthy candidates will indeed covet this job. The structure will need to be fine tuned depending on the candidate selected based on their level of expertise, and experience. My hunch is with a strong showing in year one this person will accrue more power as time goes on.
Now let’s talk about the OC position.
There’s both positives, and negatives to accepting this position, but in my mind the positives clearly outweigh the negatives.
- Philbin is well respected within the organization, and around the league.
- Tannehill is an up and coming QB even with his limitations.
- The WR position is solid.
- Cap space to rebuild the line, and backfield as well as the draft.
- High pressure to produce an up-tempo offense immediately.
- Philbin appears to be in a situation where he must win in 2014.
- Lack of a proven running back.
- Poor offensive line aside from Pouncey who could possibly have legal issues.
Clearly the fact Tannehill shows promise will be alluring to any candidate considering the position, as will the current cap structure. Building some sort of reliable ground attack the biggest challenge facing him.
If he believes in his ability, as well as the teams dedication to allocate resources to the offense it’s a no-brainer. Turn this offense around and it has to be a feather in your cap should you desire a Head Coaching position down the line. Who doesn’t covet a guy who can come in and produce under high pressure?
The other person people are struggling with is Dawn Aponte. This puzzles me. What exactly has she done to irritate the fans? I hear things like she’s aligning herself with Philbin, etc. So? They’ve got to work together they should be aligned. She previews his press briefings, big deal. She straightens his tie, big deal. She probably makes coffee too. Is this a problem?
The simple truth is she’s good at what she does. Every team needs someone talented behind the cap. If she’s done her job well, and is given more control, who cares? She may low-ball a player or two, but that goes with the territory. They have market research that determines salary structures. They have performance metrics that are taken into account. It’s part of the process, and it’s subjective. She’s not going to be right every time, no more so then every play call is going to be right, or every draft pick will work out. It is what it is.
The positive here is we as Dolphin Fans are headed in a new direction. The general manager position is the single most critical position in the NFL. I believe Ross is finally in a position to find a gem out of the many qualified people available. Take your time Stephen, get it right.
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