General Manager Jeff Ireland decided long ago that football season is a time for the football team and its coaches to be in the spotlight. That and the fact he works for Bill Parcells, a man that wants his people working and not conducting interviews, is one reason Ireland has been practically invisible since April.
After he finished talking about his draft picks, Ireland slid into the background, where he's quite comfortable. He hasn't been doing many public interviews although he always says, 'Hey," when I pass him in the press box. Ireland did speak on the record in this week's edition of Dolphin Digest because the publication is in business with the club.
And that solid 10-question interview with Dolphin Digest editor Andy Cohen provides two interesting nuggets.
Nugget One: Ireland is keenly aware how terrible Miami's receiver corps is without the benefit of a star. This, thankfully, despite the company line from coach Tony Sparano that Miami's wide receivers are fine, and that everyone is happy with the receivers. One assumes Sparano privately agrees with Ireland, but after hearing the coach talk publicly of how happy he is with his receivers time and again, you almost start to fall for that Jedi mind trick.
The Jedi mind trick goes something like this:
Reporter: Tony, what do you think of the fact your receivers can't get open and you need to upgrade at the position?
Sparano: Our receivers are doing an outstanding job, they're improving every day in practice and there are things your lying eyes don't see that football people see which prove our receivers are doing fine.
Reporter: Your receivers are doing an outstanding job, they're improving every day in practice and there are things our lying eyes don't see that football people see which prove your receivers are doing fine.
This has gone on all season.
Well, now we know what the organization really thinks. The Dolphins agree with the rest of mankind that its receiver corps is badly in need of upgrading.
"We have to find players who can give us that chunk yardage that the coach always talks about," Ireland said. "We're not there yet and we're not going to be satisfied until we find those players.
"Every team is looking for them. We're not different. We're all looking for a superstar wide receiver. Those players come at a high price. You are either drafting them very high in the draft or giving up high draft picks and a lot of money to get them. Now, I'm not saying we wouldn't do that. The circumstances just haven't fallen for us to do either one right now.
"Do we want that kind of player on our team? Absolutely. All I can say to the fans is to be patient, we're fighting to try to find those type of guys. We're not going to mortgage the franchise for one player. We're going to try to build this team the right way and if those kind of players come to us, we'll certainly go after them and go after them hard."
And while Ireland recognizes the need to upgrade the wide receivers he will give to Miami's quarterback, he is curiously noncommittal about Chad Henne as that quarterback.
Cohen asks Ireland if he's convinced Henne is Miami's QB of the future. Henne has started seven games for Miami. But the GM declines to say if thinks Henne is the real deal based on what he's seen so far.
"Chad has given us a lot of reasons to hope. He has all the intangibles you want," Ireland said. "He is tough. I mean, really tough. There are critical things you need in a quarterback and Chad has many of those things. He's got some moxie in him and I really like that. I'm going to wait until this season plays out and I'm anxious to evaluate the entire body of work at that time. But I can tell you, I like a lot of what I see in Chad Henne."