« The latest on the Paul Soliai contract situation | Main | What they do, not say: Pass-rush edition »

Ireland's choice: Right thing vs. popular thing

You know the scenario. The Dolphins need to become a more dynamic team. They need big plays on offense. They need possession-changing plays on defense and somebody needs to set an alarm under the special teams and coax a kick return or punt return TD out of them sometime this century.

The Dolphins need to thus draft someone that comes with his own personal Batman show soundtrack: Pow. Bam. Kaboom.

We all know this. The Dolphins have admitted this ...

And then they draft a center?

Or any offensive lineman?

Or a safety?


That is the dilemma Miami general manager Jeff Ireland might (I do stress this is hypothetical) face on draft day in April. We want somebody that will wow us. Owner Stephen Ross wants someone that will bring glitz and glamour and put butts in the seats.

And the best player on the board might be someone that does neither but could still be the best available player on the Miami board. Or the best option in Ireland's opinion. Or Just the right thing to do.

How would Ireland navigate that?

The answer cannot be known until it happens. But be certain it can happen. Simply, there is a possibility the 14 teams picking ahead of the Dolphins pluck the most dynamic offensive players off the board -- guys such as Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert or A.J. Green and Julio Jones or even whatever homerun hitting running back you think is worthy.

And suppose someone such as Florida center Mike Pouncey is the highest rated player on Miami's board at the time. Or maybe OT Nate Solder is Miami's highest rated player left on the board. Or maybe a safety such as Rahim Moore or Roberts Sands is the guy.

Would Ireland have the courage to pick an offensive lineman after the team has spent so many past resources on positions that don't score TDs? Would he be OK with adding to the defense when it's the offense that begs help?

Would he go away from doing the popular thing that will get him applause from folks at the Dolphins draft party at the expense going with the highest-rated guy on his board that perhaps plays a position that excites no one and could get him roasted publicly?

It is a tough call. It is why Ireland makes the proverbial big bucks.

I would tell you the Dolphins had a GM that made that difficult and unpopular call before. Remember in April of 2007, the Dolphins had a good feeling that Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn would be available at No. 9. And the Wednesday before the draft, GM Randy Mueller had dinner with owner Wayne Huizenga and told him he would not be picking Quinn because, well, he didn't think Quinn was that good.

Huizenga didn't necessarily agree but let Mueller make his own bed. Mueller made that bed instead by picking Ted Ginn Jr. No, that choice didn't work although hindsight tells us Mueller made the right call not picking Quinn, either. The point is Mueller did the unpopular thing because everyone (including me) wanted Quinn.

Had Mueller picked a good player instead, he might still be employed. Of course, had Huizenga picked a better head coach than Cam Cameron, Mueller might still be employed. Neither happened. But the point is Mueller took the harder public relations road.

I cannot tell you which way Ireland would go. I haven't asked him about this topic. But my thinking is he might also do the more difficult thing, the more unpopular thing, if he thinks it's the right thing. It would make people upset, for sure. It might even make Ross upset, for sure.

But I get the feeling Jeff Ireland is stubborn enough to stick to his guns and go down blazing if he must.

If the player Ireland picks is the right guy -- and shows it right away -- Ireland can survive the storm of making an unpopular pick. Obviously, you make a less popular selection and compound the problem by choosing a bust, you've doubled your pain and you're out of a job anyway.

But you go with the unpopular pick and it ultimately turns out to be the right selection, your reputation is improved long-term.

So what do you think? Would Ireland let his rep suffer a bit at the hands of fans and second-guessers in the short-term? Or would he bow to the pressure and pluck the next QB or WR or RB on his board to satisfy the masses and his owner?


We might see. 

Kindly follow me on twitter.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Ireland's choice: Right thing vs. popular thing:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I think Ireland has the guts to make the unpopular decision. 1. He's done it in the past (who saw them picking Jared Odrick last year?), 2. He needs to do what he thinks makes the team better. He needs to win in 2011 or he's out of a job. He can't pacify the fans, he needs to do what he thinks is best for the team.

He should pick some one who will make the team better in the long run no matter what position it is, and the fans will need to have hope that he is right. Bill



I'd be fine with Mike Pouncy as out 1st round pick, as long as we got a 2nd rounder too after trading down. What good are offensive weapons if our O-line is like a seive.

Considering this team has holes at almost every position except d-line, punter & kicker, it's hard to imagine any pick being criticized in the 1st round as long as it's none of those 3 positions.

We have no RB's, 1 QB most have given up on, no speed at WR or TE, a miserable interior o-line, no home run threat returner, could use another rush OLB, could use a better ILB next to Dansby, have an aging SS, have an inexperienced & in my opinion, below average FS.

So the options are endless. It will be hard for Miami to mess up it's 1st round pick this year.

Yes Joe, I agree but some needs are bigger needs than others. Our D was ranked 7th wasnt it so not too many holes there. 90% of this draft should be offense.

Aloco these people work harder in a week than you have worked all year. I don't want a gm that makes picks based on what the fans or owner wants. I want Ireland to make the responsible choice for the future of the phins and that means picking the player that is highest rated on their board. We have lots of needs including interior o-line which produced one of the worst running games in the league last year. If the highest rated player is an o-linemen then you take him.

I read an article that said the Dolphins concentrated on getting Henne an o-line that could pass block while ignoring the running game side of the line was ignored. The article suggested that it is Hennes fault he failed because he had great blocking. To which I had to laugh because I realized that some reporters have no clue what is going on in football. I'm saying if they had a running game there would have been less pressure on the passing game. But apparently me, a guy who simply watches the game on tv knows more than a man who covers the game all year long. Amazing how some of these people get jobs.

I'd be fine with using picks on o-line, it is no secret that is real need. However, if Pouncey's name wasn't Pouncey, he would not be in 1st round conversations.

the right thing is to trade back




Go find a perennial pro bowler & I'll be happy, whatever the position. And the Draft Winds guys had Odrick right from the beginning- oops sorry wrong paper!

I am not saying, I do not want other teams to know what I am thinking. (o-line) (then Newton)

We gotta trade down , this team needs more depth.
No problem with drafting Solder or Cimmini from wisconsin to sure up OL , but we gotta add a qb in second round.
Free agency when available will supply many guys at skill positions for us to look at. Not too many great options early in draft for skill positions.
These guys wil be available to fish
Deangelo Williams
Reggie Bush
Micheal Bush
Pierre Thomas
Darren Sproles
Thomas Jones
Ronnie Brown
That would help rb issue. Other receiver is going to be tough to fill. Aj Green will be gone and Julio Jones is too similar to Marshall , a little more speed.
I hope we sign Zach Miller TE from Raiders

I would like to see:
A trade to Indy for their 1st & 2nd
1. Casey Matthews LB
2. Colin Kapaernick QB
3. Jaquizz Rodgers RB

Ireland probably doesn't care as much as you say here...I think he will go with what he and other FO Miami people want..not the fan favorite... I don't even think Ireland has a sack in his pants, I bet he looks like a barbie doll down there...

One name Mark Ingram

There goes the iPhone app displaying no blog text at all again...I paid what for this?

Dolphins still have holes to be covered before we spend draft picks on luxary picks.

We are trading down to get a 2nd rounder, you'll see.

From what I've seen of Ireland, I think he drafts who he thinks will help the team most. However, I doubt he takes a defender in the first round (highly). I see him taking someone, anyone on offense. My preference is QB, but like Joe, I see holes everywhere, and would be happy with pretty much ABMI (Anyone But Mark Ingram)!

What I think the Dolphins need to do is figure out who the best player available at our biggest position of need. If we decided to take the best player available at 15. That player would probably be a defensive lineman. This first round is flooded with value at this position. I don't think we do this unless for some crazy reason Von Miller is available.

So this is where Ireland needs to figure it out. Without a second round pick, it makes not missing on our first rounder paramount. I think there is value to be had in the 3-5 rounds at the running back, reciever, qb positions. We may be forced to take an interior lineman just because the first round offers the best value at that position. It isn't a glamour choice. But it may be the smartest, most prudent choice.

Now if we can find a trade partner that gets us into the second round. This strategy changes. This brings saftey, cornerback, reciever, and maybe even quarterback into the conversation.

He will pick his board regardless. The Odrick pick was not good in my opinion. Not just because he got hurt but because we were stacked at DE. Moving Starks to DE was just stupid! Pro Bowl DE you don't move - sorry. He should have drafted a NT then - that was a need and maybe if he nailed it with the 1st rd pick we wouldn't be worrying about paying lazy you know what Soliai $6M/yr.BPA is great IF it's a need. We had so many needs and DE was probably the only one we didn't. Ireland will do whatever he thinks is right regardless of what anyone thinks. But he messed up in the 1st rd last year in my opinion.

Leonard Hankerson, Julio Jones & Christian Ponder will
all be available. Running backs are a dime a dozen, so were good on that. Henne has to go, because he cant even throw a fade route :( And please fix the line. Sporano keeps out thinking himself with all the tweaking.

Yes Joe, I agree but some needs are bigger needs than others. Our D was ranked 7th wasnt it so not too many holes there. 90% of this draft should be offense.

Posted by: Ray Finkle | February 17, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Stats are for losers. Rankings mean nothing. Against bad teams our D looked good. Against good teams, it sucked. Check the gamebooks of the Packer, Raven, Steeler & Pats games to see how good our D was last year. This D has holes & is not complete by any means.

All but 1 pick went to D in last years draft and only 1 of them started. Do you really think this O will be rebuilt through the draft? Last years D wasn't rebuilt last year. All but 2 starters were already on the team(Misi/Dansby).

You expect offensive rookies to come in & produce right away? I doubt it. The O will have to rebuilt in FA, if there is one, if they want to compete this year.

Take the best available player!

I think that Ireland will do what he needs to do. If there's no sure fire pick at fifteen we will trade down and try to pick up a second rounder. At least that is what I hope they do.

Isn't Hankerson just a clone of Brandon Marshall? I understand he is a local guy, and he played well in the Senior Bowl. But if we are going to draft a reciever, shouldn't he be a speed option? Hankerson is a good player. But he isn't the speed guy we need. At best Hankerson is a posession guy. No knock on him, but we already have enough of these.

Ireland is a puss. Did you see what he did to Tony Sparano to save his own job?

It's not even that our offensive line is bad. We had a lot of injuries. A good center would be great, but I like our o line other than that. I say Julio Jones if he's there. He's a gamebreaker. Not too sold on any of the qb's in the draft. We need to re-sign ricky williams and then sign or draft a number 1 back. Reggie Bush or deangelo williams would be great. There are even a few backs that look good in the 2nd or 3rd round. Mark ingrahm would even be ok with me. As long as we make moves that will improve our weaknesses, I wont be complaining.

Hankerson runs the best routes out of any WR in the draft. He destroyed all the DBs at the Senior Bowl.

Here's a little write-up from Scout.com regarding DyingBreed's qb pick, Stanzi.

OK … Yes, this is a bit of a stretch and Stanzi is probably considered out of place on this list but we've seen a Brady-like player ever since Stanzi replaced Jake Christensen in the starting lineup at Iowa. Stanzi looks like a Brady clone standing tall in the pocket and the similarities of the two coming out of college are there. Stanzi is a bit slow with his decision making, footwork and release – just as Brady was. In fact, that was by far the biggest knock on Brady, even during his early tenure with the New England Patriots.

Stanzi was extremely efficient up until the Hawkeyes three-game slide at the conclusion of his senior season. While Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is known for producing NFL-ready players on both sides of the ball, quarterback is one area where he hasn’t had much success at guiding prospects to the next level. If you ask Hawkeye fans part of this would be due to offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe’s

We need to trade up to get AJ Green from Georgia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That will help Henne and Marshall.Also an OFFENSE that realizes a 10 yard pass is not a bomb.With Green we will get that deep threat from him and Marshall.Try covering those two.Also add Bess and sure handed Hartline!!!!

Joe..You said stats are for losers, but asked us to check the stats of the games you mentioned. I'm confused..

I do agree with you on a few fronts. 1 our defense wasn't as great as many believe. We were improved. But hardly great. The number 7 ranking is a little fraudulent in my mind. Against playoff caliber teams(minus second jets) game. We got roasted. Most of these stats were compiled against inferior offenses with poor quarterbacks. The second half of the season wasn't exactly a murderers row of competant offenses.

You can only play the teams on your schedule. And the defense did improve. But we cannot ignore the defensive side of the ball, thinking we are going to be better, or that the defense is fine.

Hankerson is an excellent receiver, if available in the third round I'd take him, but he will not be. Hell, I couldn't miss if I had both Marshall and Hankerson. Maybe Hammy won't. The Quarterback, Running Back and Receivers need a line to block for them. We would look stupid again when the Jest throw all their crazy schemes at our currrent o-line.

Ireland will stick to his board with a slight lean toward offense.

Ireland has a long term career to think about beyond the Dolphins.

If he bows to media pressure now what will future owners think of him?

That said, he needs to hit on his picks to continue to have a career.

Our defense finished 7th, yet we led the league in dropped INT's. Only if we could catch. LOL

Trading down is going to be very very difficult to pull off at #15.

Any player another team would reach for is probably someone who the Dolphins want anyway.

The team does have many holes to fill.

Everybody knows that it takes time for an o-line to gel together!!!We have a better o-line than what most people think.Its hard to gel when the starters get hurt and you have to bring in replacements that didn't work with the first string unit in practice or you move players to different positions.Draft a skilled player!!!!!!!!!!!!

aloco. y r u always yelling.?.lol

A good O-Line wins championships people. Get Pouncy. Do any of you remember the 'hogs' in Washington? Won three superbowls with three different quarterbacks. One of those quarterbacks was mediocore at best (Rypien). However, the
O-Line was always the same, very dominant. Learn the game of football people. You really don't know what you have with Henne yet. Get a monster line and the offense will come much easier. You can bet on it. Football is won in the trenches.

Since I don't follow college football much and have nothing constructive to say about whom the Dolphins should draft, I'm going to do what I do best, and that's live in the past when it comes to the Miami Dolphins. So, today is 2/17/73...

Well, we're coming off a perfect season, and I know the temptation is to stand still, but there's no way Shula will ever be satisfied. Let's face it - while we were 17-0, the best teams we defeated in the regular season (Kansas City and the New York Giants) only had 8-6 records. We also struggled against Cleveland and Pittsburgh in the playoffs before winning both games.

Let's start at QB. Griese seems to have fully recovered from his broken ankle. His outstanding play in Super Bowl VII confirmed that. But what's to say that Bob won't go down again? Can we really expect Earl Morral who will turn 39 this year to put up the same outstanding numbers he had in 1972? (No. 1 rated QB in the league.) We need a good young 3rd string QB. This fellow, Don Strock, from Virginia might be our man. (Virginia Tech?)

At running back, Shula was repaid handsomely for starting Morris ahead of Kiick at halfback. Morris rushed for 1,000 yards, with a 5.3 yd. average, and his flash and dash perfectly complemented Csonka's tough inside running. Besides, only once has Kiick averaged over 4 yards per carry in a season. Keep using Kiick as before - as an outstanding receiver and shord yardage back.

Despite Howard Twilley's 28-yd. TD catch in Super Bowl VII, I think we can use a better 2nd receiver to complement the superb Paul Warfield. If Marlin Briscoe is fully recovered from his injury, he definitely should start ahead of Twilliey.

At tight end, Jim Mandich seems to improve every year, and a high percentage of his catches seem to go for TDs. I'd ease out Marv Fleming in favor of Mandich. Mandich also needs to calm down a bit. Every positive gain does not require an ear-splitting and obnoxious, "Oh yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

What can one say about an offensive line that produces two 1,000 yard runners and protects Earl Morral so well that the 38 year old leads the league in passing efficiency? Just that Little, Langer, Kuechenberg, Evans and Moore are THE BEST!!!

Garo Yepremian. We all know you're a Cypriot tie-maker, but who knew that you were such a coward? The shame in Super Bowl VII wasn't that you flubbed that pass - it was that you only made a half-assed attempt at a tackle. If you are successful on 70% of your field goals this year, all will be forgiven.

Punt returns seem to be handled well by Jake Scott, and Morris is explosive on those kick-offs.

My lunch is ending. There's no time to review the No-Name defense.

Anyways, I'm predicting big things from you boys this year. Nothing short of a Super Bowl victory will suffice.

Oh, and I hope Reagan gets the Republican nomination for President over Nixon in 1972. I just have a feeling it would be better for our country ...

If that happens I think the first optioned looked into is a trade down. Then I think you can't stay completely true to your board with so many needs, work off your board but you may skip a couple players in order to balance a need with quality at that pick. But don't pick the flashy offensive player if he is far down your board, it just doesn't make sense. A team with good starters some depth and lots of picks in the draft can reach but not a teach that is still building, remember pat white.

A perspective on why you never know.

Assume our boys had picked Ryan instead of Long in the draft.

Here's what you can be sure of - Long would still be a pro bowler whoever drafted him and Ryan would probably be the basket case Henne is had Ryan had to develop under Sparano and Lee and Henning.

Until Sparano gets it! The QB situation here is a disaster. That's why these new changes at OC and QB coach are good because they can't be any worse than what we had there. But the key is Sparano - if the light does not go on this year he is outa here and should be.

If he picks any quality Olineman with the excetion of LT. Im on board!! We must get the line set before we even think about QB. Tom Brady would be a miserable failure with this line!!

franchise soliai and trade him for a second round. dont trade down

As usual, Armando is looking at this issue with tunnel vision. Some of us would be happy if we scored a stud O-lineman like Solder. Its no doubt a position of need.

I'd be disappointed if a S was taken, even if he was the guy on the board who graded out higher. I liked what I saw out of R. Jones when he got a chance to get on the field, give the kid a chance.

RB would be a mistake in the 1st round. They could probably get Jordan Todman (RB-UConn) in later rounds. He'll be every bit as good a pro as Ingram. Todman has the goods


Pardon, rankings are for losers. Look at how good offenses chewed up this Defense in the gamebooks. Rankings lie, performances against good teams do not.

If you franchise Soliia, then you have to pay him the average of the top paid DT's in the league. Thats alot, especially when you factor in Fat Albert's contract with Wash. It skews the numbers upward. No one will give Miami a 2nd rounder for a highly paid DT who's basically played a really good 3/4 of a season in his contract year.

I said it yesterday, you can transition tag him instead of franchising him. The fact is he is going to command big money and some team will give it to him. At least with the tag, you could only be on the hook for one year & it will give you the chance to negotiate a fairer long term deal without risk of him walking.

I think that the right thing and the popular thing are the same thing... Lol

I have no clue how to respond to this ecept. Please do not draft a guy at 15 that should not be drafted until 32 ( similar to Ted Ginn.)

And please do not draft a guy early who has broken their legs a couple hundred times in college then think he will hold up in the NFL (Odrick)

Anything beyond those examples i might be good...

The right decision is probably trading back.Taking a running back in the late first maybe someone named Leshoure, then a guard who can pull John Moffitt from Wisconsin would fit the bill, then get a QB in the third to develop. Ricky Stanzi,or Colin Kaepernick would do nicely in the right decision world.
However in the popular decision world trading up to get Cam Newton will sell tickets. We`ll probably have to give up next years second round pick to Dallas to do it though.If Newton gets past Tennesee at 8 Ireland will have to think about it. There`s no way Newton gets past Washington at 10 and Dallas would love to stick it to Washington. They always want to stick it to Washington there.

The right decision is probably trading back.Taking a running back in the late first maybe someone named Leshoure, then a guard who can pull John Moffitt from Wisconsin would fit the bill, then get a QB in the third to develop. Ricky Stanzi,or Colin Kaepernick would do nicely in the right decision world.
However in the popular decision world trading up to get Cam Newton will sell tickets. We`ll probably have to give up next years second round pick to Dallas to do it though.If Newton gets past Tennesee at 8 Ireland will have to think about it. There`s no way Newton gets past Washington at 10 and Dallas would love to stick it to Washington. They always want to stick it to Washington there.

He needs to do something with oline...if that isnt fixed it doesnt matter who he drafts if they dont have the protection they wont get anything done... If I was the dolphins I would try to pick up eric weddle in FA for safety to help us out on defense.

Do the right thing or do the popular thing?

It depends, would you rather be loved, or feared? It's nice to be both,but it's difficult.

But if I had my choice...I would rather be feared. Fear lasts longer than love. Friendships bought with money mean nothing. You see how it is. I make a joke, everybody laughs.
I'm funny, but not that funny.

Fear keeps them loyal to me. The trick is not being hated. I treat my men good. But if I
give too much, I'm not needed. I give just enough where they need me but don't hate me.

Don't forget what I'm telling you.

Wow, Armando, are you trying to instill a little
common sense on this bunch ?

listen, it won't work, most of the people that
comment on your blog are a bunch of mindless
baboons ( except me of course )and they really have Zero clue about this.

but to answer your blog, this is a no brainer, you pick the best player available and you don't listen to the fans or the media for that matter.

Ireland seems like the type to dig in and hold his mud. It will be tough without Uncle Bill bringing his thunder to Boss Ross to go DEF in the 1st.

I do believe in the BPA as you have to collect as many Pro Bowl caliber players as possible.

That said, I think the race has been narrowed down to the best way to get "Their Pick" as the best QB on the team that they target. With pressure to win now they will be looking to add a Vet presence in FA after the draft at QB to vie from day one for the starting job.

The fact that rumors leaked that BP was upset with Henne's progress last year and that they benched him says that they may be off the Henne or bust wagon.

I could see a Ryan Mallet being a sacrificial "we gotta address this and look at how high we took him so we are trying hard" type pick. Mallet has some tools and maybe could get it done over time...but I would think not first year. He would be my 3rd or fourth choice.

I am sticking to my get QB Kaepernick later and scoop up VY as if you had to get him so you have a great trifecta of options.

If the Bifecta doesn't QB in the 1st and grabs say C/G Mike Pouncey I would be fine as I understand that we have to collect talent and I think he can play a long time.

Like DC Dolphan, I hope and pray they don't go with many of the thoughtless draft mags that simply say "Oh Ricky and Ronnie are done so they have to draft an RB 1st round." RBs can be had later, he doesn't have special attributes as say Adrian Peterson. If the want a blocker put a bigger FB or H-Back type in the backfield. Plus last year taught everyone RBs can be found late...like after the draft late.


i would trade the 4th and 7th rd pick to trade up snag AJ Green prolly not possible Solder could solidy line at RT if Carey would be willing to move to RG where he seems he would be better suited anyways... Good Miami guy really think he would be open to it in order to help the team

Beerphin, you'll need to cough up allot more than a 4 & 7 to trade up into the top 5-6 to get Green.

how much you think?

Rob in OC.....What up Brudda!!!

Ryan Mallet is one guy I hope we pass on. There are a few here that really like him as a prospect, and I'm not trying to rain on their parade. They gave their opinions. Mine just happens to be different. What scares me about Mallet. Is that he comes across as a complete knucklehead. Have you heard an interview with the guy. He speaks like Vanilla Ice.

Physically he has some nice tools. Definitley a strong arm. I haven't seen enough of him to really say he is inaccurate, or immobile, or forces throws. The only games I watched were against Alabama, and in the Sugar Bowl. The Alabama game he was poor in the fourth quarter, and did not handle the pressure well. The Sugar Bowl, I thought he was let down a little ny his recievers(drops) But was horrible under center. His long completions were all out of the shotgun.

2 games isn't really a standard by which players can be totaly judged. But these two games were on the biggest stages, and Mallet shrunk like a penis in cold water. He is to close to Chad Henne in too many ways. I hope we pass.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 »

The comments to this entry are closed.