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Dolphins mysterious personnel staff make some mystifying moves

Let me begin here: I am not a genius and I hate to second-guess. But some things simply do not add up and critiquing what is being done is not second-guessing, it is judging what is happening, and often times failing, right before your very eyes.

Having said that, I do not get the Dolphins' pesonnel moves sometimes. I also don't get their non-moves sometimes. In other words, when it comes to personnel acquisition, I often do not get the Miami Dolphins.

Let us begin with the latest and work our way back. You'll notice that today, as the Dolphins travel to Cleveland for their third game of the regular season, the team's secondary is one pulled muscle from being in shambles.

CB Vontae Davis is out with a hamstring injury. S Chris Clemons is questionable with a hamstring injury suffered weeks ago. Will Allen is questionable with a hamstring injury suffered in practice Thursday.

The Dolphins are starting Nolan Carroll at one CB spot even though he struggled in the preseason and then has struggled so far in the regular season.

It is a difficult situation authored, in part, by happenstance of injuries. It is also a difficult situation authored by strange personnel decisions.

To wit:

At the end of the preseason, the Dolphins decided Benny Sapp was their best option as the nickel back. He won the job and I agreed with it because he made plays in games (one interception) and had tons of plays in practice. Will Allen was mostly injured, nursing a hamstring injury for three weeks, after he missed the past two seasons with knee issues.

So I got that Sapp was on the team. The decision spoke for itself. The Dolphins saw what everyone else saw and they made the right call with Sapp.

Then after one game, they changed their minds. The Dolphins played one game in which Carroll, Davis, Sean Smith, and Sapp were beaten for significant gains or scores and decided that Sapp had to go.

The only guy that made any plays in the secondary in preseason, indeed, the only defensive back that made a play against New England, got fired.

Yes, Sapp had given up a 99-yard TD catch to Wes Welker. Yes, he gave up a 2-yard TD grab by Welker also.

But guess what? Jones took a bad angle on that Welker play and could have made the tackle around the 40-yard line if he hadn't. Guess what? Sapp played that WR screen perfectly in the first half and forced the tip that Jared Odrick intercepted, and that remains the only play the Miami secondary has made so far this season. Guess what? Players give up 2-yard catches in the NFL all the time.

Still, Sapp got the axe.

So basically, Miami's personnel decision-makers watched Sapp throughout six weeks of training camp, in four preseason games, in countless practices and nearly a thousand repetitions, and deemed him worthy of being on the team.

And then changed their mind in four quarters of football against the best quarterback in the NFL the past decade and an offense that led the league last year and is en route to that again this year?


So Sapp was out, even though as a vested veteran, the Dolphins were then on the hook for his 2011 salary.

Then they brought back Will Allen to replace him. Yup, the guy who's been injured most of the time since 2009 and was injured most of training camp was brought back last week to replace Sapp. And guess what? One week later, he's injured again.

Brilliant thinking, personnel department!

With Davis also down, the personnel department had to go find another cornerback. They couldn't rehire Sapp, although he knows the system and he's obviously in shape and would fit right in because, you know, that would look bad. It would look like somebody made a boo-boo in hastily firing him after New England.

So they go and sign Nate Jones. They go get a former Dallas Cowboy, of course!

Jones actually was not a bad player -- around 2009, that is. In 2008-2009 he was brought to Miami as a nickel back. He served a purpose and then was allowed to leave because, frankly, he has flaws and he was paid handsomely by the Denver Broncos. It was the right decision to move on.

Except now Denver has moved on. They've apparently found someone better. And the Dolphins?

They're back to 2009's solution. You know what that tells me?

The Dolphins haven't really addressed the nickel position well enough since 2009 to avoid having to resort to the old answers. Two years have passed and they're still trying to solve problems with old answers. What were they doing the past couple of years? Why didn't the issue get resolved in two offseasons of free agency and drafts with a better, younger, more expensive player?

Why are we trying to solve old questions with old answers you've already decided weren't good enough?

This example is not the only one bothering me about the personnel department.

They draft A.J. Edds in the fourth round in 2010. Nice pick. But after he gets injured and is out for the entire season, they cut him before the 2011 season begins. The kid got no opportunity to be in a Dolphins offseason conditioning program. He didn't have the luxury of OTAs or offseason camps. He was basically brought to camp a year after reconstructive surgery and told perform or you're cut.

And he led the team in tackles in the preseason. And he was cut anyway.

And for what?

Dante Rosario.

Yup, the Dolphins cut Edds to make room for Dante Rosario. No disrespect, but a great personnel man whom I greatly respect said this to me about Rosario when the Dolphins picked him up: "Rosario sucks!"

I took it with a grain of salt because I figured the Dolphins knew what they were doing. I will not make that mistake again.

Rosario was cut by Carolina. He was cut by Denver. He was then signed by Miami. And he was cut two weeks later because they found out what the other teams and that personnel man already knew. He's not the answer for them at tight end.

By the way, speaking of tight end, I'd like to hear from the personnel department why they looked the other way all of free agency and the draft on tight end. Jeremy Shockey signed with Carolina. Zach Miller signed with Seattle. Greg Olsen was traded from Chicago to Carolina for a third round pick.

And all the time the Miami pesonnel department is wanting us to believe the Dolphins are fine at tight end? No upgrade needed? Ok, if that is your best evaluation of your situation, fine. I will defer to your expertise.

But then you throw that expertise to the four winds and once other teams start cutting tight ends, you pick them up, one after another, like a homeless person picks scraps out of a garbage can?

What? The proven guys were too good?

You had a really good feeling about Jeron Mastrud, who has zero catches in 10 NFL games?

All I can say is Charles Clay, a running back in college, better be a stud tight end.

He also better be a short-yardage stud and blocking fullback stud because the personnel department decided Lousaka Polite was expendable. Polite was excellent in the locker room. He was one of those players that fit the team's "right 53 players" outlook the past three years.

And on third-and-1, he was nails. Polite carried the ball 15 times on third-and-one or fourth-and-one last year. He converted 14 times.

This year the Dolphins are only 2 of 4 on third-and-two or less. They are only 1-for-2 on fourth and 1. So already they've blown three times more short yardage plays in two games than they did all last year handing it to Polite.

But, maybe the personnel department would argue it had the answer for a fullback. Paul Soliai!

How'd that work out against New England.

Look, the truth is the personnel department wouldn't argue anything. General Manager Jeff Ireland is not talking to the media. He hasn't spoken since the draft. I asked to speak to him this week. Nothing.

His right hand man, Brian Gaine? Hardly ever see the guy. Doesn't mean he's not around, but he is definitely a behind the scenes guy.

And that's fine. They can stay behind the curtain. But their moves?

I promise you, from this point forward I will continually put them before your eyes.


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Time to can these bozo's enough is enough. Ross is bleeding money on this franchise like a stuck pig.

Good post Armando. It's all bewildering to say the least. You could probably fill another page with examples.

They are embarrassing themselves and the franchise at this point.

Armando, it's obvious our personnel people suck, have no imagination or evaluation skills. Why else do they consistently pick up Dallas's rejects, because they know the player and are too lazy or unskilled to evaluate players from other teams. On the Edds situation, he was picked up by New England but they have since released him, maybe there was some justification for us to cut him. Anyway, it looks like it's time for Bill Cowher and a new GM.

Our seconday unit leaves a lot to be desired
Too late to fix this season
We are in for for a rough year

Thank you. This regime has also missed "Big Time" on draft choices, particular on receiver and offenvive line, (on 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th draft choices). You can't do that and hope to be a good team. Anybody can do better than these jokers.

I've said it before. Sparano and Ireland are idiots. The personel decisions always suck, no playmakers on defense or offense. Hopefully, the owner will pull the plug on the stooges, and he will bring a Coach that knows what he is doing.


Solid post. Hopefully enough people realize this (namely Ross) and finally do something about it....Bring people in to this organization who are competent and successful football minded individuals who make the right decisions. Ireland has shown that he is not the man for this job. These personnel decisions, or in some cases, lack of, have gotten to the point where it is painful to read an article, let alone watch a game.

Its time to cut ties with all of Parcell's personell decisions and bring in either Cowher of Fisher to coach this team. Parcell has done nothing for this team.

A great personnel man whom I greatly respect said this to me about Rosario when the Dolphins picked him up: "Rosario sucks!"

Sounds like someone who might comment on this site!

Incredibly, we've been weak at FS ever since the miracle worker Parcells arrived. Even more mysterious and mystifying is how Sparano somehow got saddled with the blame for signing Colombo. If "heads are to roll", one would hope that "the personnel dept." (Ireland) would be the first to go.

I agreed with Cote's article that Sparano should be on the (very hot) seat this week. I also agree With Armando that coaching changes made mid-stream don't work. Steve Ross is PO'd? Good! Make the right decisions AFTER the season, this mess would be a perfect fit for Jon Gruden to take over. Sparano is an old O-line guy? Weakest part of the team. I think we are seeing why Denver let Nolan walk. Ireland doesn't know anything if you weren't a Cowboy at one point.

Ross is bleeding?
I've read where Mr. Ross has 15 Billion in real estate holdings. Awake fellow Dolphin fans, this team is a toy and a tax write off for Ross. Waste no tears on the team. This is how he wants it. Protest. Stay home on gameday. Don't go there and spend 9 bucks on a Miller beer.

The moves they make is now seen under a microscope! Seems like every move they make is a disparate disaster! This team is a train wreck right before us! Very painful to even watch any more!

Mike Mayock would be a great GM. The guy has an eye for talent.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: desperate people do desperate things. What's unfolding before our eyes are two very jittery people at the start who panicked after the first game. In desperation, they made one stupid move (Sapp sack) which then triggered a series of other bad moves. And now we have a snowball effect - and the third game hasn't even started yet. We are witnessing a slow motion train wreck.

Armando, I'm glad you are now going to shine a spotlight on all their personnel move. It's about time they are held accountable.

Hear, Hear!

Is it only the personnel department making the wrong decisions, or is it also the management of the team not wanting to spend money in good players to make more money for themselves (the Huizenga theory)? Or perhaps it is all of the above. Or is it the worse expample of colletive stupidity? But, heck, what else is new? Haven't wee seen this type of decisions for years and years? They just seem to be getting worse now. Realistically though, why prolong the invevitable? If Ireland, Sparano and their crew have not improved this team in four years, why are they still around? They have proven that they are not qualified to run an NFL football team. What is everybody waiting for? Does anybody really expect a miracle? Does anybody really expect things to get better this year? What a waste of my money and time!

I vote for aloco to be our new gm,this guy has a lot to offer .

We have a solution for the personnel department. How about firing the coach and GM after the Browns game debacle.

Then in go out and upgrade those 2 positions.

You forgot to mention the blind eye they turned to Brandon Merriweather when he became free.

You forgot to add Todd Heap to the Tight Ends Miami neglected to take a look at. Its no secret that a team needs a dominant catching TE. Look at New England? Look what they did to us with their tight ends in week 1. Logically thinking... big strong linebackers typically can not cover a fast catching tight end. We passed up on Greg Olsen, Jeremy Shockey, Todd Heap, Zach Miller.... for what? We didnt even talk to any of them! Fasano is not the answer. Yes i think he is a good tight end, but he doesnt make Henne a better QB like the before mentioned Tight Ends WOULD have.

Miami is in shambles. The old Dallas connections are killing this team. The GM sucks, The coaching sucks.... all decisions suck. This team SUCKS! We have waited long enough for them to turn things around... and it just hasnt happened. Loyal fans stick with their teams during down times. All teams have great years followed by bad ones.... players get old, players get hurt, players leave in FA. Its the nature of the beast. But we have given Miami enough seasons to get this team back into contention and it seems like all we do is take one step forward and then 2 steps backwards. Its getting old and something needs to change.

I've heard many say that we here have no idea what we are saying and the Fin's front office knows what they are doing. I've also heard people critique a comment and say "what are you an GM in your spare time?"
The point is on these blogs right here I've said and heard much better moves and ideas potentially than this personnel dept here in Miami had done in the last 4 years... Some say we are not qualified..I beg to differ, I think miami's front office isn't qualified...

I think they are afraid to trust what they see on film versus what they know from practice. I agree with the post watch the film again and see what Sparano mouths after Welkers TD I knew Sapp was history. All is not lost however beat Cleveland and I think we start feeling better about ourself's Oh yea get Gates the ball on a hitch or two and get him going.





The ship is starting to take in alot of water now, sparano and ireland are wearing there life
vest, what a bunch of clowns, they came to town like Clint Eastwood and leaving like the Brady Bunch.

I vote for Jeff Fisher or some other coach that is hungry to win their first title. If cower comes in he may turn us in to a wild card team but he will probably get frustrated after a few years an realize why he retired in the first place. Sound familiar (Jimmy Johnson). Moreover, Bellicheck owns Cower so why is everyone in love with the guy. Yeah he's better than what we have but the bar has been set so low that just about any coach is an upgrade.

I wouldn't even give them The Brady Bunch, I'd say leaving more like Bernard Madoff...Tony and crew did nothing in 4 years and they Madoff with a load of cash and left is peeved off and a broken team



Ross needs to unclog the toilet so it can flush...get rid of these clowns, I have zero sympathy for them at all for what all this did to my team.

And trading for Reggie Bush, a bust. And picking Pouncey 15th and trading up for Thomas, both picks questionable IMO at those stages. Ireland and Sparano are out at the end of the season unless a miracle happens and the Dolphins make the playoffs; but even then I'll have my doubts to continue with Sparano and Ireland. If they go I wish they hire Jeff Fisher.

Hey Aloco, you having any swisschard today by any chance?


GREAT, GREAT post!! Can you archive this one and bring it out when Ireland and Sparano get fired? I wouldn't change a word of what you've said. Everything single move has been a headscratcher! When I read it I actually get angry with the incompetene of the moves. The only thing i would add is I said at the time that the team adding Rosario was a lousy move!! The guy's had one big catch in his career and really didn't display consistent efforts. Was never a fan, regardless of what some said. Olsen would have been good but I wasn't in favour of giving up any draft picks. The move would have been to draft someone last year when there was some quality there and the plan b should have been to sign Zach Miller. They've got it wrong since the beginning and they continue to get it wrong. it's not going to change. The only thing I would caution people is, I'm convinced the next GM is going to be Ross' buddy Carl Peterson and I'm not convinced that's a good thing.


Mando, do you see any college coach's out there that are hungry and qualified to run an NFL team? Couldn't hurt to look there before going to an established NFL guy

Edds was cut by New England, I was hoping Miami would take him back and at least put him on the practive squad. I thought he outplayed Mitchell and Spitler in the preseason but now that two teams have cut him I am wondering if I am missing something about Edds.


He did mention Rosario..what a looser that guy is... Rally what Mando and we all said about the FA TE's that were available for the taking...why not one of them is correct..while we are still toying with that position there are many positions that this is happening on..and we all know it and see it... I'm not a GM, but I bet many of our ideas on this blog and past blogs are way better than what Ross FO made

Good post Armando.
Finally, you are opening your eyes.
The cutting of Sapp was the ultimate proof of Ireland's cynism and lack of accountability.

I think mando is right about the personel moves. But everyone should have seen that Sporano is a great guy but cant be a head coach. Why does no one talk about his college record as a head coach? The personel decisions have been befudling for years. WHy let go of mike westhoff, why trade wes welker. Remember orande gadson. Best reciever we had was pushed off to the side. It took two years for wake to touch the field when it was clear he was the best pass rusher. Carey still plays and cant even tie his shoes...

Agree 100% Mando.

Clowns, all of them....

Don't forget the overpaying for Wilford and others. Don't forget the Dolphins rebuilding their line after having awesome success running the ball in 2008. Don't forget having Gibril Wilson as a Free Safety when everyone knows he is a SS. Don't forget the extreme disrespect with Jason Taylor. Don't forget acquiring Marc Colombo (ranked 76th out of 78 tackles in NFL). Don't forget drafting Pat White in the 2nd round when they could've waited until the 6th or 7th to draft him. Aside from Ireland we are also in trouble on the sidelines. After all, Sparano thinks Reshad Jones has played well when everybody knows he has been the worst player on the roster in 2011. Fun times in Miami. There is nothing more humiliating than rooting for the Dolphins.


I didn't realize that Edds got chopped. Thanks for the update. Yeah makes you wonder. Iwould snap him up again. Never should have been released in the first place.

Whereabouts in Canada are you?

Edd's is a fine player...NE grabbed him uo before our game with them to gain insight. He didnt want to keep Edd's because they are already set and Bellacheat doesn't want our past players...he's laughing at us for signing all these Dallas rejects

Very solid, well thought out article. Thank you.

I just want my winning Fin's back!

I think they need seeing eye dogs. They are blind and see only what their hearts tell them too. That will get even the best of us fired. Henne is the best example. The man has never been a quick read, isnt creative with the ball and plays frightened. If they had any brains they would see he will never be the answer in the red zone. I put money on it that Moore will have better red zone stats if he started. Mark my words.

Excellent post Armando.
Nobody likes egg on there face so this FO will never admit there wrong doings
Just dumbfounded how this team ignores the needs and continues to work on the defensive and offensive line , when they both are mediocre at best.
And we cant win at home
If Ireland was confident in his moves he would speak more often
The truth spaks in his constant silence and media hiding
Time to go back and be a scout boy , and tony time to go back to being an o line coach ,which in miami you have saaaaked !

Personnel decisions fall onto the General Manager, Jeff Ireland. Poor performance and mental errors on the field are the result of poor coaching, Tony Sparano.
Time to let them both go. It could happen during the Bye Week or it may not happen until the end of the season, but it will happen. These guys are in over their heads with this team.
We DO have some talented players on this team, but we're not using them correctly. And, we've let a lot of talent leave for absolutely no reason.
Some folks can build a good team, but just can't win with them. Others know how to win with what they've got , but have a hard time building a team.
Miami needs to start winning or there will be some housecleaning!



Moore would have better RZ success.... I believe that too man.. I say throw him in the game and try at lest

The constant tinkering by the front office is not a good thing. There is no continuity and it ends up hurting special teams. It's almost comical now that when a Cowboy gets released you know he'll be a Dolphin within 3 weeks.

"...the team's secondary is one pulled muscle from being in shambles."

And we're only in week 3. I'm having deja vu of 2007 all over again.

I can only think there is something wrong with Edds that we really don't know about. Just because he was the top tackler in preseason doesn't really mean anything. It was preseason after all and he is a plater that would have played more than others. There's something wrong with a team releasing a player 15 months after they were so high on the guy, especially keeping a guy like Spitler, who they drafted 3 rounds afterwards. It's also weird that the Pats would only keep him around for 16 days. Tells me there is more to this than what we actually know. This one I might be prepared to give them a pass on. The guy did have a torn ACL injury just over a year ago and none of us have any idea how this has impacted him today.

Great article. For the reasons listed above, and many more over the (how many?) years, I've decided this will e my last year as a season ticket holder. I've had the same seats for the last 14 years and I've finally had enough. Until someone shows they're serious about this team and serious about making tw tough ad CORRECT choices, I'm done. I love my Dolphins but enough is enough. They expect me to come every week, which I've done religiously, and fork over my hard earned money but they have NO respect for our feelings. This entire regime, top to bottom, is a joke and a mockery and my boiling point has just spilled over the pot.

Great article Armando, keep up the good work

They need to stop sign all this EX-COWBOYS!! They didn't do anything in dallas so what makes this CLOWNS think there going to do something know. Ross needs to FIRE EVERYBODY and get a real GM and COACH.

P.S. your no a real coach when u got all pumped up on a first down am tried of seeing him get fired up over that score in the redzone then start fist pumping!!

Hi, Mando! I think you got to improve your posts, because this is the first one I see that provokes no controversy at all. We all agree.

I like Sparano as a human. He seems to be a nice guy and after the first season we all thought he and Ireland were the solution. Now it's clear they aren't.

Jeff Fisher sound good to me for next year EVEN if we'd get to the playoffs (Don't laugh).

If Sparano and Ireland want to save their neck, they rather take us to the Conference Championship this year. I mean Rex "Super-Chubby" Ryan has done that already twice in three years. Less than that is comparative failure.

Mando, we will hold you accountable for holding them accountable lol. The desperation thing can be dangerous longer term.
Pats letting Edds go after helping them some, isn't a huge surprise is it? Just because he may not fit their best 53 sure doesn't mean the same with this team!

Longest current losing streak in the NFL.

Worst home record over the last 12 games in the NFL.

31st ranked defense after two games.

Bobbyd, does that meet the expectations you had for this regime 4 years ago? You are content to give these obvious goofballs more time? Seriously?


Ha, 12.5 million on a NT/FB who will get a guaranteed franchise salary if he turns an ankle and sits for bigger money next year. The real personnel problem was/is Ryan Mallet. Now we just need this team to win 6 games and be out of the running for a top QB like Luck next year and the demise of the once great Dolphins will be complete. With little home support and an owner second guessing the investment, I expect the Dolphins to move to LA if they bomb this year and in one more draft. Bod QB play will NEVER fill that stadium, You could have AP carrying the ball and NO ONE will go to the games b/c there isn't a good QB. That's just the way it is here Mr. Ross. Go back to Michigan if that is what your mid-life crisis was about and take Henne with you.

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