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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?

Really?

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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KEEP LOSING!!! Not admissible anymore.

DC,

What worries me about this game is I suspect we will see Ben Watson in the slot like we did with our full compliment of DB's healthy Vs. N.E. I get this bad feeling they will come at us in multiple 3 and 4 WR sets as well in order to confuse the make shift bunch we will be fielding at DB. This in turn should soften it up for Hillis. By the way caught some posts a few days back about your B-Day so happy belated Bro!

oscar,

Been reading some of your posts through out the entire night, no sleep???

You can talk all you want about Strategy although less about ours. Good.

Hard to sleep for a long stretch with the kid here.

oscar Gotcha, been there.

It's hard to sleep when you're 0-2 and -4 till kickoff.

I stayed up extra late just so I could sleep in until kickoff.

It didn't work. I'm running on less sleep than Oscar.

I wonder if Tony's up early?

He's probably having coffee and going through the want ads.

Hey odin,

I'm half way around the world Bro and it's actually 3:10 P.M. right now for me, if you like I could send you a number to call me.

Fantastic article armando... U nailed it... Ireland sucks and has passed over proven talent for more discarded x Dallas players...the tuna royally screwed us with these jokers!!!

Anybody knows if BP had ever picked a HC or GM before? Just digging.

Probably the most important Game for the Dolphins since their first One.

Go Dolphins!

Beat the Cleveland Peyton Hillises.

oscar,

Never!! He was a HC only never even a GM before he went to Miami

our coaches and GM...laughing stock of NFL...where is speilman and wrongstast when we need them...and I hope our 30 million guaranteed center from oakland that fist-pump hand picked, at least has to watch our game on TV today...lol oh yea..I will be going to future games

PS...and Jake Long over Matty Ryan...great choice...

most likely tonys last game

only thing important about this game is that they keep losing

Armando,

Before I got to the end of this article I thought dang he is burning Ireland.
I see I was right.
the good ol boy get another cowboy mentality needs to go.
Jeff Fisher and a quality G M are in line now.

Dusty,

If we fire Sparano in Season and name Nolan Interim Coach then at Seasons end if they don't make him the new Coach he walks as is always the case in those situations. I like Nolan the DC and don't particularly blame him for not having the right players to fit his scheme but am not fond of him either as the HC.

I say fire Ireland NOW!!! Set a precedent that the culture must and will change!!! Find a competent young NFL exec and let him clean house on down to thr equipment manager. I know some are saying bring in Cowher, Gruden or Fisher with control but it's important to remember that none except Gruden ever had any real personnel control before and we all saw how Chucky blew it when he got his shot in Tampa.

FIRE IRELAND AND FIND A NEW YOUNG TEAM EXEC.!!!

By the end of the evening I will be as content with the loss to the Browns as that for myself... equals another notch in the firing of Soprano and sons and the GM pronto. I want these POS Parcells left overs GONE.

NO, I am NOT one of those Suck for Luck fans as I know for a fact that even if we suck for Luck and IF Luck is not hurt and IF we get the #1 pick that as long as these fools are in control, they will trade away the #1 for VALUE PICKS and look for more of those POS Acorns.

Fire them all now and Who really gives a rats ass who takes over while they search for a new HC and GM.

COWHER for HC is my choice and give him a good GM or make him the GM also and totally rebuild this team from scratch and look for a SB in 2016.

uh please let nolan walk. nolans garbage, worst defense in nfl. fire the entire staff, let cowher bring in who he wants

Thank fin4life. Enjoy South Africa (don't get breached by a shark, lol).

I agree with you though. Actually, Hillis has strep throat, not sure he's playing, but they will have a handful with Watson and that other TE (who I think is better right now) Evan something. I'm predicting them to light us up (we're the worst team vs. TE's, and Nolan is this year's Henning, he believes in his system and refuses to adjust to the personnel of the team.

The ONLY (and I stress ONLY) shot we have is if Henne gets back to the that 1st week. Big plays, moving the offense, getting up on them quickly, and keeping the pressure on. That would make their younger QB have to air it out more and possibly make mistakes.

So, I hate to tell you folks, this game rests in Henne's hands. Yes, he's been our MVP probably this season offensively, played much better, but hasn't played good enough to carry this team. But if he has another big game, and the defense helps even a little bit, we have a shot.

hennes been horrible. only marshall has played weel. 12 for 30 was one of the worst games ever by a qb in nfl

F Cowher and his stupid look on his face all the time.

Overall though, we all need to be embarrassed. We're talking about it being a close game either way against Cleveland. CLEVELAND people, the bottom of the NFL barrel. Between them and us, I don't know who's more of a laughingstock of the league. This game should be cake (as far as NFL cake can be), but it's not. We'll have to do everything just to win.

And that's where you blame the FO. If you fielded a team, in a system that has to do everything right JUST to beat Cleveland, then you're not serious about playing the teams in your division, winning your division, making the Playoffs, being elite. This team was put together to maybe, MAYBE, win 1-2 more games than last year.

And for that and that alone, Ireland and Sparano should be treated the same way they treated Randy Mueller when they took over. Except not in the last game, I say get it over with (if you ever want a fan to step foot in Sun Life again).

dc the worst thing that could happen today is the fins pull out a win. we know we will get hammered by sd and jets. but with games left vs kc,denver we could still win 3 or so games. we need to lose least 14 to have shot at luck. why win a meaningless game? its basically the difference in drafting a franchise qb or just another oline or dline guy who might or might not do much

Dusty Bottoms ( Bill) thanks, but your one of the few that is saying Henne is horrible. EVERY SINGLE sports radio guy down here is saying Henne is the bright spot so far, your 1000% WRONG!!

And BTW, Kosar said the other day the Fons will still win at least 9 games

I reside in New England, and was fuming when the Pats picked up Edds. I was hoping that Miami would get him back when he was cut, but NE just signed him to their practice squad. Maybe Miami can sign him back. I am not confident at all with the recent personnel decisions from the Fins FO. Seems that while there are some potentially good players on the team who will get better as the season plays out, a lot of the so-called "stars" are a notch below the play of their counterparts.

Great post Mondo, lets start the Jeff Fischer campaign. sporano is a good guy but he is in way over his head, ireland has proven that he is nothing more than a good scout, and if we dont rebuild with a new regime as soon as possible these guys will put the dolphins further back than pornstache did.

oh yes bobbyd i forgot u put your stock in guys on the radio,lol. great point, hope you do your investments that way also. come to think of it u probaly do your gardening also from a guy on the radio. henne has been horrible his whole career, so until he changes that its a fact. your times over, u been hyping thuis no change bs for couple years now. its gonna turn around soon, lose your bs bias and get back to reality. and yes i know you just love to go to games and enjoy good food with family, blah blah blah. doesnt matter if they lose by 60 and have 45 other fans there

Letting go of Edds didn't seem to make sense but the Dolphins don't explain their moves so who knows??

9 gamnes, kosars a genius.

I can understand why you'd say that dusty. When you're 0-2, you can't really defend the QB. Plus, Henne's been inconsistent and horrible in the red zone.

But that doesn't tell the whole story. He led this offense in the NE game. Scored 24 points, and that should be good enough to win, so I blame the defense for that loss. He's been one of the better QBs in the league between the 20's.

I don't think saying he's been horrible is an accurate analysis (though, for us it really doesn't matter since we're winless). Saying he's been the MVP is more of a statement of how lame the rest of the offense has been (from the oline to the TEs and even the inconsistent play from the WRs). Bess gets lost too much in games. Not sure if it's Henne or Bess, but he should be the go-to guy to move the chains, not getting a friggin' screen pass behind the line of scrimmage.

I am hoping for a win today and I am hoping the Fins turn it around for the season. But I know I am just HOPING!

This is all on ROSS. He should have fired both Ireland and Sparano after last season. Instead he took the position that Ireland was staying and he was going to recruit a top talent as Head Coach. BIGGGGG mistake Ross!

No top talent candidate wants Ireland as GM. Ross should have given the KEYS to either Chucky or The Chin. They would bring a nasty spirit to the team and bring winning to the Fins, which brings butts into seats at the Stadium.


Ross blew it! Plain and simple!!

Now we have to play it out another pathetic season. No top talent is going to come in midseason.

Go get Chucky!!!!!

Bill (Dusty Bottoms) amazing how you had to change your name this year cause your scared to stay with your real name. Anyway, no one is going anywhere, just like I told you the last 4 years, that's probably why u changed ur name, ur sick of being wrong all the time BILL FROM KC. Like I said before troll, I could care less what some out of state puke thinks. And you still have never given me your GM credentials.

After the Fins win 9 this year you will change ur name again next year I suppose, idiot

if ross would of just canned ireland cowher would be here already and have us moving in right direction. plus the stadium would actually have miami fans in them. so your right now we have to wait till january to start the cleaning of this very dirty house

GET RID OF IRELAND!!!!! DANM I HAVE SAID THIS ALL ALONG!!!!!GET RID OF IRELAND IT SEEMS LIKE HE KNOWS AS MUCH AS BEING A GM AS ROSS KNOWS ABOUT COACHING AND FOOTBALL!!!!!! OPEN YOUR EYES ROSS!!!!!! GET RID OF IRELAND FIRST !!!!IRELAND STAYS DOLPHINS WILL NEVER SUCCEED!!!!!!

9 games, bobbyd i refuse to think that even you are that dumb. i know you see the writing on the wall and a 3 win season followed by a new coaching staff. i dont expect you to admit it. and even if they won 9 games whats the point of that, us real fans are sick of the garbage 7,8,9 win seasons that mean nothing but a middle of the pack draft pick.

88 and sunny in Ft. Lauderdale, going to The beach to watch the Fins win. In a month you will be up to your ass in snow BILL, enjoy being wrong as usual, bye bye

true john, ross is a clueless owner, thats what makes this even more scary. and ireland has no buisness ever being a gm. ireland sparano will never again be in these positions. sparano will be a line coach and ireland will bring water to a real gm for rest of their careers.

snow? lol i wish. i havent seen snow in palm harbor......well ever. 19 would sure be a mess. another random pointless rant by bobbyd, im starting to see what u guys are talking about when it comes to this little fella. but hey being old makes it ok

Anybody who bases the football season on 2 games should watch women's tennis brcause they sure as hell know nothing about NFL Football. No wonder you changed your name.

great artice, this front office is just embarassing

I can't believe I'm writing this but... I agree with you Mando! One word sums up Jeff Ireland... bewildering. His true character was revealed when he asked Dez Bryant if his mother was a prostitute. The only positive to this dismal season will be watching Jeff Ireland and company get fired. I just hope we get Cowher and not Gruden.

Also dusty, I'm not in the "Suck for Luck" group. Don't believe in that. First of all, while I want to draft a 1st-round QB, not sure Andrew Luck is the best choice, and not sure getting the #1 pick is worth it (even though with the new CBA they don't get paid astronomical amounts like in the past). But there's Kellen Moore, Robert Griffin, and others.

Secondly, and I understand your thought-process, wanting a good team, and thinking getting the first pick in the draft will boost that goal becoming reality, but no self-respecting competitor wishes losing, I'm sorry to tell you. No matter what. I've wrestled, played organized soccer, basketball and baseball, and I can tell you, in ALL my years playing sports, I NEVER wanted to lose for any reason whatsoever. So, not gonna attack you for having that view, but I'll just say it's a bit short-sighted, since getting the 1st round pick doesn't correlate perfectly with a team getting better quickly (how long has it taken Detroit, Carolina, we had it 4 years ago and are still mediocre) and losing as bad as we did in '07 has more harmful effects to your organization which tend to be worse for future progress.

Well said Armando. Please do.

Well, espn reporting Hillis is out for the Browns today.

Also, with all due respect bobby, I don't see Miami winning 9 games. My preseason prediction was 8-8, but after seeing what I've seen, I don't see how we beat 9 teams on our schedule. I can see beating the Jets once (since we always play them well), MAYBE Buffalo, and winning at KC, possibly winning today. But after that, where do we win? Look, until they win ONE game at home, I really have to believe Miami will lose every home game this season too. There's some sort of curse. But when you're 1-12 at home, you can't be realistically thinking somehow they're gonna turn it around miraculously. So that means winning every road game. And that's next week at San Diego (yeah, right), that's in NY, Dallas, NE, Buffalo. Do you seriously think that can happen? I sure would be happy if it did, but I can't realistically with any seriousness predict we'd be able to do that.

Unless we have an '08 turnaround, which is almost impossible due to the schedule and current leadership on this team (and history of injuries decimating the team) then we're looking at standing similar to last year or worse, but no better. I'm sorry to have to say that, do so with absolutely no happiness or "I-told-you-so" (since I was optimistic preseason), but that's how it's looking today.

strep throat, lol. The Gods might be in our favor today Signal (we need all the help we can get).

yes bobbyd, clearly the first 2 weeks meant nothing. pats and packers arent good. and the fins and kc are great. first 2 games dont count

Wow, has this thread generated a lot of chatter!
Can't say I'm surprised, Mando finally decided to stop toeing the company line and risk his access card...
James w., excellent quote. Just brilliant.
PriceClub, please take your orange cheeto dust covered finger off the mouse button... You had your say. it highlights your lack of football knowledge and reveals the thick film of myopia covering your eyes, as well as unmasking yourself as the retarded younger brother of Jeff Ireland. After the third post I had to start skipping...
Looking forward to more Cuban sarcasm and less trumpeting of the obvious, except when delivered with a sense of humor.
I wish I could finish with a "Go Dolphins" but im too embarrassed by this team to say it.

Ireland couldn't get back to you--he's too busy playing Dungeons and Dragons.

IF JON GRUDEN aka CHUCKY ever coaches this team, I will burn every item I own that is Dolphins related and pledge my allegence to a new NFL team.
THE GUY IS AN EFFEN BUM THAT INHERITED HIS WINNING TEAMS, HE NEVER BUILT AND COACHED ONE HIMSELF...
AFTER HIS BROMANCE WITH BRADY ON MONDAY NIGHT, HE HAD BETTER NEVER BE CONSIDERED AS HEAD COACH OF THE DOLPHINS!
BILL COWHER OR JEFF FISHER ARE THE ONLY TWO I WOULD CONSIDER TALENTED AND WORTHY ENOUGH TO RUN THIS FRANCHISE!
IM TELLING YOU STOP WITH THIS CHUCKY FOR HEAD COACH GARBAGE!

I'd sure like to know how much the coaches have to do with these personnel decisions. And if no one will own these decisions then they should all be canned.

One positive thing I can say (and work with me guys, I'm reaching here) is as pessimistic I am with the team right now, I'm actually pretty optimistic with the offense. I really like Daboll's system. With the right personnel it could work. It requires QB consistency though. But it creates big plays, should lead to points, and gets away from the 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust failed mentality. And it's only been 2 games. ALL teams have trouble in a new system, ALL OF THEM (NE, GB, NO, ALL OF THEM). The offense SHOULD only get better as the year goes on.

Defense, ummm, not sure. They (meaning Ireland) really screwed up with the secondary. They put all their eggs in the front 7, and they're not getting it done, which just exposes the joke (almost Houston-like in years past) our secondary is. Davis & Smith haven't made that leap, they might have regressed. Safeties exactly ressemble a subway turnstile. It's a bad scene back there, and there's no end in sight to fix things.

To all the Gruden fans...

Let's take a stroll down memory lane. Gurden took over the Bucs from Tony Dungey and in his first year won the SB against the Raddddders...

He had to credit Dungey for setting the team up for years and Gruden was on Dungeys coattails. After 7 years with the Bucs Gruden was FIRED and went to da Raders.

95–81–0 (Regular Season)
5–4 (Postseason)
100–85–0 (Overall)

COWHER is the logical choice and is much, much more experienced and disciplined and the Fins if under Cowhers control against NE would have been prepared vs the embarrassment like Wake being tossed around by a rookie Guard all day and the cramping and conditioning was a failure on the HC and all his kids.

In Cowher’s 15 seasons, the Steelers captured eight division titles, earned ten postseason playoff berths, played in 21 playoff games, advanced to six AFC Championship games and made two Super Bowl appearances.

He is one of only six coaches in NFL history to claim at least seven division titles.

At the conclusion of the 2005 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers had the best record of any team in the National Football League since Cowher was hired as head coach.

Now folks... If you don't like COWHER that's fine BUT you can NOT argue that COWHER IS the best choice as he has a proven record and TODAY, Mike Tomlin reps from what COWHER built with the Rooney family backing him up.

This is a no brainier.. COWHER IS the first choice. Give him the tools and guaranteed the Fins will be turned around as one of the best Teams in the NFL since Shula.

Gruden has never proven and cant hold the apron strings for Cowher as there is just no comparison whatsoever and mentioning Gruden in the same sentence as Cowher as better is being naive as the numbers don't lie.

DC Dolfan...I have to take issue with what you said about Billy Bean being a great GM. What???? How have the A's done recently? How does hiding in the shadow of a small market team with no pressure, and a quirky system make you a great GM? Those early 2000 A's teams were good because of 3 pitchers that Bean had nothing to do with...Go look at the combined win loss records of pitchers Mulder, Zito, Hudson.. Those arms were the key to that team...Didn't mention that in the movie eh?
Also Bean has a tremendous ego....Huge. Explain his thinking as far as the practice of low-balling managers, even going so far as believing they are about as important as the batboy...In his system.

Scott Hattiberg..he could really draw a walk..Bean is an over-rated joke. If he went to a team like the Cubs a team with some cash and some attention that includes more then the 100 season ticket holders. I may change my mind. As long as he hides in Oakland. His little experiment to me is a joke..

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