« Jimmy Wilson could be out Sunday but that's not terrible | Main | Philbin playtime philosophy good but what about adapting? »

Changes afoot around the NFL, but not in Miami

In New York, there's speculation general manager Mike Tannenbaum will be demoted. In San Diego, both coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith reportedly will be gone after this season. In Cleveland, the future of general manager Tom Heckert Jr. is uncertain and rumors are swirling about a successor.

Carolina is in the market for a new general manager, Scott Pioli is on the hot seat as the general manager in Kansas City, and there could be other moves elsewhere.

Yup, it's that time of year.

But not in Miami. Probably not this year.

Despite the fact the team is likely headed to a fourth consecutive season out of the playoffs and perhaps a fourth consecutive losing season, I am told there has been zero discussion about replacing general manager Jeff Ireland. And obviously, head coach Joe Philbin isn't on the one-and-done road last traveled by Cam Cameron. He's not going anywhere, either.

So firings in Miami seem at this point unlikely.

Now, this comes with a caveat: The season is not over. All the data is not known with four games to play. And everyone will be ultimately evaluated by owner Stephen Ross once the season is over. So no decision is final at this point.

If the Dolphins collapse the next four Sundays or if quarterback Ryan Tannehill plays so poorly as to suggest drafting him was a major error, then all bets are off.

But the Dolphins are typically an easy team to read on such matters. If someone as high-ranking in the organization as Ireland were on the outs, the signs would be there by now. Last year, for example, it was clear coach Tony Sparano was on his way out only weeks into the regular season.

No such signs this year. Quite the opposite, actually. Last week, for example, Ireland spent the entire week grinding on tape with his scouts and other personnel people as they prepare for the coming Senior Bowl in January, Indianapolis Combine in February, and yes, NFL draft in April.

Ireland's relationship with Ross also remains strong. The men continue to speak almost on a weekly basis and some weeks more often than that. Same with coach Joe Philbin. By contrast, once Sparano fell out of favor with Ross, the two talked only occasionally.

Another reason there isn't a huge likelihood anyone will be fired is Ross is a strong believer in continuity. He is convinced an NFL team needs it to succeed. Ross, you'll remember, stayed with Sparano and Ireland once he took over ownership even though he had no allegiance to either man.

He kept both even after he was already displeased enough with Sparano that he met with Jim Harbaugh, now in San Francisco, when that coach wanted to make the jump to the NFL from Stanford University.

It was only after the Dolphins got off to an 0-7 start in 2011 and his relationship with Sparano rotted that Ross dismissed Sparano. And, it must be said, Ross kept Ireland at that time even though the general manager was very unpopular with the fan base.

Ross kept Ireland even though fans hired banner planes to fly over Sun Life asking for the general manager's firing. He kept Ireland after fans showed up at training camp to protest the general manager's offseason moves.

As someone in the organization told me recently, "Jeff survived that and other uncomfortable moments, what makes you think he'd be fired now?"

It would take an epic, disastrous final four weeks to make is a possibility. Otherwise, all quiet in Miami.