Stephen Ross just met with the media for about 25 minutes. The gathering was meant to have the team owner give you his opinion on the state of the Dolphins.
"I feel we're on the right track," Ross said. "We're moving in the right direction. I feel good about it, really, more so today than I have in the past."
Chief among the people Ross is most pleased with is rookie coach Joe Philbin.
"I was really impressed with coach Philbin," he said. "I think we can safely say, I heard it from so many people, and more importantly I feel it, we have a really solid head coach here -- a guy that I think will be here a long time and a guy I hope will bring us those victories everyone wants."
Ross has obviously bought in on Philbin. He said later, "we have our coach," but on the subject of quarterback Ryan Tannehill he's more discerning. He said in the same breath, "I think we have our quarterback."
"The good outweighed a lot of the bad here," he said. "We have a coach that will be here and we have the makings of a quarterback that will be here a long time that has a lot of great potential. When you look at it from that standpoint, there's a lot to be positive. Certainly, I look at it from that standpoint today."
I asked Ross if he could tell fans, you, that after four losing seasons the Dolphins will do everything they can to win in 2013, starting with an aggressive offseason.
"First of all when I bought the team and I told everybody, all the resources we have, that I have, I want to build a winning team. That goes first," Ross said. "I think Jeff and the whole organization knows that. This isn't one of those organizations that just slaps it together to keep it together just for the sake of doing that. I'm willing to spend whatever it takes to build it. I think sometimes people look at spending as a way of winning. In business, it isn't money that solves problems, it's brains that solve problems. But certainly all my resources are there. If the right players are there, I don't care what it costs, we'll go after them."
I like that. But later Ross said he believes in building through the draft and then kind of dumped on free agency.
"As the coach stated, you want to build through the draft. You certainly want to see what's out there in free agency and you want to get the right player that will fit in the locker room and will bring the right kind of ingredients and is still hungry and isn't signing for the big contract. Free agency certainly isn't the answer. We've all seen that. You can talk more about the failures of free agency more than you can about the successes. And everybody gets all excited when you sign a player, my God we're going to win, but I can't think of a player you can say that really happened with. You know your players better than anybody else. And you know who you want to sign and keep as part of that. And often times there's a reason a guy is out there as a free agent."
Hmm. I can think of free agents that have helped. Drew Brees in New Orleans, Peyton Manning in Denver, Michael Turner in Atlanta, Reggie White and Charles Woodson in Green Bay, Plaxico Burress with the Giants, Wes Welker with New England. Jonathan Joseph in Houston.
Just off the top of my head.
Look, I believe in building through the draft. But I also think the Dolphins have been terrible at using free agency the past two offseasons. They've gotten basically no help. And that's not good.
General manager Jeff Ireland attended the gathering and frankly, several reporters seemed to not want to ask the question you want asked: Why is Ireland the GM? So there was this question about how certain Ross feels about those atop his organization?
"How in life are you ever certain?" he answered. "You take it one day, you look at it, and you deal with the people. Our people are pretty level, consistent people.That's one thing you can say about our organizaton. I believe they have the talent to deliver day in and day out. But this is a business that's measured like no other business in the world. It's measured in wins and losses. But you want to see the direction we're going and how it's moving. And it's important to have not a volatile situation. And I think the type of people we have are not volatile type people."
Well, enough beating around the bush. I asked Ross to explain to fans why Jeff Ireland is the GM. Ross knew the question was coming. Ireland knew it was coming. Nothing personal.
"I think his football intelligence, his knowlege, his hard work," Ross said. "I think he has the respect of his peers. He's one of the youngest general managers around. I like dealing with youth and enthusiasm. I think he has the knowlege, the desire and is smart and he's committed. And he laid out a plan. We do have a young team. And if we're right on plan, we're going to be there a long time."
Ross confirmed the Dolphins will have a new logo for the 2013 season. He also confirmed what I reported Saturday, which is the logo will be unveiled in April. More news: The new logo is not the one that was leaked a few weeks ago. That is an early-generation version that has since evolved.
"We're looking at it, finalizing it," Ross said. "It's time for an update."
I asked Ross what the plan is for 2013?
Great, but I asked how that is different from last year or the year before. I mean, wasn't winning the plan last year?
"This is really the first time I've really gotten involved. I was handed a situation that, one, I was kind of painted to the wall. If Parcells left that was my fault. If Miami loss that was my fault. And I have a lot of respect for Bill. But I didn't put together that organization. I also felt I should learn a little bit before making any moves. Sometimes making a move for the sake of making a move is sometimes the worst move you can make. So want to sit back and really assess the situation, which I was able to do. So it was good from that standpoint."
I don't know what that means.