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Will stadium vote cause the Dolphins to have more urgency this offseason to impress fans, voters?

This morning the Dolphins will make official what the Miami Herald confirmed on Saturday, namely that the team's attempt to secure hotel bed tax dollars and other tax breaks to help finance half of a $400 million upgrade to Sun Life Stadium would be put before the voters of Miami-Dade County in the next few months.

It's a gutsy move by the team. It's also something of a Hail Mary because even though local taxpayers are not generally having to fork over the money themselves, asking voters to  approve any tax increase of any kind (even when it's on tourists) is often not a winning proposition.

And it doesn't help that the county's elected officials did such a horrible job vetting the Marlins and dealing with that rogue organization as they negotiated a deal for the new Marlins Park. Public monies beyond bed taxes were used in that deal because the Marlins were losing money and promised to field a great lineup in exchange for their deal.

Except it was eventually learned the Marlins were making money. And the politicians never got the team to open its books before or after that fact came to light. And after one season of upgrading the roster, the club conducted a fire sale and will field a glorified Triple A team lineup this coming season to save money.

So the Marlins and the politicians that voted on their behalf screwed Miami-Dade.

And the fallout from that bomb threatens the Dolphins in this upcoming vote.

But ...

This vote also offers the Dolphins a grand, awesome opportunity. And, if embraced by the club, it can mend the recent narrow but apparent fissure between the team and its fans.

As you know, Dolphins' fans have not been thrilled with the recent direction of the team. The last four years of 7-9, 7-9, 6-10 and 7-9 were not great, but this break was coming well before that with Nick Saban lying and Bill Parcells splitting and Cam Cameron stinking.

So the love affair has been a little rocky and the historically low attendance last season was proof.

But, as I mentioned, this offseason, this vote, this time in team history is a grand and golden opportunity. Think of it, if the team reaches for greatness and that lights a fire under the fan base to turn out to the polls, we could go to August with:

1. A better team filled with promise and some actual proven stars.

2. A team whose house will be modernized.

3. A team that actually seems exciting to its fans.

4. A team that will remain in South Florida for a long, long time.

5. A team whose fans backed it at the polls.

And all this without winning a game. Indeed, all this without even playing a game.

So how does this happen?

Remember right after the season when I suggested the Dolphins handle this offseason in the fashion the Miami Heat handled the offseason in which they got Dwyane Wade re-signed, and added Chris Bosh, and LeBron James and Mike Miller?

Remember the offseason the Heat went big?

That's what the Dolphins have a chance to do this offseason with $46 million or so in salary cap space and five draft picks in the first three rounds.

And so that is the opportunity. The Dolphins can tilt the offseason, the roster, the fan base and the vote in their direction if they simply have the, um, fortitude to go big this offseason as the Heat did three years ago.

Get a bigtime playmaker or two in free agency. In other words, win in free agency. Then add talent in the draft that doesn't suggest you're going to be the same team you've been for a decade. Get that seam-threatening tight end. Get a promising safety to team with Reshad Jones. Get us some corners that knows how to do this thing recently foreign in Miami, what's it called? Oh yes, intercept the football.

Add a running back if you have to.

Hey, how about checking out the trade market, too. Percy Harvin might be out there. Explore, it! (I'm not ready to push for that move per se. But at least explore. Don't sit in a dark film room studying tape of the right guard from New Mexico, when freaking Percy Harvin is dangling out there.)

Dare to be great. And let your fans know as much.

Now, all this sounds like fanciful sportswriter mumbo jumbo, right? It's just a columnist with a vivid imagination sitting at his computer, eating twinkies and filling space.

Well, it would be that if I was lazy.

I'm not lazy.

I texted several of my Dolphins sources about this very subject Sunday. I asked if the team welcoming a vote would cause greater urgency to do something exciting?

The resulting answers were mixed.

First, the topic has not been discussed internally. Remember, the announcement is today. So there has been no grand strategy session within the organization to see if football operations can be helpful to the business side.

This, by the way, has to fall at the feet of owner Stephen Ross. He knows the business side has agreed to take the issue to the voting booth. He had to approve such a move. So once he got done with that conversation, why didn't he pick up another phone (my understanding is billionaires often have multiple phones) and call the football side and say, "Hey, general manager Jeff Ireland, we're doing this presser on Monday. We've got $200 million on the line here. The vote will likely be in May. I want to hear what you're going to do to help. And, you better help!"

That's the owner's job. He has business interests that represent $200 million dangling on a vote, it should automatically dawn on him to rally every asset within the organization to make sure the team does what most professional sports teams are in business to do: Win.

Win the offseason.

Win the fans over.

Win the vote.

(Peanut gallery speaking: "But, Mando, we want a team that wins during the season, not the offseason.")

Shaddup, ya foofs.

There are no games available to be played now, okay? And to win in the regular season, you have to build a team successfully in the offseason.

Anyway, I call on Ross, the head of the Dolphins organization, to get his business side hand and football side hand to speak to each other -- one hand working with the other -- and come up with a strategy that willl make the entire organization emerge from this victorious.

Is the business side into the idea?

Heck yes. In talking to a couple of people on that side, they completely agree that if football operations makes some significant advances or moves that convince fans the team is clearly going to be better, they are more likely to win the election.

"This would seem to be the time to make a statement," one source texted me.

That same source asked if signing a particular player would get fans fired up. I cannot divulge the name of the player used because my job is not to get sources in trouble for tampering. But suffice to say the player is a looming unrestricted free agent who makes plays.

I told the source it would help. But I believe it will take more than one player to light the excitement flames for Miami fans. Also, and more importantly, it's going to take adding more than one player to make the Dolphins much, much better. That's the beauty of all this. The business side would love signing several talented players because it helps them. The football side should love the idea of adding gobs of talent because it helps them.

Synergy!

So the business side would be pleased if this was the approach.

But, and here comes the newsy part of this post, the football side doesn't seem too excited with the idea at this point. I texted a couple of folks on that side, too.

I asked if the vote would bring greater urgency to get bigger name players.

"Nope," was one response I got.

"Doubtful," was another response. "We make football moves for the longterm well-being of the franchise, not to please fans."

Alrightie, then.

So, the football side is not on board at this time. It is going about things like this is another offseason that brings opportunities to improve. But it is not approaching this like it's make-or-break and $200 million and the long-term viability of the team in South Florida are at stake.

Do I agree with this?

Yes. And no.

I agree that winning rather than pleasing fans should be the goal. Always. But some people act like winning and adding bigtime players are mutually exclusive. BREAKING NEWS: Adding great players is what brings winning.

Also, if you're telling me that despite the need to please fans with a big name addition you would, as a hypothetical example here, refuse to pay Mike Wallace $15 million per year, I agree with you.

But, on the other hand, if you're saying you'd refuse to go to $10 million per year because you want to also add the $4 million per year guard, I'd think you're a certifiable dunce.

Deep threat. Imperative.

Guard. A grunt that isn't going to win you games.

(Peanut gallery speaking: "But Mando, you need good interior players too to win big in the NFL.")

Shaddup, ya twits.

You can't name the four guards that started in the Super Bowl and even if you could, you can't name one occassion when a guard scored in the NFL this season. And teams must score points to win. Also, the Dolphins have guards on the team already.

So where does this all leave us?

We have one side of the organization hoping the other side gets on board while the owner is in the middle having not yet broached the topic with either.

Let's hope this changes. There is still time before free agency. There is still time before the draft. There is still time before the NFL trade period opens. There is still time before the Miami-Dade County vote.

Most importantly, there is still time for the Dolphins to become a synchronized organization with all sides harmonizing toward a common goal. 

 

Comments

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Ross needs to make his own improvements. He has PLENTY of money.

Joe Robbie used his own money. Huizenga made improvements with his own money. So why does Ross beg for handouts and after he has destroyed the team?

There is still time to fire Ireland and get a competent GM before the draft.

I enjoy tailgate parties and hot wieners.. YUM!!!!

love is every thing ........


FOOTBALL TALK IS CRAP.............


LOVE ............

TO BE
OR
NOT
TO
BE..........

Ross did not destroy anything Wayne did you idiots Wayne fired Shula remember that one

You people know nothing

Ross will fix this mess the plan is going perfectly

Football blogging is for morons with no lives. The 8 posters here are sadsacks and they know it. The pompous ones try to convince themselves otherwise.

This place is a farthole for fartfaces.

Ross will fix this mess the plan is going perfectly

Posted by: Marc from nj | February 11, 2013 at 11:06 PM

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Yes, 4 consecutive losing seasons is great!!

Trade the 2ND rnd pick we got for Vontae to Minn for Harvin. One headcase for another, im good with that. Sign Jennings to replace Hartline. Draft the best wr u think will fit your system between C.Patterson or Keenan Allen (my choice would be Allen) at #12. Sign Finley, Bennett, or Keller to rpl fasano (or draft Ertz from Stanford in 2ND or 3Rd rnd (if possible). If u sign tight end that leaves us with a 2ND and 2 3rds to address the corners and sum heat to come from other side of wake. In the 4th I take lattimore from s.carolina to share the load with l.miller for years to come. The two free agents we keep is long and s.smith. u got Allen in case harvin turns on the migranes (aka diva attitude) to fall back on, so ur covered. U got lattimore to fall back on in case miller or Thomas blow a knee. U get a Seam threat TE to work the middle. Weapons galore (time to step up Tanny) and u can upgrade the D with a passrusher, corner (or 2), or a safety. I would be extremely happy with those moves when all is said n done. JEFFY, if we can see it, SO CAN U!!! Go FINS!

..Craig M..From earlier today. My whole point about going for it this offseason is that Ireland has said this was planned. This is his Waterloo. I want to see this plan pan out. Part of this IMO is taking some risks. If this means spending that makes some uncomfortable. I'm all for it. Go make something happen. The way I see it, we either make it happen, or go down swinging. Really how far back can we go? It isn't like the franchise has had much to feel good about the past 15 years.

The worst case scenario is that he fails. The best case scenario is the plan works. I am just afraid that we will be too conservative. This isn't the time for that. Listen, I don't know which moves are the right ones. I certainly have my opinions about which ones I would like. If I had the answers I probably wouldn't be here sharing them on a blog. As critical of Ireland as I have been. I want to see him succeed. IMO he does not have a choice but to be aggresive this offseason. I may be wrong, I may sound a bit impatient. In the end I want what we all want..A team that looks the part of a real contender.

Agreed do we look like a contender with Tanny, miller n lattimore at rb Jennings, harvin, k. Allen (or Patterson whichever coach thinks is best 4 system) and bess, Matthews at wr. With Finley, clay n where at te? Are there not enough options n weapons there? I agree, this is the year to swing for the fences. U got 1 round of ammo left Jeffrey, kill or be killed......

DD, if ya want a team that looks like a contender ya better find another team......lol

I have a strange vision in my head right now that Jeff Ireland will take 5 picks in the top 96 players and it turn it into only 3 picks.

I see him using the #12 pick, using the 2 2nd rd pocks to trade back into the bottom of the 1st rd, then use the 2 3rd rd picks to move back into the bottom of the 2nd rd.

He'll trade the 4th and 5th rd pick to Minnesota for Harvin. 9 picks will suddenly become 5 picks.

He'll resign all of our fa's but Bush. LOL...

Irelnd will not draft 1 wr from this draft class. He isnt taking any of the TE's either. He likes Fasano and gave a glowing endorsement of Egnew last week.

Priority #1 for Us now is not to have T-Hill killed back there. So, we need better pass-blockers, be them linemen or backs or both.

There are no playmakers in this draft after the top 10. Bad luck for the fins they have all these picks in a weak draft. I don't like any of the recievers, not even Allen or Patterson, against NFL competition. They are no Julio Jones or Dez Bryants.

This is a sucker's draft. Trade as many picks as you can for next year.

HoHo! Otto woke up mad.

If I'm right, Philbin's O philosophy is not predicated on having Megatron-type receivers, otherwise we would have kept Marshall. Other kinds.

Philbins philosophy is also not based on Mega-Me players, like Me-Me-Marshall. Let Marshall get his stats elsewhere. He has been on three teams and has yet to help any of them get to the playoffs. Not worth the head case he is.

Since Matt Ryan got SHUT OUT in the second half of a home playoff game, unable to generate a SINGLE point with the best WR corp in the league, nobody is talking Long vs Ryan anymore. Both players were taken a round too soon. Both were the wrong pick.

So that's that.

long is an average LT. ryan is a franchise QB.

Franchise QB's don't get shut out in the second half of the playoffs at home especially with weapons like White, Jones and Gonzalez. If you can't score with them you are useless. Just like Henne he only plays at a decent level for one quarter per game.

Ryan would have been booed out long ago with our generic receivers.

Assuming they're available, Wallace, Byrd and Levitre would be nice additions for Miami...Use our first rounder on Milliner, our first second rounder on Ertz...And since the draft is very deep in DE's, I would use our 2nd second rounder on a pass rushing DE...Re-sign Hartline and Bush...I would like to have Bush and Miller as RBs...Get rid of that stiff Thomas...All the rest can pack their stuff and hit the road...We should have enough money left to sign another corner...Don't spend a dime on garbage Sean Smith...

Unlike most bloggers here, I would re-sign Anthony Fasano...I like him as a number 2 TE...He's just NOT a real number 1...But as a number 2, he fits in just fine...Good blocker and can get involved in the passing game as well...

And no thanks to Percy Harvin...Unless we can get him for a 5th round pick or something...But we all know Minnesota will want more...No way do I give up a second round pick for him...

The silly behavior on here should only be taken as a bad joke. They are such a small percent of the real fan base. Don't let them fool you with their multi name posts.

There are red flags all around Harvin. I don't see Philbin wanting his kind of distractions. Nope we don't need that kind of me first player. The guy is unique talent but we don't have the kind of locker room that can handle these divas.

We have Thigpen, a rookie, who's doing a fine job and is cheap...No thanks to Harvin...

You don't need the Joe Thomass to protect the blind side of a QB. Many Teams do fine in that aspect with good to adequate LTs. From what I saw from J-Mart and expecting improvement in his 2nd season, he'll do fine. Incognito, I saw fukk up several times on pass protection when he shouldn't have as the veteran he is. Besides, he is getting easily frustrated as of late. Pass. Pouncey- no problem at all. Jerry was little heard of last Season good or bad and that's a good sign. Besides, he's huge for Guard. Nate Gardner- need another RT.

Steve Ross, save the Dolphins! SELL THE TEAM!!!

Nate Garner is a FA and has been valued as a multi-positional player along the o-line. I think John Jerry is turning into the o-line swiss army knife and possibly Garner is let go. If Jerry could get his eating habits under control, maybe he becomes a good starter.

only a newspaper man could say you do not need Lineman .ask rogers if he would have like a grunt. only a newspaper man !!!!

Vote no to handouts for billionaires.

John Jerry is a turnstile.

But the Dolphins are living proof that linemen dont matter.

That RT we need has to come in FAency. Can't afford to have RT blasted back there like he was last year waiting for a rookie T to develop.

Hey, YG, you're not and never will be a match for me, either Educationwise, emotionally or intellectually. So, fukk-off.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!!!

Foolish children here.

Phins 78 and Craig M....

All I am saying is show the veteran leader of the team some love. For once since Marino retired...show some class....this hard-line stance that Ireland and Parcells have taken with FA in general...an our own FA in particular is cutting of one's nose to spite one's face....

we do not need to continue to do buisness the same way...and we don't need to do buisness "cause thats the way its always been done"....buisness as usuall has gotten us 4 lowing seasons in a row...and one playoff aperance in 11 years....

Ireland need to be innovative...and he needs to change....and if he/you guys can't see that...then I can't really help you out...

If you want to attract the BEST...then you become a first class organization...you do that by treating you're top notch players like royalty...and you're 53rd man with deep respect....give the mediocre guys something to shoot for....let the top level guys know that if they go somewhere else...they will be missing out...don't just cold shoulder them because you think you got the next big thing on you're bench....the GREAT GMs figure how to mesh ego and talent....again....its about adding talent...not releasing it...and we ALL know Ireland can release some talent....but that is NOT the name of the game...

But Kris, shouldn't that treatment you speak of apply to Jake Long, not reggie Bush? Jake was hand picked to be the leader on this team. #1 overall pick, 5 years with the team, etc, etc. Wasn't Reggie more of a band-aid acquisition because both of Miami's predecessors aged at the same time football wise? I love Reggie, couldn't have asked any more from him - but he wasn't exactly brought here to be the centre piece - it just turned out he's the best of our skill posiiton players.

If Bush is DEAD SET on being an every down back...then he has to go...because it is not in the best interest of the team...

but if Bush just wants to be paid like a top talent in the league (which he is)...and you convince him that you will work with him to get him the ball in space show that he can show case his "special" skill set....

then you stroke his balls...and get him an incentive laden contrat with some guaranteed money up front...and reachable milestones that help the team win...should he succeed....

Bush having 1,000 yards hepls NOBODY....but Bush with 12-14 TD...helps everybody...Bush with with 500 recieving yards helps the team....

Also Kris, in the conversation yesterday, Mark was taking Mando to task for his inference that oline doesn't matter. But in his extremely adequate (and correct) defense of the importance of the oline, Mark also made an inference (which was wrong). He said teams like Baltimore/SF use high drafts picks on the oline. And the inference was Miami does not.

Exhibit A - Jake Long (#1 pick overall 2008)
Exhibit B - Mike Pouncey (1st round pick, 2011)
Exhibit C - Jonathan Martin (2nd round pick, 2012)

Judgment: The Miami Dolphins ALSO use high draft picks on the oline. So using that as an example of differentiating the SB teams from ours is incorrect. Other to say their GMs choose more wisely than ours (though 2 out of those 3 picks are considered to be tops in their position or ProBowlers).

To me, the difference is every other position on the offense. How many 1st-2nd rd WRs did Miami draft in Ireland's tenure? TE's? Heck, I think on last year's team, the highest drafted WR/TE was a guy who never saw the field (Egnew). And people wonder why we can't win 8 games?

New stadiums do draw more fans. See my own comparative league statistics on http://www.pressreleasewriter.info

Unfortunately, there is no place for Jake and his high salary here unless he wants to play RT, which I doubt he would want to. All other positions along the OL are occupied. All interests would be better served if he was to sign elsewhere. Good Luck, Jake Long.

Upon review, it seems that the O-line may not have played as bad as 1st thought in 2012. Not near as bad comparatively as say, the CBs. They had their problems because of injuries, late start in preseason, etc. Could the same group be better in 2013 after getting a first season under their belt?

While much of the running game's lack of success was blamed on the O-Line, a lot of comments about Bush's lack of ability to find creases in the zone blocking scheme suggest Reggie was much of the problem. Miller, in the Buffalo game, had no problem getting good yardage while Bush failed. Miller running behind this line may fare much better than Reggie.

Pass blocking had some glaring failures as Miami lineman were simply run around or over at times. But despite these egregious errors, Tannehill put up some good numbers with a weak WR group. Perhaps, overall, the pass blocking wasn't so bad.

The new offensive schemes can be difficult to learn and very tough on linemen who do not have the appropriate physical requirements. Might fans be too quick to judge this group as bad?

Kris, it's not up to Bush to be an every-down back. It was up to the HC/OC to play to his strengths, which has been as a receiver out of the backfield. Yet they waited until the end of the Season to really utilize him that way. Why?

Another differentiating factor between SB teams and us. THEIR coaches worked to the strengths of THEIR PERSONNEL! If our coaching staff (which I respect and believe have the knowledge to do) can't formulate a system that gets maximum efficiency out of their personnel, then they are just spinning their wheels (IMO).

Mark...

I think its relative....

Long is an EVERY down player...it will be hard to convince him to take a pay cut....he is grinding with the other teams best Pass Rusher and highes paid DL/OLB (usually)fo 70 snaps a game....it will be much harder to convince him to "help" out the team....

but in short Mark...yes...it should apply to Mr. Long as well....

Kris, i agree with you 100% on Bush. I mean i would pay the guy $6m to be our Percy Harvin. A guy that catches 5-6 passes a game and runs the ball 10 times. i think that's how you get the most out of Reggie and also utilize him to his potential. I mean, he showed the league he can be an every down back but like I said before asking him to run between the tackles 20 times a game is like putting a trailer hitch on a corvette.

Yes bill, you are correct. People here make them out to be the worst of the worst, but teams like Green Bay had much worse lines (yet seemed to be able to win more games). I think our oline fell in the middle of the pack (14-16). Not great, not horrible either. Definitely need to improve. But you can't block a defender for 10 sec. If a receiver can't get open, then that's a different problem needing a different solution.

Bush has proven he's an every down back. And Martin has proven he cant handle LT.

DC....

I agree....

on another note....Donavon McNAbb likes Tanne....believes he could have us in the SB in 3-4 years....

DC, I never said Miami doesn't use high picks on the line. I said that if they refuse to pay jake or use a high pick (1st or 2nd) on our o line to replace him then we will be left short handed. I like baltimore and SF's line mentality - 3 high picks on the line - 2 on the OTs and one inside.

Especially when you don't have a top 5 qb, you need to surround him with as much talent as possible and that includes the line.

Sign Jake or one of the other guys that are nearly as talented or use a 1st or 2nd on the OT position please.

However,there IS still a place for Reggie here. The other RB we have behind Lamar here is D. Thomas who nobody trusts can find the hole, not even the Coaches. A good RB in FA will cost a bundle. So?

Oscar makes good points as well...about Bush and Long....

Mark....

I just don't see a scenario under which we have Jake Long back...outside of franchising him...

You guys need to realize that even an every down back needs breathers. Bush can handle the role very well with occassional breaks,

Mark, I believe that's what they are going to do. Long, Levitre, who knows, maybe Denver lets Clady walk and Miami gets him.

But my point is in the 2013 Draft, the 1st/2nd rounds should NOT be spent on the oline. I don't say never get an olineman that high, I say this is the absolute WRONG year for it. And exactly for the reason you cite, to surround Tannehill with as much talent as possible. That means WR, that means TE. Only other positions they should think of drafting that high (this year) is DE and CB/S.

I'm just telling everyone, anything else and the fan base WILL revolt.

DC, they will address WR in free agency. TE is also a relatively cheap position in free agency too (Zach Miller aside). Free Agency could work but it won't be cheap - these horses cost. If they don't get it done in free agency - then they better use one of their first three picks on an OT or this team will go nowhere. You need both an OL and WRs - one without the other is no good as we saw last year.

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