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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.


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. 



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Kris, I would agree with you on Long and it's a shame. We should've got a ten year starter at OT when we drafted that guy. The pick looks worse every day.


I'm a big Bush fan....but they guy is to easy to tackle in a crowd...and he doesn't make LBers not want to tackle him in the 4th quarter....

Well, that's on him and not us if he wants to be lead back here. That position is occupied by Miller.

DC, there's an old football saying about teams winning the battle of the trenches...

But I'm also coming around to the idea that the team should prioritize positions other than the O-line, tackle-to-tackle this year. I look for 2 good TEs as a way to improve both the passing and running game. Fasano is a FA; what's left is Clay, Egnew, Mastrud and Miller. Doesn't get my blood pumping. Somebody MAY surprise but I'd like it better if Jeff finds some talent in FA.

..According to PFF. The Dolphins had the 23rd ranked offensive line in the NFL. The unit was 14th rated in pass protection. 26th in run blocking. And 24th in penalties against.

So..14th in pass protection is very good. This includes pressures, and sacks. A much better indicator then just sacks. This alone should be a hint we need some recievers over another freekin lineman. The pass protection was there. Our guys just couldn't get open.

This also sort of sheds a light on where Tannehill can improve. We can't say on 100 percent of the pass plays that ended up as incoplete that it was always on the recievers. Tannehill got better then average protection last year. Time to take advantage of that if this trend continues this year.

Some may question these numbers, and say stats are stats. I watched the games and "I know that the line stunk, and Tannehill was always under pressure" That is up to you. I watched the games too. And in this case(not because it is convenient to my argument) I agree with the advanced statistics.

New Dolphins blog is currently looking for writers. If interested, respond to:
Subject: blog

Tim, given mando's mandatory time off without pay, he may get in touch.

There is still 12 teams out there over the salary cap with a lot of quality players that will be released. IMO the Fins should be able to address WR, CB and any OL problems there. If they do, the draft can be freed up for Safety, TE, Pass rusher and another young WR. Last thing I want to see is any high round picks used on the offensive line.

bobby! Nobody wants to see it but for the good of the team either in free agency or the top part of the draft, investment must be made. I just don't like Mando's o line doesn't score so it doesn't matter mentality. I don't ccare how, but it needs to be addressed and significantly - not with some street free agent - must be a quality guy.

By the way, Cleveland is making noise about paying Mike Wallace big money too. They have a lot of dollars to spend too because they've managed to do the same as us and that is field a young team full of recent draft picks. One advantage we have is that Cleveland plays Pitt twice a year and has the #1 pass defense in the NFL - and a mean bunch too. Wallace may not want to play those guys too much.

If you're a FA would you rather Miami or Cleveland? Miami has a lot to welcome players aboard except the chance to win a Super Bowl in the next 2-3 years.

Also, I agree, OL needs to be addressed and may not be worthy of our first pick but I wouldn't complain if we get a Pouncey-esque player by trading back into the first round. It also matters what happens with Long


Don't forget the SB champion Ravens who are basically a CLONE of the PITT style play....

Cleveland will be in the cellar for the forseable future....

I don't see Bernie Kosar on that roster....

Agree Miami D....

were would I rather lose games @....beautiful Miami....or freezing my balls of Cleveland....

no brainer...unless the money is really that significant to him....in which case....he woudn't have helped all that much any way....

Mark in Toronto, I still believe any O line issues can be addressed in FA. Year after year we have spent high picks on OL. Another high pick on OL would be a problem


The Dolphins have "discreetly targeted" Hartline and Clemons, trying to sign them before free agency starts...

Guess there really is more than just one way to do business when dealing with in-house free agents...you know, as opposed to waiting for the market to be set by other teams as has been suggested.

This doesn't mean anything, but I just spoke to ANOTHER Steelers fan who said he doesn't think they let Wallace walk. Again, how right are we about the Dolphins as fans? So take it with a grain of salt. But I have yet to speak to an actual Steelers fan who thinks Wallace won't be back on the team next year.

...It is ironic how everyone has said the offensive lineman we had on the roster were built to run block, not pass protect. Yet the numbers tell the opposite. I posted the grades of Long, and Martin last week. (you can check them out for yourselves PFF) and the one thing that stood out was how poor Martin was until he moved to LT. He was a complete liability in both run(especially the run) and pass on the right side.

Long was just solid the whole time.(according to the grades) He was good v the run, and above average v the pass. Now people will debate this because we remember the holding penalties, the Colts game where he was abused. But for the most part we tend to remember the bad, and ignore the routine. So when there is a sack or a penalty. It gets magnified..Especially with a guy like Long who we just expect to do everything right.

But back to Martin. He graded out very well at LT. Was it enough games for the team to feel good about him as an emergency plan? We will see .

bobby, significant free agent, high draft pick, I don't see a signficant difference. In essence, with a signifcant free agent, you are more or less admitting your failure to address that spot in your drafting. better to pay your own guys but when your own draft picks can't handle the role, you look to free agency.

Good point Kris and MD20 on playing in Cleveland v Miami. We should hold an edge there. I don't think the Pats would be targeting Wallace since he doesn't play to Brady's strength (not a great deep thrower anymore - got exposed last year by the Ravens).

Agree Signal...

You don't let you're targeted/coveted FA hit the market....

Now I will disagree about who Ireland covets...but I don't disagree with the methodology....locking you're guys up now is a sign of respect....and a step forward imo....n the way buisness SHOULD be done...

Yeah, I know, I know, Bush was promised to be a 3 downs back when he came here. But Miami believes now they have found a better fit 3 downs RB here. So.

If the team resigns Clemmons, it's a good sign they feel comfortable at safety, no? Will the same rationale used with WRs and Hartline?

Besides his huge salary, there are serious concerns about Long's injuries and possible deteriorating physical ability. Sill, I think he will get his $, if not here, somewhere else.

DD, Martin's grades need to be taken with a grain of salt because he played Jax an Buff. Against good teams like NE and SF he was treated like Ike treated Tina.

Personally I never soured on Jake. I'd love to have him back if he'd play at an $8m a year figure which would put him in the top 10 at his position. Anything more and I can't really blame the team give his injuries and other question marks.

Thinking about it, that was a great Draft by Ireland. He got 3 starters out of 4 picks and some starters! The QB, the lead RB and the LT. Wow!

...I think when it comes to Cleveland v Miami it seems like a no brainer. Seriously, besides the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, and Lola(Mike Symons joint) Cleveland is the taint of America. Yup, said it. But look at the situation there. They are real similar to us in that they are a young team, they have a ton of premium picks, ton of cap space, new owner, new regime...

So as much as Miami may be a better more attractive city. Which team is closer to being competitive, and dependant on the free agent, which team is the better fit that can offer the most?

Now everything I have read says the Browns are a copy of what the Phins are trying to accomplish. Owner Haslam said that the orginization would build throught the draft, and not go nutso in free agency this year..Sound familiar. So which team will open it's wallet? Which team sells itself as a team that is dedicated to winning? We will all agree that is the Phins. That is the nature of being a fan, and I would expect nothing less. We will see if the free agents agree.

Sorry guys, just catching up....


I got your post to me from midnight last night. I also agree that Ireland needs to be aggressive this offseason. No question. But I think there's a fine line between being aggressive and being ruthless and making dumb decisions. I advocate taking 'calculated' risks. Percy Harvin for a third is not a calculated risk. It's a dumb move in my opinion. So we have the guy for a year. Then what? Then we either pay him $8-10 mil a year or he moves on. I'm not interested in any moves like this. It's what's plagued this franchise for years.

bill, I wouldn't be convinced about that. Maybe they feel they have more pressing needs at other positions, especially in the DB (probably CB). If they resign Clemons, tells me they plan to make MAJOR changes with the corners.

..Mark in Toronto..That is why I said is his sample size big enough. Does the team feel comfortable about what the film tells them? We won't know until decison time(about Long)..I'm just saying, he played much better at LT then he did RT.. He was serviceable, better then average.. Remember that good players got beat by the Bills on the left side, Jax too. We have to look at the whole. At right tackle he was among the worst in the league.

Kris, no Bush is not a bruiser. He's a playmaker which is far better IMO. He moves the chains and is a handful catching passes out of the backfield. I'd much rather have Bush then a Ronnie Brown type bruiser.

DC, can you explain why signing Clemmons is a signal to you that they'll hit the corner position hard? As I posted the other day, Clemmons played OK, especially in the 2nd half of the season. They need to try and resign him.

D Thomas was supposed to be a bruiser but he cant break a tackle to save his life.


I don't want to be disagreeable but I'm just not sure I understand what you're saying about Reggie Bush. Just to clarify, I'm also a fan. It's between him and Hartline as to who I think should be a priority to resign. I think we're going to find out pretty quick that Miller isn't the guy. But I'm just not getting what it is you want Ireland and the 'Phins to do differently when it comes to Bush. I don't think he's 'must sign', so to me they've handled things properly. You say it's disrespectful, but I'm not sure I understand what you mean by that. They've talked to him, they've told him they're interested but I think the priority (and hopefully you agree) lies elsewhere, specifically with getting a WR and somehow filling the OL. I'm sure they've made that known to Bush. What I don't want is Ireland to run out and resign all our FAs. That doesn't make use better. That puts us right back at 7-9 or 8-8. We BADLY need help in certain areas on the team and to be honest, I don't see Bush as the guy that's going to do that. I like him and I'd like him back but it's a process.


One other point I wanted to bring up. You said Long will have a tough time accepting a pay cut. I don't think he will. There's not a team out there that's going to pay him $11.5 mil a year to be their LT. When it happens you can tell me I'm wrong. I'm a Jake Long fan but he's just not the same guy. I listed yesterday 7 good tackles that might hit FA. If a team waits, I believe they'll get a good LT for $7-8 mil a year. I'm not even sure Long is worth that any more. Reagrdless, if reality hasn't hit this guy yet, it will soon enough.

It's funny that Martin graded out so bad at RT because I thought he was actually pretty good. I mean that's just based on whether he got his QB killed or not - really didn't spend much time watching him but I know one thing - grades aside - he scares the life out of me at LT.

Miller, why do you think Miller isn't the guy?

..Craig M...As far as Harvin goes. I think people are over-valuing him. I see it more as closer to a 5th rounder. He is a good player. He can do somethings in the right offense. Is our offense the right one? I'm not sure after thinking about it. I mean we weren't creative with Bush last year. This doesn't mean that we can't be or won't be. There just isn't any evidience that we would use Harvin to the best of his abilities.

But he wasn't really what I was talking about. My whole point was putting faith in Ireland. We debated this a bit last week. The point where the holes on this team can't all be filled this offseason. I disagreed. I disagee because we have players Irealnd invested in that are supposed to be contributors. If he has done his job, and these players perform to the expectation..The holes sure shrink quick.

Now put faith in him that he will do the right things in free agency. Find secondary players that can create turnovers, find some recievers, or tight end that can get open.. You can fill in the positions you want upgraded. But you get the point. And we haven't even talked about the draft.

Then most important. What happens if Tannehill takes the next step? Is it out of the relm of possibility that he gets much better next year...That alone fills a lot of holes on just the elevated play of the quarterback.

A lot of what ifs. But if you believe in Ireland.(which I never have, I don't know why I have decided to now) If ypu think he has gotten a bad rap, or did a good job drafting last year..The holes everyone talk about are already close to filled.

This doesn't mean anything, but I just spoke to ANOTHER Steelers fan who said he doesn't think they let Wallace walk. Again, how right are we about the Dolphins as fans? So take it with a grain of salt. But I have yet to speak to an actual Steelers fan who thinks Wallace won't be back on the team next year.


Even if the Steelers let Wallace hit FA, I don't believe he's going to a Dolphin. He's going to ask for too much money ($11 Million a year) & I just think that all signs point to Greg Jennings. I just heard Jennings say on NFL32 that he'd like to play for Philbin in Miami. Jennings said he knows the system & thinks Miami would be a good situation for him.

Now Ireland & Dawn Aponte could f#ck that up but he wants to come here.

Oscar, further to last year's draft, they also got who some people see as a first round talent in Vernon that was quite ripe yet. Potential starter at DE, certainly not out of the question anyway.

"Then most important. What happens if Tannehill takes the next step? Is it out of the relm of possibility that he gets much better next year...That alone fills a lot of holes on just the elevated play of the quarterback."


Tannehill will not improve unless the O-line improves, we add WR's (not subtract), we find a TE that can make plays, & our running game is more consistent.

Tannehill made the most of a bad situation. Put Joe Flacco on this team & I can guarantee you that he would have struggled as well.

..Mark in Toronto..Exactly. We forget about Vernon and just assume we need a pass rusher. Lets say Vernon satyed in school. There would be a bunch of us banging the keyboard for his service via the draft this year to help fill the pass rush void. He may be the guy thta is the pass rusher opposite Wake..This is what I mean..Where other people see holes. There could be the players already in place.

I told you you would eat crow, DD, and you got mad at me. You have decided to trust Ireland now because you are beginning to believe he is a good GM.

It's funny that Martin graded out so bad at RT because I thought he was actually pretty good. I mean that's just based on whether he got his QB killed or not - really didn't spend much time watching him but I know one thing - grades aside - he scares the life out of me at LT.

He sucked at RT to start the season & gradually improved. No matter where he plays on the O-line he needs to get stronger, tougher, & more physical. He reminds me of me Vernon Carey in that he's a finesse type player & not a masher.

That's exactly another reason why Long might be out of here. He's not a finesse Player. In a zone-blocking scheme finesse OLmen prime.

..Oscar..I am choosing to believe in Ireland because what other choice do I have? Whether he is a good GM or not reamins to be seen. He says he has a plan. I believe him. I want to see what he does, what this team looks like, and how we compete. If he succeeds. I am more then happy to give him his due. Eat crow.

Id does no good for me or any of us to bash him right now. He isn't going anywhere. Just wasted words. Let him prove it..Then re-visit.

Joe Flacco would have had the Fins in the Super Bowl.

my my,the homers r runnin' amok.

Some of those sacks last year were on RT for not getting rid of the ball. We expect improvement on his part this Year.

bill, exactly. If they resign Clemons, then like you say, they probably thought he improved end of Season, and wouldn't be a liability. But the secondary overall was horrendous, so there's NO WAY they believe they can just bring back everyone there. So if they bring back Clemons, then that tells me they will do major maneuvering with the CBs. Maybe let Smith, the hunchback or Patterson walk, maybe upgrade Carroll. I don't know, but I don't see them not doing some major restructuring of our secondary, and if that doesn't include the Safety position, I have to believe it means the CBs should worry.

I just wonder , dusty, many here wanted Ireland fired If he turns out to be a good GM, as it's looking to be the case, would those many keep on writing here? Reluctantly? Puff, what a mentality!

OK, DC, we're on the same wavelength. There's simply no way I can believe they overlook the DB group this year. If they believe in Clemmons and Jones, then the CBs better start writing resumes.


Exactly bill, if they don't upgrade the secondary this year, someone (GM or DC) should be fired.

Furthermore, if they re-sign Clemons, what does that say about the LBs because as Dashi said, the safeties made way too many tackles on this tea. it can't all be on the corners, LB shuffle to come???

That's exactly another reason why Long might be out of here. He's not a finesse Player. In a zone-blocking scheme finesse OLmen prime.


Personally I prefer more of a smash mouth guy approach to O-line. A zone blocking scheme needs guys who are more athletic but it doesn't mean you can't be physical. LT's Trent Williams of the Redskins & Duane Brown of the Texans are not 'soft' guys.

The problem with Long is that he can't move as well as well as he used to. The injuries have REALLY taken toll on him.


"Furthermore, if they re-sign Clemons, what does that say about the LBs because as Dashi said, the safeties made way too many tackles on this tea. it can't all be on the corners, LB shuffle to come???"


It says that Burnett & Dansby missed too many tackles. The problem was the most glaring with Dansby & I hope that was b/c of the injury. Oddly, Misi was BY FAR the most consistent tackler of our LB's.

Mark, what Dashi said might be true but there were a LOT of passes completed in the secondary which the LBs weren't responsible for and many of the tackles made by the safeties. Plus, both Clemmons and Jones are simply good in run support. This doesn't seem like the year to target LBs but I'd like to see at least some emphasis made on it.

That reminds me... when Philbin was asked *who* he thought might make the most improvement from 2012 to 2013, he said something like Josh Kaddu might surprise... LB JOSH KADDU??!!

Johnny Knox was released today. Sounds like he will have trouble functioning as a human being let alone returning to the field. Too bad, his skill set would've fit in nicely here.

Exactly bill, if they don't upgrade the secondary this year, someone (GM or DC) should be fired.


Fire the DC??? The last good CB we had was Will Allen. Enough of 'passing the buck' already. It's 100% on Ireland that we have no CB's unless you believe that Nolan Carroll & Jimmy Wilson are going to blossom into solid starters this year.

It importamnt get Miller in play nmoi next year he has good skills event hmnu Bush is get old now anb not going be reacll soon.

It importamnt get Miller in play nmoi next year he has good skills event hmnu Bush is get old now anb not going be reacll soon.


Well said. LOL.

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