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Shotgun weddings are a bad idea

I have reported that if Stephen Ross is moved to fire someone as part of the blame game for the locker room harassment scandal or as a result of a season not meeting expectations, he is more likely to fire general manager Jeff Ireland than head coach Joe Philbin.

Ross said nothing to separate himself from that report when he spoke to the media Monday night and poured the love on thick for Philbin and didn't mention Ireland at all, other than to say the general manager is on one of his two newly appointed committees.

The bottom line?

Barring a significant change in the course for the season and the NFL investigation, it is clear Ross is apt to get rid of Ireland and keep Philbin.

And that is a terrible mistake.

No, I'm not saying firing Ireland is a mistake. I'm saying half measures are a mistake. I'm saying scapegoating is a mistake. I'm saying everyone in the Dolphins football side of the organization is responsible for the current state of affairs and picking one guy here or there to pin it on is a mistake.

I advocate full measures. If you're going to fire, then everyone should go. If you're going to keep folks, then keep everyone.

Why do I say this?

Because I'm tired of the Dolphins being a poorly run, embarrassing act that everyone else in the NFL views as a clinic for getting it wrong the past decade or so.

To me, firing an underperforming GM but keeping an underperforming coach is like identifying a cancer but getting chemo for only part of the tumor. I see it as an incomplete measure. I see it as a set-up for continued failure.

Why?

It is clear, if one studies the NFL, that teams that take these half measures typically fail.

Let's start with the Dolphins themselves.

In January 2000, Jimmy Johnson who served as both coach and GM for the Dolphins retired. But rather than go out and start anew and seek a fresh direction, Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga allowed the man who was leaving to name his successor. Think of that. Don Shula, the winningest coach of all time, was ushered out by Huizenga and not allowed to name a successor. But Johnson was given that privilege and he named a friend to be Miami's next coach and final personnel authority.

And the organization got the Dave Wannstedt error as a result.

Wannstedt quit or was told he'd be fired thus left late in the 2004 season. Nick Saban was hired as coach in January 2005. And he kept Rick Spielman as the general manager.

It was a nightmare for both men.

Spielman left after one season under Saban. It was a mutual parting. (Yeah, right).

Saban hired Randy Mueller as his new GM.

And after one more season Saban left.

And Huizenga kept Mueller and promoted him, giving him final say over personnel. And in return Mueller had to accept the hiring of Cam Cameron. And Cameron was of a coaching stature that he had to accept Mueller.

And the Dolphins went 1-15.

When Bill Parcells was hired he cleaned house. It was painful to Mueller and Cameron, but the Dolphins were going in a new direction and Parcells wanted new people. Hey, you know what, it ultimately didn't work. But I get the approach. I agree with the approach.

When the Parcells-Tony Sparano-Jeff Ireland trio obviously didn't work, I would have expected owner Stephen Ross to start anew.

Of course, he did not.

He kept Ireland and, as a result, multiple high-caliber coaches declined to even consider the Dolphins open coaching job in January 2012. Jon Gruden didn't. Bill Cowher didn't. The Dolphins got to the interview stage with Jeff Fisher but he wanted to bring his own personnel people and Ross wanted to retain Ireland.

So Fisher went to St. Louis.

So Ross had to resort (yes, resort) to interviewing coaches who did not have the prominence, history or cache to be able to pick their own personnel people. So Ross hired Joe Philbin.

And now that things are going poorly (again) the team (again) seems poised to get rid of one part of the leadership that authored the problem but not the other? Is this Groundhog Day?

The Dolphins are not the only team that has had this issue.

Teams such as Green Bay, Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Cleveland, Carolina and the Jets have made changes to one end of the organization but not the other. You know what? It rarely works.

The Packers hired Ted Thompson and relieved Mike Sherman (yes, that Mike Sherman) of his GM duties. Sherman stayed as coach. A year later, Thompson fired Sherman as coach, completing in two years what should have been done in one.

The Bears hired a new GM last year and he was told to keep Lovie Smith. Then after one season, he fired Smith after a 10-6 season.

The Broncos kept GM Brian Xanders when they hired John Elway and Elway hired John Fox. And then Xanders left (was pushed out of) the organization.

The idea of addressing one part of a failing product but not the other is a setup for drama -- even when it succeeds. The New York Jets last year fired GM Mike Tannenbaum but not coach Rex Ryan. The Carolina Panthers similarly replaced their GM but kept coach Ron Rivera.

You know where Ryan and Rivera found themselves at the start of this season before even one game was played? On the hot seat. Under the microscope. All of the attention was about their impending divorce from GMs that had been forced to keep them.

And, yes, both those coaches have done a fine job and rallied their teams. But that has surprised people because it is the exception rather than the rule. And even recently when Jets GM John Idzik was asked if he was now sold on Ryan, he gave some cryptic answer about everyone being evaluated at the end of the season.

Shotgun weddings don't work, folks.

They are usually followed by unhappy times and drama. They typically end in divorce.

Anyone with any sense of Dolphins history would know this because the team has lived it first-hand. Anyone with any knowledge of the NFL has seen it time and again.

And yet, looking off into the next few weeks, that's the direction the Dolphins seem headed.

Again.

Comments

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Ireland had never had full control of an NFL team until 2010 when he was given the reins by Miami's owner, Stephen Ross. Since then, Ireland and Dawn Aponte, the team's executive vice president of football administration, have earned a reputation for taking a hard line.

According to salary-cap expert and former NFL agent Joel Corry, the Dolphins are known as the toughest negotiators on everything from rookie contracts on down.

So when they do half measures it doesn't work...but when they did full measures in 07 it still didn't work...what's the point of this article again???

Armando,

What do you know thatyou are not telling us?

FYI, the jets run better than we do, that's it. Their qb turns over the ball more than our and produces a lot fewer yards and tds per game. He is also less accurate. They also score fewer points per game.

Their defense is better, hands down.

The general practice in the NFL is to keep re-signing your core, high-character players to maintain continuity in the locker room. But this off-season, the Dolphins took a different approach. To help speed the transition to the passing scheme and zone-blocking system favored by their second-year coach, Joe Philbin, Ireland let go three of the team's widely acknowledged leaders—running back Reggie Bush, offensive tackle Jake Long and linebacker Karlos Dansby. The money saved was used on high-price free agents who had never played in Miami.

I have been clear since Sunday night that I side with All or Nothing vs. One or the Other.

That said...all of this speculation is due to the fact Ross DIDN'T directly mention Ireland in his interview aired on Sunday night. Pause, stop, digest that...

Ross didn't say anything about Ireland. So, WE (yes myself included) jumped to the conclusion that HAS TO MEAN Ireland is on the hot seat. That MAY be the case.

But what if ROSS just doesn't view this as a GM related issue. Bullying in the locker room is a GM issue or a HC issue? I think much more HC than GM myself.

Maybe, just MAYBE Ross didn't mention Ireland not because he is likely going to fire him but MAYBE he isn't seeing him playing a role in this situation.

One of the consequences of the move is that all four of the players who had been elected to the team's player-leadership council the season before were cut loose—something NFL experts said they can't remember happening before.

The leadership void created an opening for Incognito, who had landed in Miami in 2010 after a few years in St. Louis. By the time 2013 came around, he was one of the team's longer-tenured players. He was elected by teammates to the leadership council.

Former NFL pro scout Daniel Hatman said the major mistake the Dolphins made is that they "mixed and matched" to build a team, a philosophy that, he said, "leads to new faces, guys trying to learn their roles and guys like Richie getting sway."

The "new" Dolphins, these people said, weren't happy about the departures. And one move Ireland made that galled everyone, they said, was his decision to save money by pushing aside the solid veteran Carpenter for the less-expensive Sturgis.

To add to the problem, Ireland didn't cut Carpenter immediately—a move that would have allowed him to start fresh with another team. (Ireland and the coaching staff said at the time that the kickers were in an open competition.) Instead, Carpenter had to show up at training camp knowing he would eventually be released and sent to find another team just before the season began.

According to people familiar with the situation, the team's veteran special-teams players weren't shy about their opposition to the move, which they considered unnecessarily cruel. Their response, these people say, was to ostracize Sturgis. They barely acknowledged his presence.

A common scene through workouts and training camp, they said, was Sturgis kicking alone into a net in the team's practice bubble while Carpenter, punter Brandon Fields and long snapper John Denney kept a distance.

The silent treatment became the talk of camp among the players, these people said. They said Sturgis never complained and never confronted anyone. The situation continued until Carpenter's release in mid-August.

Sturgis and Carpenter declined to comment. Fields said that as the holder for field goals, he spoke with Sturgis at times. He said he isn't sure how many words Carpenter and Sturgis exchanged, if any, and that the situation was tense. "If someone else is brought in to take your job, there will be uneasiness," he said.

Denney said he also spoke with Sturgis professionally and didn't freeze him out, but said there was a distance between Sturgis and the veterans. "We've all been the new guy and you just don't show up and become best friends with the guys you work with."

Sam, there is plenty I take issue with in the snippets you pasted but in all it does make some valid points.

For example, maintaining your own good players. I believe in this entirely. Free agency shoudl be used to augment to your own players and free up draft picks to be used on BPA instead of need. it is not meant to swap out your best players.

Carpenter, now with the Buffalo Bills, has made 90% of his kicks this season, including one with 33 seconds left to beat the Dolphins in October. Sturgis was perfect through his first four games and has made 15 of his 20 attempts as a professional.

Riddick, the former Eagles executive, said players such as Long, Bush and Dansby, whom the Dolphins let go, had displayed "credibility and trustworthiness." All NFL players, he said, "like being around players like that. Young players want to be like them. When you wipe that out you are creating a huge black hole."

I also enjoy the parts about how half measures don't work but you provide mutiple examples of them actually working, so again, what's the point of this article??? I also love how you hear all the talk about stability for a change in this org but a year and a half into a rebuild they should start over again. Yeah, that's genius.
But I have your answer for you. Fire Ireland. Make Phibin overseer of football ops.

Oscar I don't know who is more ignorant, you or Greg Cote. You think pointing out that Wallace runs poor patterns or drops passes is a personnel issue?

That is a coaching issue you loon.

By the way, Wallace is among the many, many players who played great elsewhere but stunk here. I believe that is pure coaching.

If it was personnel it would be a talent issue and the player couldn't succeed anywhere. But they succeed everywhere but here. It is coaching.

Get a clue and a room with Cote.

MIT the article is dead on in the fact that Ireland gutted the locker room of ALL LEADERSIP and created the BLACKHOLE to brew the Martin/Cogs issue.

It created the vacuum for a egg-head like Cogs to become a leader by default.

Like Jason Cole tole me, football people are not rocket scientists. None of them are. Ross is not either. It was not brains that made him a billionaire.

If Tannehill wasn't under throwing very deep throw to a wide open Wallace, Wallace has at least 5td catches by now, and none of are ostracizing Wallace's play.

We're sitting at 6-3 at worst, possibly 7-2. And all is happy at the sea aquarium.

Carpenter cost this team 2 games last year. I believe Sturgis is accountable for 2 this year. Carpenter was spotty on kick offs. Sturgis, I think, has been better.

There is about $2m-$3m per year cap difference between the two.

I don't think this was Ireland's worst move...for sure.

There is NOTHING wrong with FIRING IRELAND NOW and FIRING THE COACHING STAFF at the end of the season. It might put us in a position so we can get a blind side tackle in the draft!

They HAVE to go so giving the fans some hope now will not hurt PROVIDED you follow up with firing the coaching staff later.

Ross, "Fire His Ass..You Can Do It!"

Posted by: Sam I Am | November 14, 2013 at 04:29 PM

Enough of your worthless rants!

Sam I Am = 17-0

Mark we kept, Jones, Hartline, Clemmons, Moore and others. you can't keep everyone especially when they are not being resonable and still be shoppers in free agency.

I forgot Starks too.

Sturgis has been a good draft pick. he confidence got shacked a little when he missed his first field goal. i think it was a 57 yarder against Baltimore.

but he will be fine.

We lost to the:

1. Saints by 21pts
2. Ravens by 3pts
3. Bills by 2pts
4. Pats by 10pts
5. Bucs by 3pts

Take away the Saints and Pats game we can easily be 7-2 right now.

The Ravens, Bills, Bucs losses are a COMBINED 8pts. Remember this each time we replay those Wallace/Tannehill wide open UNDERTHROWS.

We could easily be 7-2 right now had Tannehill/Wallace connects. Even 8-1, had the team not completely fallen apart against the Pats.

Those UNDERTHROWS by Tannehill to Wallace are absolutely HUGE! At least 3 victories HUGE!

Sam, everyone's left palys on the field. That's how you end up 4-5

Samantha....Sam actually did a nice cut and paste job on an article that made some...not all...valid points. It seemed to go to how the locker room looked at some of the moves that were made in regards to the veteran leadership on this team. The vacuum left behind allowed the Incognito mess to fester.

Since the coaching staff obviously doesn't know how to properly use the tremendously talented roster, can we all agree a final record better than 5-11 would be a huge validation of Jeff Ireland's personnel decisions?

Philbin may well be gone with a new GM. I don't think any new guy would want to keep him and why the hell would they.

The Press Conference was a PR job. As the others said Ross isn't going to tell Philbin and the world that he doesn't have his support.

Philbins has players regressing fast. The lose to the worst team in the league was really the last straw for me.

11-14 so far not good enough. He has clearly lost the locker room and in truth don't look like he cares if the Dolphins win or lose.

I can't wait for him to be fired !!!

wally, I would've kept Bush, Smith, and Long. I never waivered on that. I think they could've done without Clemons although he's played well. Those three I thought had uses. Long is a hard guy to replace as we've learned. bush I wanted for his receiving skills although this coachin staff never knew how to use that. And Smith I though was a weapon against big receivers but this coaching staff doesn't believe in playing man coverage although every expert says you can't play zone against the top qbs or they will eat you alive ... I don't know what to say anymore but this regime did add some good players but lost too many good ones in the process too. That's not progress.

Dansby I'm neither here nor there about. Didn't have a huge problem with him but also realize he had an impossible figure to live up to ... that was a business decision I fully understood.

Wallace career numbers before this year ranked 77 of 100 with a 53.9% catch pct. His success was the product of broken plays that Big Ben extended with his legs. Wallace never made the circus catch, never fought for the ball and was never the #1 in Pittsburgh. For some strange reason some on here have this love affair with Wallace. He is Ted Ginn Jr.....only we don't get his daddy too!

Starks as you know, I thought they should've kept money there. I will admit that he's been strong but Odrick has alaos been strong. There we had a replacement in house. At worst thought you could've flipped Starks for Albert although I have no idea if that was even doable but know KC thought they were d line deficient in the last offseason...

Posted by: Philbin Leave Please U Suck | November 14, 2013 at 04:49 PM

Hey buddy good post Im with ya Bro!

MIT, exactly why I've in the past posted Ireland takes one step forward and 2 backwards nearly every season.

i would also love to have Long and Bush here too. Long wanted a big payday but his health became an issue and they clearly did not want Bush back, i don't know why.

THE DOLPHINS ARE A LAUGHINGSTOCK

They are my favorite team.

I don't blame Wallace simply because this issue is 100% on Ireland. Everyone except for Ireland, knew exactly what Wallace was before signing him.

"A 1 TRICK PONY"


Tannehill can not take advantage of the lone 1 trick because he UNDERTHROWS every deep pass when Wallace is wide open.

IRELAND seriously UNDERESTIMATED Tannehill's ability to get the ball deep to our 1 TRICK PONY.

2012 OL was not that good to begin with....we are down 3 starters from last year. What did we expect that the OL would get better with guys signed off the street?
2 of the 3 we lost were pro bowl players. Yet some place all the blame on Tannehill. They claim Tannehill has no arm strength and that is just a lie. The scouting report clearly states his arm is average to above avg.

Look beyond the numbers. Tannehill was overshadowed among last year's preposterous rookie class, but the former Texas A&M wide receiver showed more promise than we usually see from any rookie quarterback in a given year. In baseball, Tannehill would be classified a five-tool player -- he has all the traits you look for.

The arm strength, size and mobility are obvious. But I chose four plays to highlight from the Ryan Tannehill Experience to show some of his less-talked about skills.

Tannehill shows uncommon touch on a pass over the middle on the first play. He has a very strong arm, but a lot of young quarterbacks struggle to throw changeups depending on what's required for the play. Tannehill goes to his second read decisively on the next play and delivers a strike. Progression reads could be the toughest skill for a rookie quarterback to learn, and Tannehill improved throughout the year at it.

Scouting report.

Arms strength has ZERO to do with why Tannehill UNDETHROWS deep to a wide open Wallace. NO ONE has ever posted this.

Its ANTICIPATION, not ARM STRENGTH, that the culprit here. In my opinion, Tannehill needs to throw the ball before Wallace separates from the defender because he should know 99% of NFL cb's are not going to win the FOOT RACE against Wallace.

That's why I believe Tannehill waiting until Wallace separates is why all of his deep throws are coming up short. By this time Wallace has OUTRUN where Tannehill ANTICIPATES where Wallace will be.

Has to be something Tannehill's doing because the deep throw are coming up short EVERY single time. It nothing to do with arm strength. Feels more like Tannehill is throwing the ball a tad late.

With Tannehill under center, Wallace could thrive in the Dolphins offense next season. Tannehill had a 43.1 percent accuracy rate on throws of over 20-yards last season, a number that ranked seventh in the NFL and a number that should allow Tannehill to take advantage of Wallace's speed.

To put Tannehill's accuracy number in perspective, Wallace's quarterback last season, Ben Roethlisberger, had an accuracy rate of only 31.9 percent on throws over 20 yards. Roethlisberger's number ranked 29th in the league.

Tannehill to Wallace under throws? Hey it happens but not as much as Wallace's drops.

Armando, I fully agree 100 percent let them both go, Even though Ross loves Philbin as NFL network said if doesn't the players see this and they really lie down so in order to keep this team trying the rest of the season he has to praise Philbin. Lets see what GM comes in and then decide, if we go 5-11 Ross will have an easy decision to get rid of the coach.

Wallace's game is speed, and in the NFL, speed will always be coveted, even if that comes in the form of a receiver who isn't suited to running a complete route tree. Wallace can take a top off a defense with the best of them, but when it comes to doing work across the middle of the field, you can count Wallace out.
Hard to ANTICIPATE anything with a guy who doesn't run proper routes. His success came in broken plays extended by Big Ben that why his career numbers are soooo bad. 53.9% rec rate and 77 out of 100 WR.

Strengths
Positives: Looks the part. Athletic build with room for additional mass. Rare straight-line speed. Eats up the cushion quickly and can blow by the defender. Smooth acceleration and has a late burst to pull away if being challenged. Can track the ball over his shoulder. Developing into a more reliable route-runner and pass-catcher. Has the foot quickness and balance to be a good route-runner and can sink his hips. Generally uses his hands to make the reception, though he still allows too many into his pads. Has some lateral agility to make defenders miss. Helped himself with a solid week of practice at the Senior Bowl. Negatives: Still a work in progress as a route-runner. Learning to sink his hips and explode out of his cuts, as he has to gather himself too much. Struggles a bit against press coverage. Has to use his hands better to gain a quick release. Lets too many passes into his pads, resulting in some ugly drops. Doesn't consistently show the vision and elusiveness in the open field to truly capitalize on his pure speed. Needs an open lane as a returner to break off a big gain.

The 43% completion stat on passes over 2oyds is far too ambiguous and deceiving. In 2012, the wretched receiving corps, how many passes did Tannehill actually attempt that were 40 or more yds down the field?

This beyond 20yd stats lumps to much together that doesn't give very accurate facts. I doubt if more than 5 passes of more than 40yds were attempted in 2012. He did have the 80yd td to Hartline that was actually caught 40yds down field. That's it.

Anything else were incompletes. The completions 20-25yds pads the stats to 43%.

Mando - again, you are reading WAY TOO MUCH into Ross's comments on Monday. What was he supposed to say? That his coach is terrible and the team isn't playing up to its potential. Anyway, when a GM comes in here - he's going to want to hire his own coach. I know if my butt is on the line, I'd want my own coach. I don't think he'll keep Philbin and fire Ireland. I totally disagree. If Ireland goes, Philbin goes too.

Fan since 71 - you are exactly right. The way this season is going, it looks like a no-brainer that the coch will be fired also. It just has to play out. He's not going to keep Philbin if they go 5-11 or even 7-9 again. The only way Philbin stays is if they go 6-1, at least, down the stretch. What are the chances of that happening?

While he's a big-play machine, his strength comes in getting behind defenses more than breaking plays based on what's in front of him. While Pittsburgh's Week 9 win over the Giants in 2012 was an example of how Wallace's speed can be used in the short field, he simply never looked comfortable playing in a more ball-control offense. He's not particularly strong, doesn't leave his feet for balls in the air and isn't going to be mistaken for one of the toughest receivers in the game. That isn't to say he's a pansy, it's just more like he realizes he weighs about a buck 85 soaking wet, and he wouldn't last long taking savage hits from guys considerably bigger than him.

You're preaching to the choir Mando, we've been talking about this for a few days now. But seeing it in black and white does drive the point home.

We're all trying to read the tea leaves on what Ross will do. If he's smart he'll remember one of the few smart things Parcells said...you are what your record says you are.

I do not knock Wallace for the drops and not being a complete wr. Thats what he was before coming to Miami and that's what he is now.

The blame fore this goes squarely on Jeff Ireland. He's the dolt for signing a wr to a 60 million contract that has only proved to be a 1 trick pony in the past.

Why criticize Wallace for this? It isn't like its something that began as soon as he arrived in Miami. Making matters worse is Tannehill doesn't seem capable of capitalizing on the 1 THING Wallace has always did well.

The Guy that signed Wallace is at fault. This proves Ireland doesn't know personnel very well, including his own(Tannehill underthrowing Wallace deep).

Stephen Ross, worst sports owner ever?

Well I guess if the FACTS don't fit your dialogue you can always resort to trying to demean the facts. However if a QB is rated #7 in a category and EVERY other QB is rated the same EXACT way, using the same EXACT metrics then I would venture to state, rather succinctly, that the rating is fair. The fact remains that Tannehill was top ten, #7 in fact, in the NFL in deep passing.

So, dolfans can hate on Wallace all you like, he's here to stay at least 1 MORE season. In 2014 he's due $17 million. This means he's UNTRADEBLE.

In 2014, he COUNTS 23 million in DEAD MONEY. This mean he's uncuttable. Thank Jeff Ireland for this.

Good point at 5:23....the guy should never have been signed as a #1 WR for $60million!

Everybody is trade-able. We need to find a trade partner that has a player that fits our system and Wallace would fit their system. In reality trade a failure for a failure. Another teams failure could be our Gold....you know like Marshall!

Orrrr get a monster WR on the other side of Wallace...this would open up Wallace to face the 2nd CB and maybe less double teams. If Wallace can run down fast with no pressure he may catch a few of those deep passes

The next hc should be? Well his name is mentioned in this blog. Yup, Lovie Smith. They need a defensive minded coach. Say goodbye to failbin, irescum, coyle, and Sherman.

So we're trading Wallace now? I've got an idea. Why don't we try to keep the good players for a change? I know it sounds crazy but let's give it a try.

And here goes a really crazy one...let's get rid of the ones who aren't. Ross might want to try that out too.

Only way you find a team that would give Wallace $17 million in 2014 is in FANTASY LAND. Hell, there are only a handful of teams that will even have $17 million in cap space.

$10 million of a team's available cap space automatically goes to signing their draft pick and keeping a kitty to sign players through the year when players get injured.

Thinking anyone would take Wallace(one trick pony) in trade and pay him $17 million(2014) is totally ludicrous.

Did it ever occur to you bobble heads that it is quite possible a new GM might be interested in keeping Philbin? You know, any one qualified to get the GM job would likely already know a lot of NFL people. They may even be glad Philbin is already on board.

It is possible.

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