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Crisis managed: For the Dolphins it's all about football

It's all about football for the Dolphins these days.

As I write in my column in today's Miami Herald, the Dolphins are focused on the New England Patriots and getting to the playoffs and little else. Yes, there is a troubling history with New England the Dolphins must overcome. But that's all about football.

The spectre of scandal and possible firings or suspensions stemming from the NFL investigation that dominated the headlines last month has faded.

The most obvious evidence the investigation has faded was an ESPN report Tuesday afternooon that said NFL investigator Ted Wells canceled his follow-up interviews with the Dolphins. The report also said the investigation may not be completed before the end of the year.

I have other news:

This investigation, completed or not, may not be released until after the Super Bowl.

Think of it, the last thing the NFL wants the final month of the season is the narrative to turn away from football and toward an uncomfortable scandal. It's unfair to the Dolphins, who are in the middle of a playoff hunt, and the league that is enjoying perhaps its most popular time of the year as fans, the media and teams gear up for the postseason.

So do the investigation findings come out now? No.

Well, how about right after the regular-season? Well, if the Dolphins are in the postseason -- which is a possibility if they win out the final three weeks starting with New England on Sunday -- that would pose a major distraction amid playoff preparations. So the findings aren't coming out then.

Indeed, even if the Dolphins are not in the playoffs the last thing the NFL wants is for the national narrative to turn away from the postseason and the league's best teams to focus on something that happened in an isolated incident or series of incidents between two players on a non-playoff qualifier months and months ago.

No, the NFL is going to make sure the integrity of its postseason is not damaged. And the postseason, as we all know, does not end until after the Super Bowl.

And that's when the league would most likely release the investigation's results.

That, of course, leaves some unresolved issues.

So let us resolve them.

I reported last month that Richie Incognito would not play for the Dolphins again once he was placed on suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. That report stands. Incognito's days in Miami are over.

There has been speculation that the Dolphins and Incognito's representatives came to an agreement that would bring the deposed guard back to the team. False. There was an agreement but that was one where the Dolphins agreed to pay Incognito in exchange for him not challenging the suspension via a grievance. Indeed, the agreement actually extended the suspension.

So Incognito basically agreed to sit out and be paid.

It has further been reported Incognito's suspension must end next week. Incognito's suspension will definitively not end next week. His camp will or has already agreed to extend the suspension through the end of the season.

Yes, he will be paid. But the suspension will continue.

The reason this is the course that must be taken is that neither the NFL (which is driving this entire situation) nor the Dolphins want to be placed in a position to make a roster decision or any type of decision on the player before the report's findings are released.

The Dolphins certainly don't want to spend at least one day next week distracted from their preparations for Buffalo because they're explaining why they cut Incognito and accounting for other Incognito-related issues like the resurfacing of questions about his, ahem, golfing escapades. Plus such a move would spark renewed interest in the whole issue and, remember, the NFL doesn't want that.

So Incognito will agree to simply remain suspended. No roster move. No headlines. No controversy. Just ... silence -- like the last few weeks.

Why, you ask, would Incognito agree to such a course?

Didn't Peter King of NBC and SI report at least one playoff-caliber team would take Incognito if he's cut? Wouldn't Incognito want that?

Yeah, whatever. The NFL doesn't want that. And Incognito is going to agree to do what the NFL wants.

Why?

That's simple: It is clear Incognito engaged in some behavior Jonathan Martin perceived as harassment or bullying. Incognito admitted to that voice mail so he's admitted to some harassment. So he is going to be punished for that. Also, bringing unwanted publicity and attention upon his team and the league -- which in of itself is a violaton of the NFL personal conduct policy -- also merits punishment.

So Incognito will agree to remain suspended the final couple of weeks of this season, with pay of course, in return for a guarantee that there will be no further discipline from the NFL beyond this season. He would be free to return to the league next season.

That return, again, would be with another team. He is an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. The Dolphins are not going to re-sign him.

As for Martin, I'm reporting his days with the Dolphins are finished as well. The Miami locker room that was clearly on Incognito's side in this whole affair will not be a suitable place for Martin to make his return. He'll be traded to the highest bidder at some point in the offseason.

Unless I miss my educated guess, that is how this story and scandal that was so explosive for multiple weeks in November will be turned into a much smaller story that captures the headlines for a short time in the offseason.

The NFL knows how to handle a crisis, folks.

Comments

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It's obvious there's nothing to this story. Let's focus on football and the Patriots. I hope as a long time Fins fan we shock the world and kick the Pats a..

why would Martin not want to turn over his texts and not want to speak to his own unions investigator if he truly was harrassed?
Looks bad b on Martin

Pats clinch with a win
No one with any sense could believe. They won't be ready.

Phins lose today...I am correct.

Posted by: FIRE ROSS KILL MARTIN JAIL POUNCEY | December 08, 2013 at 01:04 PM

Smug = Dumb
Feeling of superiority = Dumber
Thinking you know more than everyone means you know nothing.


It is nice to put that behind us and move on and talk just about football, and the O line has been playing better go figure

Speaking of football we have an important game this week I am predicting a Dolphins win not sure of the score yet but I think by double digits, players have to be tired of hearing about Brady and Pats all the time, Plus they were ripped off in N.E. last time it is pay back time go FINS!!!!

When it really counts this franchise will as always fail. I have been watching this team for the past 45 years, we let one of the best QB's and coach of all time go without their dues and this is our payback. Pats 21, Fins-14.

Would love to see Jordan on the field to spell Wheeler as much as possible for the remainder of the season.

Wheeler may be gone at the end of the year, he has really played poorly.

On D R Jones and Clemons have also tackled poorly and show us that we need better play from our safeties, so much so that in the 2014 draft we may look to take a good one early if available.

You helped blow the story out of proportion Armando....

Armando,

So Incognito will not play but get paid. A reasonable solution to end this fiasco created by a discontented Jonathan Martin who wanted to be a left tackle in the National Football League. Martin may be a LT but in an emergency back up situation in the NFL. Look at the job Mckinnie is doing. That's a NFL Left Tackle and he is certainly past his prime. I would think that the Miami Dolphins will not be implicated as an organization that allowed this Martin created fiasco to occur. Without information to corroborate guilt by the Miami Dolphins management they are free of liability and can direct any guilt to Incognito.

When it really counts this franchise will as always fail. I have been watching this team for the past 45 years, we let one of the best QB's and coach of all time go without their dues and this is our payback. Pats 21, Fins-14.

Posted by: david | December 11, 2013 at 07:22 AM
----------------------
David.... So, what you are saying is there is some all powerful gavel pounder of the universe rubbing his/her hands together vigorously while hissing "I'll get those horrible Dolphins fans... You'll see.... They'll ALL PAY!!!"....

And he's doing that because (I am just guessing here)The Dolphins hired Jimmy Johnson in 1996, 17 years ago, to be the head coach of the team..? Now... This "All powerful Gavel Pounder"... doesn't seem to mind that every one of the 32 teams in the NFL have had AT LEAST 2 head coaching changes since 1996...? RIGHT...??? Some have had as many as 8 coaching changes.... Does the "All powerful and mighty Head Coach vengeance God" not care about all of THOSE GUYS..? Was Don Shula a "Head Pope Coach"..???

What about Green Bay replacing Lombardi..? They've won Superbowl's... What about Dallas replacing Tom Landry..?

Com'on maaaaaannnnnn......

And if it is the way Miami treated Shula and Marino... Do you mean by the way they placed statues of both coach and player outside the stadium..? Or by the way they named the roads in and out of the stadium after both coach and QB..? Hell... There is a Major Miami interchange and causeway named after Shula in Dade County... BOTH are in the honor ring, both are in the walk of fame... Both are in the NFL Hall of Fame....

Hows about you explain it.... What... 60 something to nothing against the Jags in 1999 wasn't enough... Marino's neck had a bulge in it... the man was hurt, he was finished... he say's so in his own book... ARE YOU SAYING YOU KNOW MORE THEN HIM...???

And Shula..? In 1995 Shula spent his last season in Miami in a electric wheel chair on the sideline because he had back surgery and hip surgery... He still can't walk... Think it may of been time to move on...??

THINK IT MAY BE TIME FOR YOU TO MOVE ON...???

Your living in the past dude... I'm 48 years old and hold all my memories of those day's dearly... But when it's over... it's over...

Most of the story seems about right. However the Fins will get nothing for Martin as there isn't a team out there that would risk bringing him into their locker room. If Martin was a good player someone would take a chance but why would any team risk bringing him in when he was rated as one the worst right and left tackles in the league? Plus Martin has no interest in playing in the nfl. The reason he quit was because he wasn't cutting it. He and his atty will sue for what they can get from the Fins/league and move on. Of course his atty is going to say Martin wants to return so he can make a case for future earnings.

Glad JMart came forward...team is much better with him and Cogs gone.
I think of it as a new team that's 3-1 and starting to gel.
Forget all those past Dolphin teams that folded in Dec. This is a new team dynamic that's forced them to be a close-knit family.
Thanks Jmart....you did good kid.

Mando, no mention of how well Philbin and staff handled this whole thing? It was a distraction and threw us off for a few weeks, but they got the players back together and focused on football. Even finally put together a line that can kind of block.

Agreed, the NFL has been managing the Incognito-Martin situation from the very beginning. That's a no-brainer. The NFL had entirely too much to lose and could not allow a meandering investigation to open other closets.

While your speculation on the release of T Wells report is fair, I find it difficult to believe that Wells findings could be delayed so long. This was supposed to be an impartial review by an upstanding, unbiased, knowledgeable individual who would release his accounts directly to the public. A long delay would surely bring criticisms and taint Wells' efforts.

Incognito left St Louis in a bad way. Now he has left Miami in an even worse situation. He has been trouble going back to his college days. I truly feel that his career in the NFL is over, brought on by himself. It will take a real desparate team to ever sign him,but in the NFL you never know. Look at PacMan Jones for example,he found work in the NFL,and he is a real low life. But he is just one example of guys that have had second and even third chances in todays NFL. As for Martin,would you want a back stabber like him in your locker room? Worst of all,Martin is a very mediocre player at best. IMO

Posted by: NHFINSFAN | December 11, 2013 at 08:20 AM

NHFINSFAN,
You are absolutely right! Without Martin coming forward, this coaching staff would still be trying to coach up Martin at right tackle all the while saying Sam Brenner or Nate Garner have not earned playing time. As Dolphins fans, we all owe a bit of gratitude to Jonathan "Baby Huey" Martin.

GO DOLPHINS!!!
Dolphins 35
Patriots 34

Ireland shoud be fired for bringing Incognito to the Dolphins. He has been a cancer in every lockeroom he's been in.

lol

ne is comin' down 2 sun bathe
they don't have football on their minds
.
lol

just like the heat,no need 2 turn it on til' 2 minutes 2 go
.
lol

Its all about Brady. He's who beats the Dolphins and other teams who's coaches are clueless on how to stop or curtail him, The blueprint on how to beat Brady is avalable. Go back & watch how the Giants did it and, more recently, last year, how the Ravins did it, in the playoffs in New England! Dolphins have the players on D to execute so the way I see it, the outcome of this game lies in the hand of coach Philbin.

2 watt, so you saying Miami will rip their arse this Sunday?

NE -2

PERFECT! No big loss! Martin is weak and sucks as a LT and Incognito is over rated. Time to move on. Only thing I'm worried now is Ireland staying as GM.

By the way, something should be said of the way Tannehill is closing out this season. On the whole I think his performance is comparable to qbs the ilk of Russell Wilson (by the way, this MVP talk regarding him is absolutely insane), jay Cutler, Cam Newton, and Andrew Luck.

However, his last four games have been outstanding. His pass completions per game, pass attempts per game, completion %, yards per game, touchdowns per game, yards per attempt and turnover % are all well above the league aveerage.

The only Qbs that have been able to do this over the entire season are Manning, Brees, Rivers, and Big Ben. Tannehill is really bringing it to close the season - bringing his game to teh next level. I don't remember any Dolphins team playing their best at the end of the year - when games really count.

Oh yeah, his average QB rating over the last four games is 90.0

Well done man, well done!!

Posted by: 2 watt | December 11, 2013 at 08:58 AM

so atlfin,

Should bellicheck be fired for bringing a murderer into the patriots locker room???

Mark, totally agree with you on Tannehill. The only stat I wish he could improve is his INTs. Other than that, he's been playing very well in December. That bodes well for his future. Also, where's the sophomore slump that dogged Henne, RG3 and lots of other players? I don't see it. I've seen mostly improvement in Tannehill's play. The durability piece is huge too. Whatever happens, I'm happy with Tannehill's progression this season. He's overcome lots of obstacles, none less important than having the worst OL in Dolphins history (and a very shaky run game most of the year). And if he can lead the team to 9-10 wins, that would be a huge feather in his cap.

The future is bright people, we may be on the cusp of something here.

Wow give it up for Armando for beating up on a dead horse.... We have the Patriots coming to town and your focused on this garbage your a sorry excuse for a reporter.

There goes MarK, acting like Cody Wallace on Starks.

Yes, everyone, celebrate your star QB who's mediocre numbers are shockingly MEDIOCRE!

This is like celebrating the "graduation" of Elementary School.

Mando you are obviously burnt out and need a new job to cover. Being in the same role for the last 20 years is too much for anyone. You need growth and change in your life!!! Tell your boys at the Herald to bring me on for the fins and you can go cover politics or religion or something new! Being in the same job for too long is not good for anyone!

you're a good dude though and im just being honest on the last post. No disrespect intended. Even Marino got sorry after 17 seasons. You know what I mean??

DC, his turnover ratio (turnovers per pass attempt) is too high for the entire year (4.5%) - the league aveerage is 4.0%.

However as he's brought everything else along, turnover ratio improvement has also improved drastically. During the last four games it is 2.6%. If he had played at this level the entire year, it would be #6 in the NFL among Qbs who played more than half their team's games.

3 TD's, 1 INT.

1 TD was blown coverage to WIDE OPEN Clay

1 TD was just AMAZING effort by Clay

1 TD was a circus catch by Hartline

It was fun, it was nice to see, but let's not pretend like it was RT carving up a turkey

Marc, I was hoping you would say somethign about my point on Tannehill... tell me, how does playing at the level of the best qbs in the game over the last month = average???

The Dolphins will win out and carry a win streak into the playoffs. DOLPHINS 28 NEW ENGLAND 20!!

If he had a vagina he'd be a woman MarK, but, he doesn't. If he threw more TD's and less INT's he'd be a better QB, really?! That's so insightful!

HAHA. Child please

Ah, shutup marc, really... you always have an excuse for everything ... results are results and he's playing at lofty heights we haven't seen around here in a long, long time.

Armando,speaking of burnt, r u going to c cheech + chong at hard rock?
.
lol

I'd give THILL a solid B this year. Last year was a C or C+.

Likes:

1) He seems to really understand the offense and does a good job with reading defenses and getting his team in the right place.
2) He is mobile and is an accurate passer on the run. Teams have to account for this.
3) He is tough. He takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'.
4)He works to create chemistry with his receivers (Hartline, Clay, Gibson).
5) When he fumbles or throws a pick and 'flushes it' and moves forward. He shakes of adversity.
6) He is drama free, good guy, good teammate, good citizen (unlike Ben and Vick). He doesnt' have to be the center of attention (unlike RG3).

Dislikes:
1) His pocket presence is getting better the past few weeks (throwing the ball away) but he still holds it to long. I'd like to see him scramble more and run for positive yards instead of taking the sack.
2)He is struggling to create chemistry with Wallace (all types of throws not just deep ball). This is his #1 weapon and he needs to find a way to make it work better.
3) His deep balls almost always come up short. I'd rather him over throw than under throw. Less chance for INT's.
4) He throws too many short routes / check downs to the outside and that often causes the INT's. It is becoming predictable and enables CB's to jump the routes.

Looks like this is going the teams way. Its pretty much what I expected. The O-line is a lot better without these 2 anyway.

Yeah, Tannehill's next big step will have to be to cut down a bit on the interceptions. He has done better with that in the last 6 or so games though. He's already in the top half of the league in most other categories, but if he could push towards the top 10 in those it would be huge.

Marc, I get what you are saying, but he has made big strides this year and still has a ton of upside. At least we all aren't debating who we are going to draft at QB any more.

JMartin himself has said that he would like to continue playing Football but probably not in Miami. So that's no speculation.

It's no EXCUSE, it's FACT based on observation. EXCUSES are what you guys have been giving all season. If he had a better line, if guys fought for the ball, if, if, if, if.

He got bailed out by some big plays and mistakes. Great.
They won, great

GREAT QB's, however, are the one's that thread the needle downfield, not one's that throw a screen that goes for 50 Yd's, or a pass to the flat into coverage that miraculously results in a TD.

With that said. CLAY is a bad, bad man.

During the past month

Pass completions - 24.5 (6th)
Attempts - 38.3 (7th)
Yards 311 (3rd)
Comp % 64.1% (10th)
YPC 7.2 (16th)
TDs per game 1.8 (12th)
Turnover % 2.6% (8th)
Rating 90.0 (11th)

To be that consistent along the boards is impressive. Marc may not think so but like I said the only QBs to be that consistent across the baord this whole year are 4 (Manning, Brees, Rivers, Roethlisberger).

NeMo, if he could be top 10 in all categories, he would be elite. The only Qb who is top 10 in all is Drew Brees - a little context here, people.

Hopefully this is the LAST we hear about Jmart & Cogs in 2014.
I hope that guy we poached off SF contributes on special teams this weekend. Its always good to poke someone in the ribs after they snub you (Harbaugh).
Speaking of snubs...to everyone who was angry Jeff Fisher turned down our coaching job...he's way under .500 and struggling.

No Marc, I don't put caveats in my findings. I never mention bad lines, poor running game, dropped passes, etc, etc. Every qb has a story and I only speak in end results.

mark #17 still has a ways 2 go

fiedler = #17

I don't see a lot of teams lining up for the worst OT in football over the last two years. Time for you tog et your wish martin and just go home. You got a chance most fans would die for and you blew it up in grand style. You're not going to be missed. hated you from day 1...

c mark, if he plays decent he's #17
if he suxx
back 2 tputz
.
lol

Mark be careful that's borederline bullying. YOu may receive a supena.

2 watt, Fiedler may have been a better game manager than Tannehill but Fiedler was never as dynamic. I think the best game Fiedler had yardage wise as a phin was the 275 in Dallas on Thanksgiving... Tannehill has topped that many times and his average yards per game is 272 this season.

Tannehill will blow the doors off Fiedler going forward. if this kid keeps it up and keep progressing like his personal makeup suggests he should, he will be something special indeed.

nemo,
whos that scat back u were talkin' bout on ne?
is he gonna eat wheeler 4 lunch?
.
lol

Slam, I've said much worse about that piece of junk going back ... hahaa ... freaking DJ Jazzy Jeff of OTs...

Piggybacking on that though it is sooo obvious jmart was the weak link of the line. Bryant Mckinnie has raised the level of everyones play including clabo.

ha, 2 watt, I guess he earned a promotion in your book.

You just reference STATS. Which, is the end result, but, it doesn't necessarily tell the whole story. As I mentioned, ONE of those TD's was the result of a great pass, of course, it required an ever more spectacular CATCH.

He's cumulatively done an AVERAGE job. 2 3 TD games, with turnovers in each. Big Whoop.

When he has a stat line that shows 300+, 3-4 TD's and ZERO turnovers then I'll give him his due. I wouldn't hold my breath.

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