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Names, people to keep in mind in coming days

Most of what goes on around a football team happens behind the scenes. Practices are closed. The locker room is closed except for a few minutes a day. Meetings are private. The draft room is off limits. And, of course, the hiring, firing or retaining of coaches and personnel people is way, way out of bounds.

(Unless the owner has a helicopter and he lands candidates he's interviewing on the field of the team practice facility).

Anyway, all that stuff is behind the iron curtain. But the curtain sometimes has little peepholes and sometimes names get out. And sometimes we learn that what we see in public is only a small fraction of what happened and was considered behind the curtain.

So allow me to share with you names of people that have to be swirling in Stephen Ross's head now that he's going to "look at everything," as he said about evaluating the Dolphins future direction:

1. Eric Mangini: Ross wanted to hire Mangini prior to the 2011 season but changed course when Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano balked at the idea. Ross loves Mangini, currently a Senior Offensive Consultant for the San Francisco 49ers, for reasons I am not clear on. Mangini obviously has experience as a head coach as well as defensive coordinator but Ross would not limit the consideration of Mangini to a coaching job. Mangini wanted to drive his career toward the front office and so if Ross fires Jeff Ireland, this is a possible GM replacement. Indeed, even if Ross retains Ireland, Mangini might be brought in to oversee both the coach and general manager. Ireland is no longer in the position of strength he enjoyed in 2011 so he'd be unable to dissuade Ross this time.

2. Brian Gaine: He is currently the assistant GM and Ireland's right-hand man. He's an up-and-coming talent to the point he interviewed for the New York Jets GM position a year ago. If Ross decides he wants to or must fire Ireland, it is possible he'd promote Gaine to the job overseeing personnel. It's also possible Ross would give Gaine authority over personnel while still answering to someone such as Mangini or Dawn Aponte or Carl Peterson (more on those two in the coming paragraphs). This is an interesting dynamic because Gaine is a loyal and honorable guy. He might be uncomfortable taking Ireland's post after Ireland promoted him. He might not want to be a personnel man answering to people with limited personnel background. Or he might get the thumbs up from Ireland and be an easy fit.

3. Aponte: Do not underestimate her ability to work the system and climb the ladder. She came to the Dolphins as a cap specialist and has ascended to Executive VP of Football Administration. She also bonded with coach Joe Philbin and is one of if not his primary advisor. One of her known goals is to be an NFL general manager. If Ireland is dismissed, she will likely want the job. And although she has zero experience in personnel evaluation, she'll argue she can do the job with the assistance of a savvy talent evaluator at her side -- someone like Gaine. Aponte's name is also being floated around the league office for a possible position there. She worked at the league office for three years. Before that she worked for the Cleveland Browns for a year and the New York Jets for 15 years. She is close with, you guessed it, Mangini -- the former head coach in Cleveland and the Jets.

4. Scott Pioli: He helped build the New England dynasty of the early 2000s. He was the GM of a Kansas City franchise whose downfall was not talent but rather coaching and quarterback play. Pioli would be a strong GM candidate if Ross fires Ireland. Like so many of these other folks, Pioli has New York Jets history. It is where he and Bill Belichick linked up prior to their run in New England. It must be said, Pioli would typically not be a GM candidate unless he can bring his own head coach. That's how he did it in Kansas City. But as GM jobs are scarce now -- only one GM so far has been fired this offseason -- Pioli might be willing to accept working with Joe Philbin for a year before making a decision to retain or jettison him after 2014.

5. Peterson: He has been and remains a friend and advisor to Ross. If Ross decides he wants to go back to the football czar dynamic -- one in which a guy like Peterson oversees the daily workings of the head coach and GM and reports those directly to the owner -- then Peterson would be a candidate. As you know, Ross does not want to fire either Jeff Ireland or Joe Philbin. He didn't plan to fire either Ireland or Philbin as late as a week ago before the season-defining collapse. So maybe the owner's answer to all this is give both Ireland and Philbin a "Make the playoffs in 2014 or bust" ultimatum while King Carl oversees their every move.

6. Mike Tannenbaum: Another person with New York Jets connections. What do you expect from an owner that lives in New York and whose group of advisors include former Jets employees? If Ross doesn't want to promote Aponte to GM she might bolt to the league office if that opportunity pans out. Tannebaum, the former Jets GM, would be a capologist or football executive answer in Miami. This would particularly be the case if Ireland is fired and Mangini comes to town. Tannenbaum and Mangini were a team with the Jets from 2006-2008 until Tannenbaum whacked him after the 2008 season. (That's the NFL, folks).

If you'll notice there are a lot of New York Jets connections here. It probably makes Dolphins fans queasy because it's the Jets and, after all, their Super Bowl drought is longer than Miami's so what makes those folks so smart?

But here's the thing: Ross has multiple Jets people around him now.

L. Jay Cross is the President of Related Hudson Yards and is leading the Related Companies' project on the west side of New York City. Ross is founder and chairman of Related. Cross was president of the New York Jets from 2000-2008.

Matt Higgins was the New York Jets' executive vice president Business Operations from 2004 through early January 2012. He left the team to co-found RSE Ventures, a tech company charged with getting fans closer to sports and entertainment events. The co-founder and chairman of RSE? Stephen Ross.

Higgins was a valued advisor to Jets owner Woody Johnson during his time with the Jets. When Ross came out of the Dolphins locker room on Sunday he was accompanied by, you guessed it, Matt Higgins.


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You know what? I am starting to believe that idiot Fire Ross is correct. With Ross here we will never be relevant. I am a fan for a very long time. I am really questioning whether this team is worth it any longer. I was a fan of a team that had the desire to win and produced a HOF GM, HC, 2 QB and many other HOF players as well as 5 Super Bowl appearances with 2 rings back to back.
This garbage we have had since Shula was "fired" is just a bunch of garbage.....much like the jets organization. That is what we have become we are jets south!
I am f^kkin done. I mean it this time. DONE!

All you sexists who rule out Aponte ought to keep in mind you ALREADY have P**Sies for GM AND HC.

You do know Ross attempted to buy the Jets many years ago and failed, right?

Ross said no stinking screen passes, he said they are boring. So I said ok. That's why he's keeping me, so DEAL with it losers

Another hair-thinning example from that same play. 3rd and forever, and Tannehill has to escape the pocket, and the field opens up in front of him. Picks up the necessary yards...if he would only dive or jump into the pile or take a deflected hit or run 1 more yard then slide. Nope, decides NOT to put his body on the line in a make or break situation.

On the other hand, Geno Smith, playing for absolutely NOTHING, not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES puts his body on the line and goes all out on a run. Did I say he had no chance for a Playoff appearance?

When people say there are things you can't coach, that's one of them. Knowing when to go all out and when to protect yourself. Again, I've seen Tannehill go all out before. Why not in the most important game of his life? Only he knows the answer to that (and maybe he doesn't even know when he sees the tape).

Posted by: DC Dolfan | December 31, 2013 at 01:33 PM
Talking about misdirection....have you ever seen a crossing or deep cross called? I think I saw one (1) crossing route early in the season but never seen deep cross

If any of that is true it's the worst news of the year!

How does Irescum still have a job?

I could care less what a new GM has between their legs. All I are is that they are F^KKIN WINNERS. Not products of a historically dysfunctional organization like the jets. WTF have they won since they tripped over a SB in 1969?? They won 3 Div titles since 1970. This is the team that Ross wants to copy?

I AM REALLY DONE WITH THIS TEAM. They are dead to me.
Happy New Year everybody. I will not be here again.

Da troof you NAMBOOB start here:


Give Cowher or Dungy or Gruden full reign... Or go after an up and comer like MIKE SHULA or possibly Urban Meyer...

I'd prefer the DLine coach than Mangina...

I cant say any of these names thrill me but lets face it, none of us really know much about any of this......BUT, when I see "Jets" and "Cleveland" mentioned multiple times, it makes me queasy....hardly perennial winners--but, to be fair, Philbin came from GB....and the Jets have had more success than we have in recent years (aint saying much)--doesnt sound like a powerhouse group though....but I'll mention again, we brought in Saban and Parcells in recent years and that didnt get us much--I almost like Mando's suggestion here weeks ago of Dungy more than any of these--he's won and is respected by everybody

I think the fins should tap anybody that's a part of a consistent winning organization, like SF, NE, the Seahawks. It's hard to explain why the fins can not be a consistent winner. The dimise started with the tuna and will continue till we rid the Dallas connection

cocoa, how about a crossing route with a pick involved (like the Pats love to do)? And how does EVERY screen pass fail. First off, Tannehill throws it low (to Wallace usually), then the TE (or RB or OL) doesn't get that first block, then a tackle for a loss. I can understand once or maybe even once in a while, but EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. THAT. PLAY. IS. RUN? Yet, in Week 17, you STILL decide to try that same exact play (without switching something up to get a different result)? SO FRUSTRATING!

But to answer your question, no, never saw a deep cross. There were a couple crosses vs. Jets (to Matthews I think, he dropped one for a first down). Great, so the most utilized WCO play FINALLY makes an appearance in Week 17 (way to go Sherman)!

Yes Please! Fire Ireland! First things first!

If those are our options then keep Ireland and Philbin. Magaini was a dictator (emphasis on the first syllable) in Cleveland and got run out of town there as well as with the Jets. He is a two time head coach loser why would anyone want him?? Ross please do not make things worse at least Philbin and Ireland got us to 8-8, Mangini would get us maybe 4 wins with his ground and pound philosophy.

All Tannehill can throw are the dinks and dunks. No accuracy past 10 yds.

its hard to disagree with anyone here saying Ross is out of his league, "needs to sell the team", clueless owner, etc....but that line of thinking, above all others, is beyond pointless--can beg to have Ireland and Philbin fired, and thats fine....but Ross aint going anywhere, like it or not.....might suck, might be depressing, but thats a fact--dude owns the team, no banner flying overhead will change that....if thats a sticking point for you, you really do need to find a new team to root for--for better or worse.

And we wonder why the Jets suck! There only grace is they find a way to beat us when it counts!

Heck, Armando would be a better GM than Ireland.

Bring on pioli and mangini let's get ready to ground n pound baby

Stand pat with the HC and GM,make a change at OC, DC and several position coaches . Draft a LT,RT, a RB that can block and a flipping full back. Win in 2014 or clean house.

Aponte has zero experience in personnel evaluation.

She would be Ross favorates as the fins would be able to slve the equal opertunity employment act by hiring a Women as the new GM.

His thinkng is "who needs experiance" as he kept Jeff and company.

Pioli??? Really?? THAT hire is what I have been saying since the beginning, HIRE him NOW as he IS a proven GM.

With Pioli hiring the GM ofice will finally be filled with just that vs the scout Ireland. Say goodby to Acorns as Jeff is an acorn sniffer not a talent GM evaluator.

Sam....that was my point in some earlier posts.....ie. are we really confident that any new GM or HC is going to be an upgrade over Ireland/Philbin? (again, discussing Tannehill is way down the list for now)

That would make me happy they are both parcels guys they know how to win it start with defense and rushing the ball it's simple


My feeling is that the Dolphins should fire the OC and DC, and run a "make or break" 2014. I'm not thinking that the playoffs would be enough, but an AFC Championship appearance. Offer DC to Leslie Frazier and OC to Rob Chudzinski, and we should be golden.



Our coaches don't know how to win they can't even get out of their own way CLUELESS

I've been telling you guys how pathetic an owner Ross is. Pray for new ownership.

I dont love where this team stands righ now, totally agree.....8-8 and on the edge of the playoffs is very frustrating, but isnt terrible....do any of these names really provide alot of hope?--are they impressive?--upgrades?....dont know for sure....but be careful what you wish for. 8-8 with the playoffs in sight might look good....

This collapse is unacceptable

Thats Curtis Painter and i agree Polian is 71 years old , the game has passed him

Ive got an aching feeling we will get Carl Peterson GM and Eric Mangini HC..... Yes it can get worse

Anyone know what we could get in a trade with Wheeler?
Maybe a fourth round pick?
Then draft a LB who can actually stop the run.
Anyone have any recomendations for our first round pick?
Bpa or draft a need?

DC, wow picks? Now you're talking advanced stuff. Wonder if that's even in the playbook?

Sounds like Ross bought the wrong franchise when he purchased the Dolphins. He still lives in NY and all of his potential hires have connections to the Jets. Didn't this guy make any friends in the Giants organization? At least if he hires someone from the Giants, they have two recent Super Bowl victories on their resume. The Dolphins are going no where with Stephen Ross as the owner. He is the problem. I will pay attention to the Dolphins again when Ross he either sells the team or dies. Let's hope the folks in his will are smart enough to sell the team to someone who knows how to run a sports franchise.

It will take 3-4 years AFTER Irescum is fired to fix his mess.

How bout getting somebody from a front office from a winning organization like the Niners or Seahawks ???

Bozo the Clown would be an upgrade at GM.

I hate this New York stuff. I don't like New York, I'm a Southerner. This owner is Mr. New York.

charlie casserly..scott pioli..any of these 2would be a huge upgrade.

shula....thats a ridiculous, in-denial/head in the sand comment--"pray for new ownership"?--thats your strategy? Sir, changes in ownership dont happen often in the NFL.....teams can be owned by the same person/family for decades--Ross hasnt given any indication he wants to sell the team--you can pray all you want, but whats the point of discussing something so unrealistic? Hey, pray that the Colts trade us Andrew Luck tomorrow at least...but I'm guessing that wont happen either.

Look on the bright side, maybe you'll get lucky and die before next season starts!

I've been thinking since the day I heard Ross bought the team that he is the Manchurian owner, he bought the Phins because in reality he is a Jets fan and just wants to destroy the Miami Dolphins, kind of like how Obama is destroying America.

The team will continue to stink until the fans really boycott and demand much better personnel.

also agree with some others here that guys like Polian and others are just too out of step with today's NFL--no offense but lets be real.....takes a ton of energy, creative thinking, an edge/competitiveness, "something to prove" to really want to swim with the younger dudes these days--we saw it with JJ, Parcells and others....its normal, its understandable....guys lose their fire (or enough fire) at Polian's age--thats not a knock, just the way it is....just like players lose their skills late in their careers

Well, if Ireland and Philbin stay, at least we can look forward to a FA class in which new and expensive LB's will be brought in to make plays. Oh, wait...

Well, at least the draft will result in picking a very part-time player with the first round pick. Maybe a new DE is what will fix the team. Oh, wait...

It all starts in New York you red neck yahoos the home of Vince Lombardi I rest my case

Dawn Aponte as GM! Ever see the movie Any given Sunday, that's what that move brings to mind, a power hungry bitch with no people skills, nobody in their right minds would want to come here.

I agree with Armando, those names he mentioned make me throw up violently except one, Pioli! The KC team is the players he assembled minus Alex Smith and if he had Andy Reid available while he was GM then he'd still be there.

Ross has to clean house, simple as. This FO has presided over the most embarrassing farce ever seen in a football team this year, that alone is grounds for dismissal.
A team takes on the personality of its leader, exactly, this team plays emotionless, they lack heart, in my opinion, the only excuse for the bad play in the last two games was, they wanted to send Ross a message that they are sick of the poor schemes, bad coaching, etc.
I miss seeing Marino in his players faces when they screwed up, I miss seeing Shula or JJ getting fired up on the sideline, there is no emotion or passion to be seen anyway from what I can see and this transfers to the players.

I hate Rex Ryan but I loved the way his players played for him on Sunday, that's what we need. As for names I have no clue, I still feel too numb and empty so I'm throwing these out there, GM - Dungy, Marino, Pioli, Baltimores asst GM

IF I was Ross, I would fire Ireland today!! Throw all kinds of money at Dungy or Marino or whoever grades out the best fit for this team and give them complete authority to keep or fire Philbin, I can't see anyone keeping Philbin to be honest!


Thats what it will take to win. New ownership. Ross is way too clueless and cheap to win.

Remember the civil war

Shannahan? That's a no-brainer just like Andy Reid was

All we need is a well organized gm with the no how to build a winning football team you build from the inside out meaning it starts with the lines

Tannehill needs a strong running game to be successful , then comes the play action and bingo away we go

I hate every option listed.

2. Brian Gaine: He is currently the assistant GM and Ireland's right-hand man. He's an up-and-coming talent to the point he interviewed for the New York Jets GM position a year ago.

If Ross decides he wants to or must fire Ireland, it is possible he'd promote Gaine to the job overseeing personnel. It's also possible Ross would give Gaine authority over personnel while still answering to someone such as Mangini or Dawn Aponte or Carl Peterson (more on those two in the coming paragraphs).

This is an interesting dynamic.

Interesting dynamic? Sounds like WAY to many COOKS in the kitchen to me.

Maybe if Ross opened his wallet he could coax Parcells to come back....

Whatever Ross does, he needs to make a decision fast. Other teams are already getting interviews scheduled with potential coaches.

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