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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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Scott Pioli > Jeff Ireland?

Is that a question?

The only thing anyone can be certain of is the fact that as long as Ross is making the decisions, every decision will be the wrong one.

Keep Philbin and Ireland = wrong.

Bring in a new coach and GM = wrong.

The Dolphins are a pi$$ poor organization.

Ripe with cronyism, nepotism, favoritism and incompetence.

From the team's owner all the way down to its play by play announcer, the incompetent Jimmy Cefalo.

Even Armando Salguero, not employed by the team but associated with the team...he's incompetent.

Yesterday's typo proves that the guy doesn't have enough pride or professionalism to proof read his posts, "Touchdownds ?"

The post was only three paragraphs.

Only ......5 would have been required.

He's a slob.

...and some of you idiots kis$ his a$s lol.

What are the chances that he actually checks his facts ?

He doesn't, and he's your link to the team.

Top notch.

The logo, the uniforms, the ignorant homer fans.

The whole franchise and its associated parties are simply third rate.

I could really care less at this point.

Just enjoy watching the trainwreck.

I do, and 2013 was blissful.

The Dolphins are simply embarrassing to be associated with at this point.

Now you want to bring in People that have been failures or were fired. We need new blood, here.

Posted by: chris | December 31, 2013 at 03:52 PM

No excuse. Its not like he had only a couple of yards to get, he needed forever, in that situation you keep going as longer and hard as you can. Yet another attempt to keep #17 out of trouble.

The reason they don't sneak is that they know how weak he is. Countless times throughout the season #17 didn't go after the 1st down, does he have decision making problem, yes.

With all the quick strike passes that we run, your lucky if #17 goes to his second read 20% of the time, this is another reason we run a very short version of the WOO, its called damage limitation.

I'll take Pioli all day every day. He left the Chiefs stacked with talent, just not a QB. They were also horribly coached. Pioli would be an ideal hire,so I'm sure Ross will hire Tannunbaum instead.

We need an owner that knows football, and not merely a rich guy having rich lunches with his greedy advisors.

Posted by: FIRE ROSS | December 31, 2013 at 04:40 PM

Spoken like a true Jets fan.

Don't make a change for the sake of change - make it an upgrade. Scott Pioli is the only name on the list that's an upgrade. Swap Pioli for Ireland and it's an upgrade!

I wonder what Carl Peterson would tell Ross, regarding Scott Pioli.

Ryan was never told before the game that he was coming back. It was only after they knocked off the lowly dilphins out of the plyoffs was he told.

100 percent false scott. ryan was told before game he would be back

jon pioli was awful gm in kc. king carl left kc stacked. pioli tried to ruin it with horrible picks

In the end, Ross will do his will and we Fans will have to abide by it.

If Ross hires any of these retreads in this article the fins will be in the same position next year, just like they will if they keep any of the existing clowns.

where is Petersen? he's Ross' buddy

Yeah, Pioli's draft picks were pretty miserable in KC. He got Eric Berry. That's about it.


Team still stinks.

Maybe we can draft UCF's QB. He's going to a bowl game.

I want change just for the sake of change. This team sucks from top to bottom

dusty bottoms, Pioli left KC with talent. The issue was coaching. All the reviews prior to this season predicted that the KC Chiefs would be good due to talent that was there. Scott also helped the Patriots. You are incorrect to trash Pioli. How could anyone be worse than Ireland......

I would take Rich Kotite over Ireland, how desperate does that sound


Except mando

Is there any WR out there that can 'blow the top off of the defense'?
If so that is who we need to go out and sign even if it costs $60 mil.

Sounds like we are doomed.


I will explain it to you over the next 8 months. Mando pay attention.

Boy this is familiar territory. People questioning the QB, the head coach, his assistants and the GM.

So 2013 will end like many seasons before, with more questions than answers.

Darned if I know what the answer is but I think giving Ireland his walking papers would rejuvenate the fan base to some degree.

The only thing that I would be careful of is getting a replacement that thinks they have 3-5 year pass. It would have to be someone with a win now attitude.

I am so worried about Jeff Ireland keeping his job that I am literally peeing my pants.

Boy there are some awful names on that list.
Possibly most of all Tannenbaum. Another Parcells-disciple who's tenure was a failure and who's failures virtually mirror Ireland's.

So there are some names there that concern me, but at the end of the day I'll still take virtually anyone else over Ireland.
At least then I can have some hope, even if it turns out to simply be the illusion of hope, it would still be hope coming into this next draft and off-season.
I don't think that is too much to ask.

lol. I don't know why IRA. He has a remarkable record.

Unless ryan knew and the team didn't.

Posted by: Ireland's Republican Army | December 31, 2013 at 05:47 PM


It looks like it's time to take out the Axe, your all done here kid, you and your leader are going to the gulag

The goal is butts in the seats. Miami fans detest Ireland for the most part. Even if he is the best GM in the world, he is costing Ross money, cya.

If you have a vanilla offense, collapsing defense and and most of all the mess is costing me money, cya.

After all it is a business. In this business people pay good money to support winners. This 8-8 stuff really sucks and is costing Ross money and if he can't see that, well cya. Another 5000 fans gone.

But of course after the Martin affair the team really showed that they all love each other and that team hugs instead of tackles and touchdowns are more important.

Light a candle and sing kumbaya. The Jets and Bills just raised their legs and peed all over your red ink, Mr Ross. What ya gonna do about it?

Posted by: Off With His Head | December 31, 2013 at 05:56 PM


OWHH leave my soldiers alone or you will be dealt a serious blow my friend, got a fresh diaper?

I think that this team was a franchise Qb away after the 2011 season from being a contender. That coaching staff led by Todd Bowles HC and Brian Dabol made a career back up in Matt Moore the 12th rated passer in football that season. He was ahead of QBs like Cam Newton, Joe Flaco, and Jay Cutler. Led by Matt Moore the team went 6-3 down the stretch.

On defense the team was ranked # 3 against the run and #7 in total defense. That defense needed some minor tweaking to become dominant.

My point is that the fins started rebuilding after the 2011 season after having a team that was almost ready to compete in the AFC. Ross needed to stay the course. Now the fins find themselves in a worst position today than in 2011. Now Ireland has to rebuild this defense to fit the 4-3 scheme Philbin want. He also now has to find zone blocking offensive linemen after building a power offensive line.

The bottom line the 2011 team is better than the 2013 team. To me that tells me the team has regressed under this coaching staff.

Once upon a time (back in the 50's and 60's), Miami was comprised of (50%) ex New York folks, New jersey-ites, and 50% Crackers from South GA.
New day now. Does ANYONE on this blog really WANT these people from New York, especially with a LOSING franchise like the Jets having the ear of this owner?

Assuming all Armando said is true, this is revolting. Mangini? Aponte as a "GM."
Sort of makes Brian Billick seem positively enticing. At lest the guy won the Super Bpwl, with perhaps the best defense of all time. Meaning, he had a GREAT DC, and recognized it.
The players would HAVE to respect a HC who has been there, done that as THE MAN. Too bad he couldn't coerce Ozzie Newsome, who supplied those players to come over as GM/President of the Dolphins.

Yea Lets dump Tanehill....you know the quarterback that was sacked more times than a England city by the Vikings....yes the real Vikings. The same quarterback that beat New England, San Diego, Cinny and Indy...those teams are in the playoffs. How about just getting a real O-line and a larger fast receiver that can actually catch the football...do you think that would be a good idea? SMH



Are you kidding? They were 0-8 to start the season. We were all screaming suck for luck. They got lucky in a weak schedule at the end.

Sparano was already done. They didn't even consider Nolan for HC and he was a good one.

Don't lay this egg at Tannehills feet. This was coaching and GM all the way to the bank. didn't draft oline, didn't draft a back, refused to use a no 3 overall pick, didn't have any real rookie starters.

C'mon. The last 2 games of the season, win one and we are in and the team didn't even make it close. They laid down like a beat down dawg. We need Ray Lewis to run that defense.

Philbin is not going anywhere at this point. So we are going to have to suck it up and hope that Tannehill develops and that Ireland can bring in some players to compensate for Philbins flawed offensive and defensive philosophies.

Hopefully, he can be pressured into releasing Sherman and Coyle.

Pete. stop it stop it stop it stop. TCHOKE has no long ball has 0000 pocket awareness has 0000 touch on the lite pazzes DO YOU NOT see this?

My personal opinion below:
Nat Moore or jason Taylor -Head of Football Operation.
Nick Caserio (from New England) General Manager.
Josh McDaniels (from New England) Head Coach.
Mike Pettine (from the New York Jet) Defensive Coordinator.
In my opinion this group will bring respect to this organization,and will have the Dolphins in the Super Bowl in the near future.

Posted by: Dolfan-since-1975 | December 31, 2013 at 01:19 PM
Perhaps the most ridiculous posting I've seen in a while. Nat Moore…no experience
McDaniels? Hated by his players, a loser as HC. At least Bellicheat WON some games at Cleveland.
Why would a GM from the Patsies EVER want to come to the Dolphins? Lunacy.
Same with the Jets DC.
Besides, too much drama going after people currently working in your division. Just so distracting.

Cant win with a crap QB.

The DEFENCE is dying out there every game because of TPUKES 3 and OUTS. That is why the Defences RANKINGS have plumetted since TPUTZ has been the QB Eh?

I'm so delightfully cute. I know I'll have many gentlemen callers of every race and creed this evening but definitely NO FATTIES or old prunes for me!

I said wasn't going to talk about what we need or who should draft anymore but apparently I can't help myself.

Obviously o-lineman will be the primary target (you would think) but middle linebacker Chris Borland at Wisconsin has got my attention.

He plays with passion and max effort and has been compared to Zach Thomas. Currently projected as a 2nd rder.

I can't get pass the image of Ellerbe letting Geno Smith go through him and into the endzone.

What about Bilick he won a SB with no QB and a great defense - has stayed in touch with the league via his broadcasting

My Apologies to Dolfan-since-1975. I was a bit harsh personally, my bad for sure.
I'm just so tired of seeing names bandied about that have even less experience than what the Fins already have.
Chud is available as OC, Leslie Frazier as DC. The BEST DC candidate would be recently fired Jim Schwartz, who previously was DC of the Titans. He studied under Gregg Williams, he of Bounty gate fame, but a helluva great DC. As was Schwartz with the Titans.

If you want an assistant GM to replace Ireland, check out teams like the Seahawks, 49'ers, etc, teams on TOP. And out of our division.

The DEFENCE is dying out there every game because of TPUKES 3 and OUTS. That is why the Defences RANKINGS have plumetted since TPUTZ has been the QB Eh?

Posted by: Ape Tamer | December 31, 2013 at 06:11 PM

Excellent posting for a Canadian, eh? Or a bad speller. In the states, it's spelled DEFENSE, with an "S"

In 2008, the Saints had an 8-8 regular season record and the GB Packers went 6-10.
The Saints won a SB the next year and the Packers did so the year afterwards. Neither team fired their Head Coach or found a new QB.

The point being that SB winning coaches and QBs have had losing season before proving themselves.

We can bounce back quickly provided the team is headed in the right direction. Some changes need to be made, just not drastic ones.

Miami will never hire a black HC. They interviewed Mike Tomlin. The word was he was too jive for the team. In other words.....you get it.

In Canada we use the the C. Typical dumb americans can't adJUST LIKE ALWAYS THAT IS WHY THE REST OF THE WORLD hates you Eh?

Cracker, Todd Bowels has the Cards Defence as a wrecking ball out there,remember him Eh?STUPID ROSS Eh?

Dolphins give me diarrhea


The 2011 team got off to a slow start but lost a lot of close games under Sparano. The team did not blossom until the QB change was made. Chad Henne absolutely sucked. Todd Bowles maid the change and the team finished the season 6-2.

I am not blaming Tannehill at all. I am not sure anymore if he is the franchise QB we need but the kid took a beating this year. It is a miracle that he survived the season. He took 58 sacks and had no running game. Bone head Joe Philbin put way too much on this kid's shoulders.

However, I stand by my statement the 2011 team was headed in the right direction and was better than this team. The 2011 team would have beat this 2013 dolphins team. I would take Mike Nolan over Kevin Coyle any day. Brian Dabol is way better than Mike Sherman and I would also take Bowles over Philbin in a heart beat. That defense was light years ahead of this one. That offense was also better with Moore, Bush, Marshall, Hartline, Fasano, and Bess.

Posted by: Soiled Diaper Ireland | December 31, 2013 at 06:22 PM

Perfect example of the degradation of our society. We have students dropping out of high school at record rates, not finishing college at record rates, and content with being a diaper.

Ape Tamer,
Look around mate, you're doing a pretty crappy job

Well I'm off this Yr. we go to my wife's Bro's house to deal with my pain-in-the-arz In-Laws.

Happy trails to 2013 and in with the new already!

Happy New Year....from Germany....

Yes....it's after midnight in Deutschland.....

I tried to tell many of you.....but you refused to listen.....soiled and sullied my name day after day....

Now you demand change....and question the QB I called "meh" from draft day.....

My new year's wish is that Ross makes the right decision.....regardless of what it is....and that you "homers"....learn what a true fan really is....

Her's a hint.....

It's not being the guy who gets his head pi$$ed on...and then believes that it is raining....

It's the guy who believes what he see's (an inaccurate QB).....regardless of narrow wins....or even closer losses....

Happy new year....

GO FINS.....

It's the QB STUPID Eh?
always has been
always will be eH?

what are they waiting for>?!?!?!?

PROST Kris Eh?

Chudzinski for either OC or HC if Philbin gets the ax.

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