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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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Wow for all of you Bill Polian fans. He just said the most asinine statement you will ever hear. He jus said that Phillip Wheeler had a great year. There is a reason that this guy is not a GM anymore. He is old and senile now.

He benefited from having Peyton Manning on his team. When Peyton got hurt, the team went 2-14. That team had no one on it. He built a garbage team in Indi. That team was all Peyton. Give Ireland Brady or Manning and we would all be saying that he is the greatest GM ever.

id hire jay gruden

I can see Aponte Getting the GM or Czar Job, that would be a Ross move, hire someone without a hint of knowledge or experience in evaluating NFL players, but what a hit in the locker room, kinda remind you of "On any given Sunday" you can find Aponte roaming the locker room looking at Johnsonville, but who would actually be the bully?

Thank you Orlando !!!!!

Soiled, I can't use ELECTRO SHOCK In the Liberal PATHETIC Democracy's like the Us Of A and Canada or I can have them all OBEY every command at a CRACK of A wHIp Eh?

orlando id take a blind mouse over ireland

Oh YEAH. You are Dolphins fans and you are used to the LOSING AS ALWAYS Eh?

orlando id take a blind mouse over ireland
Posted by: dusty bottoms | December 31, 2013 at 06:38 PM

Me Too!

Which MOUSE ? 1 2 OR 3 eH?

man I got diarrhea, I could s*it out a canuck

Give Ireland Brady or Manning and we would all be saying that he is the greatest GM ever.
Posted by: Orlando Dolphan | December 31, 2013 at 06:33 PM

Brady or Manning would never play for an Ireland.

Crack the whip Ape Tamer,

liberalism is a mental disorder Ape tamer, they are window lickers of the highest order

Yeah Mangina was such a great coach in Cleveland and NY. LOL. Pioli sucked in KC.

Matt moore is not the answer but any NON F.N Homer knows he leads the Dolphins to a 9-7 season and at least 1 more week of the NFL Down in SO.Fla Eh,?
Oh,and they pick 21 in lieu of 19 in the 2014 draft, so what Eh?

In the biggest game of the year or any of the past few years Our quarterback slid short when he easily had the first down if he wanted it and our coach stands there the whole game with his mouth agape looking like he had a lobotomy a half hour before the game, every game!! ill take my chances with total change thanks

You clowns full of testosterone don't know didily. Ross and Ireland do not belong in the NFL

Bledsoe = Tchoke Eh?

A TYPICAL Parcells P O S ! Eh?

what are they waiting for>?!?!?!?
Posted by: dusty bottoms | December 31, 2013 at 06:31 PM


In a show of sportsmanship we are patiently waiting for the other teams to make their selections.

12-4 if Matt Moore started.

Why not put some former DOLPHINS in charge?? If this douche loves the Jets so much, go buy a percentage of their team instead. This idiot claims to be a Dolphins fan, but cant let go of the GM that has put this team through embarrassment, and also, constant losing seasons the past 5 years!!! Until Ross makes changes, he will continue to lose money on this franchise. Maybe then he will be wise enough to sell it to someone who knows the game of football and will appreciate the history of this team and bringing them back to glory!!!!

Wallace would take 10 more long ball's for TD'S Eh?
Incentive$ Eh?

Matt Moore throws as many picks and has as many FUMBLES as TCHOKE But throws for at least 7 moore* TD's Eh?
Stupid f'n IDIOTS Eh?

TPUKE, Missed on 9 long balls to Wallace, Moore HITS 7 OF THOSE FACT ! Stupid F'n HOMERS AND FRONT FKN OFFICE Eh?

is ape legally retarded? honest question

dUSTY. suck my big DIK Eh?

Dusty, Jonestown is having a reunion on the Kool-aid tasting WHY DON'T YOU AND ALL OF THE OTHER PATHETIC F'N HOMERS GET FRONT ROW SEATS Eh?

jajajajajajajajajjajajajajaj Eh?

Ape reminds me of an old shriveled prospector with long greasy hair and missing teeth leaning over a horse rail saying "eh, duhh, eh"

Ape is an old shriveled Spanish prospector with greasy hair and missing teeth

So the average intelligence of dolphin bloggers is limited to mama jocks and suck dikk.

Sounds like 7th grade to me.

You are all no better than the team you criticize, if anything much worse.

By Chris Perkins, Staff writer Sun Sentinel

4:12 p.m. EST, December 31, 2013
Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan, the No. 3 pick of the draft, finished the season with 26 tackles and two sacks. Those numbers aren't what anyone expected for someone the Dolphins traded up to get for his defensive services.
It wasn't a good year for the Dolphins' draftees, to say the least. While five of the nine played regularly, only two – Jordan and tight end Dion Sims -- played regularly from scrimmage. The other three were special teams contributors.
Even the star pupil of the draft class, kicker Caleb Sturgis, the fifth-round pick from Florida, struggled down the stretch, missing eight of his final 24 field goal attempts.
the Dolphins' 2013 draft class is off to a bad start.
•Cornerback Jamar Taylor, the second-round pick from Utah State, was inactive for seven games. He finished the season with three tackles.

•Guard Dallas Thomas, a third-round pick from Tennessee, was inactive for nine games. He was never deemed to be an answer on an offensive line full of questions.

•Cornerback Will Davis, a third-round pick from Utah State, was inactive for 10 games.

•Linebacker Jelani Jenkins, a fourth-round pick from Florida, was a special teams mainstay and began playing from scrimmage in third-down situations late in the season. He ended with 17 tackles while playing in all 16 games.

•Sims, a fourth-round pick from Michigan State, played in 15 games. He caught the game-winning touchdown pass in the Dolphins' 27-23 victory over Atlanta and finished with six receptions for 32 yards while being used mostly as a blocker.

•Running back Mike Gillislee, a fifth-round pick from Florida, was inactive for 12 games.

•Safety Don Jones, the seventh-round pick from Arkansas State, was also a special teams mainstay. He ended the season with 10 tackles and two forced fumbles.

The biggest disappointment, without a doubt, was Jordan. The Dolphins moved up nine spots in the first round to acquire Jordan, the 6-foot-6, 260-pound rookie from Oregon.

Jordan started the season slowly after off-season shoulder surgery. Then it was discovered he couldn't defend the run. When reduced to a pass-rushing specialist, Jordan's snaps were reduced.
The 2012 draft class –quarterback Ryan Tannehill (first round), tackle Jonathan Martin (second), defensive end Olivier Vernon (third), tight end Michael Egnew (third), running back Lamar Miller (fourth), linebacker Josh Kaddu (fifth), wide receiver B.J. Cunningham (sixth), defensive tackle Kheeston Randall (seventh) and wide receiver Rishard Matthews (seventh) – made the Dolphins marginally better.

Funny story from Ape's youth

My car breaks down while Ape is with me in the car, so we hitch hike. Some gnarly looking redneck truck driver picks us up in his big rig.
We are all riding along up front for about 10 mins when out of know where the driver smacks the hell out of something in the back. A little monkey runs up front, pulls down his pants and starts sucking away.

The driver says " yeah boys, I got this monkey trained, you give em a real good smack on the head and he will give ya the best BJ you've ever had in your life.

The driver then asked Ape Tamer if he would like to try it out. Ape Tamer's response was " Sure, but please don't hit me so hard"!

Our know-it-all bloggers have names like Ape and Diaper.

I see.

Posted by: Thelonius | December 31, 2013 at 07:22 PM

--- --- --- --- ----

nice try Ape. Can't have it both ways eh?

d hire jay gruden

Posted by: dusty bottoms | December 31, 2013 at 06:33 PM

Dusty, jay gruden couldn't win the big ones in the ARENA LEAGUE, here in Nashville.
What makes you think he's anything more than a decent co-ordinator?
His brother. We ain't talking Harbaughs here.

I hope the Dolphins are talking to Shanahan about the offensive coordinator job.

Here's to the new year, same as the old year...

I will watch the playoffs and pull for the Bengals and Chargers: 2 teams that took care of business when their playoff lives were on the line.

Posted by: Jim | December 31, 2013 at 07:33 PM

I hope the Dolphins are talking to Shanahan about the HC job.

Posted by: Ape Tamer's daddy | December 31, 2013 at 07:25 PM

Jajajajajajajajaj eh?

I wouldn't trust Shanahan for the head coaching job after his stint in Washington...

I know nobody wants to hear it but Miami has a good football team, they beat all the AFC playoff teams they played this year.

If the Dolphins resign their starters they should be a lot better next year.

They have to fix their offensive line first.

Is Johnny Manziel the next Joe Montana?

Thelonius I mean Ape,
eh blaa blaa blaa eh

They definitely need an upgrade for their offensive coordinator. I'm tired of seeing the Dolphins run that high school/college offense.

There's some good coaches that were just fired that can help this team get to the next level.

Just watched the interview of Philbin and his assessment of Sherman. Philbin is looking down to left reading his cue cards from Dawn.

He states Sherman is a great coach and..... well.... erm.... thats it.

Yes Coach, we all agree, thats it.

Happy New Year to all UK Dolphins fans, if you are on here, or have a life and are getting smashed under Big Ben.

In the U.S. there will be a few getting smashed by Big Ben, poor girls.

They really need an upgrade at QB. Tannehill runs the "prevent offense". He's just terrible and worse than terrible in the clutch (4th quarter).

Maybe the team and the bloggers can get together for a mass suicide? I mean, life is so miserable because the fins didn't make the playoffs.

Posted by: Gregg | December 31, 2013 at 07:55 PM
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Totally agree. Hoping new GM, will bring in a guy at can hit more than 12-40 throws over 20 yards. Worst from any starter in the NFL.

They said Pennington had a noodle arm, #17 makes Chad Pennington look like John Elway.

Tannehill also threw for nearly 4,000 yards this year with a back up offensive line.

He's also only in his second year as a pro. I think Aaron Rodgers sat the first four years of his career.

Its no fun being a Fin fan.

FIRELAND! Hire Bill Polian NOW!

Who on this blog thought the Dolphins were going to the Super Bowl at the start of the season?

In New York during Feb...

Winning is a process -

I would be more worried if the Dolphins had a lot of veteran players but when the HC, QB, and Starting RB are all in their 2nd year.

Great insight Mando, and after reading it, I am convinced that I want Ross to sell the Dolphins because he seems to be locked into the Jets way of doing things which makes me wish he would sell the Dolphins and simply purchase the Jets.

I'd give Tanny a try at WR before we let him go.

That Perkins article says it all, & loudly:FIRELAND!

Anyone here still defending the status quo, or sounding afraid of change, is sorely misguided.

The NFL has become more pass friendly than ever. The rules completely favour the QB and the stats reflect that.

You may have heard even Manning state the same after breaking the passing yardage and TD's in a season.

The point that #17 almost made 4000 means very little. There are at least 20 QB's that have achieved that stat at least once and never made the pro bowl, or won a playoff game.

Matt Schaub and Matt Stafford have done it three times each, so what ?

I'm not sure any QB has thrown for that many yards while leading the league in sacks.

You guys mean the younger Shanahan right?

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