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Victory Monday: Ireland safe, locker room well, Philbin good

PITTSBURGH -- I reported in my column that appears in Monday's Miami Herald that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has given Jeff Ireland assurances he is safe in his job as general manager.

It has been long speculated around league circles that Ireland could be something of a scapegoat after this season if the Dolphins didn't reach certain heights -- most likely making the playoffs -- or if the continuing NFL investigation finds some sort of lack of institutional control within the organization that led to Richie Incognito to somehow harass Jonathan Martin.

That speculation was fed the evening of November 11 when Ross spoke in glowing terms about coach Joe Philbin but did not mention Ireland other than to say he would be on one of his committees.

It was as if Ross was supporting his head coach while throwing his GM under the bus.

But I'm told Ross and Ireland have discussed the GM's status and the speculation is not accurate -- at least not right now. Obviously, there are three games remaining in the regular season and the Dolphins are neither in the playoffs nor out of the playoff hunt so no final declarations or assertions of fact can be made on the matter.

But for now, that which is being widely assumed -- that Ireland is a goner after the season -- is not correct.

And you know what?

Right now, keeping Ireland would seem to be the right call. Indeed, keeping the current administration -- personnel dept., coaching staff -- as status quo seems right based on the results the team is getting.

That's not how I felt back when the Dolphins lost to winless Tampa Bay and the NFL investigation was in its infancy. At that point it seemed as if the Dolphins were a mess internally and Ross needed to clean house.

But the team has won three of four games since then, the so-called "Code Red" reported by two South Florida media outlets has been debunked by team sources, and the locker room that was supposedly in disrepair has come together.

Even the offensive line that seemed to be a mess doesn't look so bad now. (The Dolphins averaged 7.5 yards per carry against Pittsbugh).

That all requires credit given to the players and coaches that previously came under earned criticism. Fair is fair. Tyson Clabo was a turnstile to the quarterback early in the season. He's been good the past month. Offensive line coach Jim Turner, offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, and yes, head coach Joe Philbin, made mistakes and were criticized earlier this seaosn.

Lately, they've made corrections, corrected course even as they remained convinced what they've been doing is right, and it has worked. 

This team's course has changed. And that must be noted and accepted as fact now.

Obviously, the season is not over. And if this NFL season has proven anything it's to expect the unexpected. So no one knows whether the Dolphins will continue their current hot streak and perhaps finish the season 10-6. No one knows if the Dolphins might also collapse and finish 7-9.

The point is to draw conclusions on what will happen based on what we know today is unwise. To say the offense or defense is this or that based on what we saw early in the season is unwise.

The wise thing, I believe, is to see what actually happens before we make proclamations about the 2013 Dolphins. Let's see what happens first. Let's watch the next three weeks and judge afterward.



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Sam, then does he trade Chris Long? Robert Quinn? Rotate three DEs? None of these guys are position flexible like Jordan is.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | December 09, 2013 at 02:45 PM

We have to expect bringing in "2 new starting ilb's" same season would have it's ups and down. Simple logic would state so.

I'm willing to be more patient and expect 2014 will be their more dominant year in tandem. Does this make any sense?

@ 2:39 and @ 2:49, post the same thing again... maybe the third time someone will care what you have to say...

if we finish 9-7 I begrudgingly think it's a good idea to give both coach and gm 1 more year. This team has SLOWLY improved, and a new coach will come in and fix things that aren't broken. If so, next year will be playoffs or bust and they better be on the Pats heels for the division. I think the Fins could be most of the playoff teams, give the Pats a good game. I don't see us having the guns to beat Denver this year, but at least we finally have hope in December!

Before the last couple win, I had a toe in the water of confidence in Tannehill. Yesterday I sank my entire foot.
For me, yesterday Tannehill graduated from "potential bust" to potential franchise qb". Hopefully, in couple more seasons I can be in "way over my head".

That will signify he truly has arrived(Elite).

Nemo brought up some good stats and I have a question. What are we going to do with Ellerbe and Wheeler?

It seems to me these guys are constantly in the negative, miss tackles, and can't cover on passing plays with any consistency.

But we have them signed to big contracts. Here's what I do.

I start trying to identify my next middle linebacker. We need a star at that position and to me that makes Ellerbe expendable. Even if we have to take a cap hit to cut him.

Jack Del Rio was replaced by Zach Thomas and Jimmy didn't even blink an eye. I know the money isn't the same but who cares. We can't expect to move forward with mediocre play at MLB. In a 4-3 he is the main man and needs to be solid.

Keuchly was my new Zach Thomas. I wanted them to trade up for him. I like Jordan and think he will be a great player but that was a luxury, and even more obvious now because we can't get him on the field with our d-line being so deep and talented. I can't imagine how the d would be performing with that kid at the center right now. All heart and a tremendous leader. We need a guy like that on defense and I hope they start trying to identify someone like that for our linebacker corp next year.

New Commissioner coming to NYC on Jan 1....so I put I my papers today. Retire Jan 1 at the tender age of 53. New career on the horizon!

Thoughts for next year, I know this year is not over. NFL network is reporting that CK2K will be CUT at seasons end. He is 28 years old. I know he had a bad season this year...but we don't watch all the Titans games so we don't know the reason. He would COST us nothing as far as trade or draft picks. So why not take a flyer on this guy???

Texas @2:53, I agree with that statement.

On the linebackers,

Wheeler and Ellerbee have been a bit disappointing. They'll need to step it up against Vereen next game. Lets give them another year and see if they improve. It's always a good idea to build depth in case the vets don't pan out, get hurt, or need to be cut for cap reasons.


You could party at Skidmore, after eating at Pope's, yeah

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | December 09, 2013 at 02:50 PM

Yes, I did forget about this. Still, it wouldn't completely shock me if Fisher still took Clowney. Chris Long has been very good, not dominant.

Robert Quinn is much scarier to face than Chris Long. Quinn has 13 sacks thus far compared to Chris Long's 6.5 sacks.

Posted by: ExposingTheDelusional | December 09, 2013 at 02:49 PM

Worst post of the day. Absolutely makes no sense because it doesn't speak to my original post in any way. It's as if this person never read my post and then copied a piece from it while commenting on someone else's post.

Must be that guy from Armando's story who commented last night. Truly a stupid idiot.

P78, if someone is going to replace any of our lbs next year it will be either Jordan, Jenkins, or someone they draft this year ... surely not going to be aanother free agent since their hands are tied there. But if it's a draft pick, there's no cost to the team for benching the starters... still going to be the same cap figure. But those guys need to improve a lot becuase nothgin is guaranteed to them after next year.

Mark check this out when you get a chance. Armando wrote a story last night and one of the trolls wanted to comment so badly that he made the mistake of signing in with his facebook account.

Someone pointed this out last night and I think he's on to something. The grammar is a dead give away. You HAVE to see for yourself. Scroll down to the comments section after the story.

CJ2K not CK2K.......Chris Johnson

Posted by: ExposingTheDelusional | December 09, 2013 at 02:49 PM

Cody Wallace has a hand for you to enjoy

Yeah Mark,

It really depends on how talented do people really feel Clowney is. Is he one of those once every 10 year pass rushers? If you really believe that, then I think it makes the decision complicated.

It also depends on the organization's confidence in Bradford and his health. They simply need more play-makers and protection for him. Trading back might allow them to add a little depth while still snagging the right players for their team.

The team can trade Chris Long, I'm sure a lot of teams would like a pass rusher of his ilk. BUt man, look at Bradofrds's cap hits... $17.6 for next year but you can cut him and save $10m is he the guy??

I am sure whoever Fisher drafts, will surely be mediocre and help push Fisher out the door a little sooner

Krillian, tough decision for sure but is there a worng answer? I don't think so. The Rams can go a million ways with this decision and all of them will be beneficial. personally I either add Evans if he tests out as expected or trade down and take two excellent prospects from Cleveland.

I was at the game yesterday it was amazing it propley the best game i saw watching a dolphins game in last 10 years.

P78, are you suggesting this is Daytona?

Which one of you trolls is Michael Scott Whitney from Carolina Whoesale?

Posted by: Just curious | December 08, 2013 at 10:14 PM

HA! He deleted his post after this one was written. It no longer appears on the page but was there last night when I checked.

So which one of you dumb a@@ losers is Michael Scott Whitney? Too funny.

too bad we can't fire the owner for stupidity!!!

Is that you Michael? How's the job at Carolina Wholesales going? Mopped up any interesting floors lately? lol

I will be in Buffalo next week...hate going there but I do every year. The fans there are the worst. I have been in skirmish/fights there every year. Of course they always start it. Its to the point where you really cannot wear your colors at all in Buffalo. Security is non existent. One year I had no trouble the ENTIRE game. We are walking through the parking lot to our rental car and 4 dopey bills fans jumped us. That place is a joke....I have been to almost every football stadium and only Buffalo and Philly act this way.

Pats game is a MUST WIN not only for playoff implications.

It's a must win for immediate UNSEATING the Pats as AFC EAST KINGS implications in 2014.

I would bet the house on it. This can not be another year underneath their Afc broom for us. Not if we have any REAL HOPE to unseat them in 2014.

We need at least beat them at home(J Robbie) to make them "FEEL" the coming pressure. Other than this, we're still the butt of their locker room jokes.

I'm going to facebook him...

Is that you Micahel Scott?

Did anyone notice that the same line official that immediately signaled TOUCHDOWN on Troy's out-of-bounds dive quickly called Hartline out on his catch. I think he might be a Pittsburg fan.

I would not have wanted to play linebacker or safety yesterday. Changing directions quickly was not easy.

I wonder what kind of rating Pittsburg's LB's got from PFT?

After watching yet another game of poor tackling from our LB's we need an ILB from the draft how knows how to shed blocks and wrap his tackles.

R Jones has been horrible this year and a FS will also be high on the list. As many were discussing last night we should keep all the o-line we have at present, bearing in mind RI and JM will most likely be gone.

A rookie LT will be picked as well as a power runner and a QB to challenge Thill of course.

Thill has been playing well the last two games and came through well against the Steelers, but the jury is of course still out on him.

Its way too early to crown the guy. His play has improved and he rightly will be back next year, but he is still a long way from franchise QB material.

Last nights game was a sure step towards becoming the QB we have searched for, for so long.

Bill, I once saw a man crack his woman full in the jaw and dump her in the parking lot then take off in his RV after the phins beat the Bills during Zach's rookie year. Buckley pick sixes Kelly 100 yards...

It's the armpit of north america there ... dispicable place.

They aren't drafting a Qb - not to challenge Tannehill anyway... maybe to replace the third stringer.

@ 3:02 ahhhhhhh, a fellow Capital District brother or did you go to school up here?

What was Chad Johnson doing in that Buffalo parking lot after the Bills game ?


I see your point, but I still think you always go with the guy who you feel has the most talent and can make plays within your scheme first and foremost (esp. in the 1st round) regardless of need. You suffer slightly in the "immediate success with your selections" department, but that philosophy over time will churn out more potential playmakers (provided you've got a good eye for talent). Still remember passing on Patrick Willis (one of the surest players in the NFL draft) b/c of a "current" lack of need. Still smarts b/c we were way too nearsighted. Dion Jordan isn't accomplishing everything he will eventually do RIGHT NOW, but things change quickly. Wake is currently AWESOME, but drafting Jordan was a move for an amazing playmaker to follow him and play elite football for the next 10+ years.

I also think Wheeler and Ellerbe have progressed CONSIDERABLY as they've grown into the system. Ellerbe is playing an almost completely new position and it's taken him time, but he is really starting to get it. Not sure if it's worth the money, but they're both starting to fly around the field now with confidence, and they're starting to make more plays. That's exciting. I only see more improvement with more assuredness in their role and less hesitation.

...Seriously. I don't see any reason to mess with the defense. We have good players. I would concentrate on offense. seriously. Score 35 plus points a game, and this defense would look a lot different. Why do the Saints play so well at home?? Because their offense scores every possession. Their defense can get after the quarterback. They can play 1 dimensional.

The way this system is designed is to play fast. We want to be an offense that is a juggernaught. With all the rules changes, potential rules changes. This team could more then get by with the defense we play right now..Keep improving the offense..

MIT I have seen more women get knocked out or hit at the Ralph than anybody could believe. I saw a young kid wearing a Dolphins cap not older than 12 get clocked by a grown man. I had to step in on that one. Philly is just as bad.....they threw batteries at us a few years back

Everybody Knows,

I don't blame the official for calling Hartline out. How was that catch even possible??? Ridiculous. Watching it in slow-mo I'm still shocked that he actually made the catch and got both feet down.

Mark I don't know which troll it is (I suspect there are at least two of them) but I am suggesting whomever it was is definitely someone that hangs in here 24/7 and comments on our posts (always negative or picking a fight) the moment we show up.

The stupid look on his face, he had a beer in his facebook picture (obvious loser), and he used some big words that were looked up because they were surrounded by the worst grammar ever (spell check doesn't fix some of that so he couldn't hide it).

If you were able to read the post you would agree. It was like "ALoco" bad. Too many similarities in so many troll posts I've read in here. It's one of them.

Right Michael? Where you at, packing some vegetables for wholesale or what? lmao

I agree with Krillian, if there's a guy that jumps off the page, you take him regardless of need and you worry about finding a spot later.

By the way, when Jordan was drafted, nobody knew what Vernon was going to be - he was a bright surprise. You don't eliminate positions off your need because of a 2nd year thrid round pick who played sparingly year one

The ONLY whay the Fins draft a QB next year is if the coaching staff is removed.

THILL is the guy associated with this regime.

They also signed their #2 to a 2 year $4m deal so there is no change needed there.

Bill, Cleveland is also a bad spot. My niece's husband who is a big seahawks fan went to the game as ten year old with his dad and was being cussed out by adults. Really, what kind of man does that or does what you were talking about - I'd get in there too - dreadful people - pure trash.

Krillian, I agree with your assessment. My problem is how did he come up with the other call, It was worse.

Ha, so now we have Michael Scott and Daytona. Love this year, our team is coming together and the abusers are being outed!

Bill we almost had our car flipped on the way out of Rich Stadium one year. They were rocking our car so much they got it up on two wheels. I was actually afraid for my life so I stepped on the gas and drove on the grass as they threw bottles at the car. Buffalo is horrible but Philly is actually worse believe it or not.

In retrospect I shouldn't have told my buddy to hang the Dolphins flag off of the passenger side mirror. Someone ripped it off, he rolled down the window and started screaming and that's when the fun began. It doesn't matter how big you are when a group of 14 just watched their team get crushed and you're an opposing fan making fun of them. hahaha

Ellerbe - moved from 3/4 to 4/3 which is huge difference as a ILB. That is on Philbin, Coyle and Ireland. They knew the scheme was different and they believed he would adjust well. Given the decline in stopping the run I would not suggest he made the progress they were lookng for. I think he has been decent and would not suggest getting rid of him. His biggest issue has been struggling to shed blocks but his coverage has been solid and tackling was good.

Wheeler - was paid a lot more this year and they could have had him previously for much less. He misses far too many tackles and his coverage has been inconsistent.

..The worst place I have been to see a game was easily the LA. Coliseum when the Raiders played there. The Murph in San Diego was brutal(Qualcom now)...Recently though. Qwest field in Seattle has to be the worst as far as fan behavior. I have been there 4 times, once for a footie match. You do not wear opposing teams gear there..Luckily for me I have been a neutral in every contest I have attended there. The old Giants stadium was pretty bad for jet games...Giant fans are much more civil..Probably because they are used to winning. Unlike jet fan..

Mark, Krillian---agreed draft a guy if jumps off the page despite need. Still would like to see better middle linebacker and safety play. We get killed on plays in the seam. Competition for both Clemons and Jones is needed.

Big WR and TE look more like wants than obvious holes.

At this point in the season I am more concerned with our defense than our offense. I see THILL improving. I see them getting enough production out of the offense to score enough points to win. The defense has struggled to consitently stop the run and to stop TE's from being productive.

Carroll has shown improved cover skills and Grimes has been steady. But Clemons and Jones have been spotty.

Krillian I thought they were getting better too before yesterday. Wheeler missed a bunch of tackles and Ellerbe was horrible in coverage. Hopefully it was the snow but we will see.

I would draft a QB every 2 years depsite having a starter. Development project and you never know.

I still think if you have a quality young prospect at QB you draft him. Maybe a guy who has a deep arm and can compete for the job, develop behind Thill if he gets beaten out.

The next three games will have a large impact on where we draft a QB of course. If Thill continues his solid play then we do replace the Devlin with say a 6-7 rounder. If Thills play regresses badly and we lose the next 3 games, (which I don't think we will), then we take a QB higher.

Big WR and Tall TE should and will be priorities in the draft. Along with OL.

Mark this happened last night too. I was reading through the comments and as soon as Michael W. Scott was called out the troll disappeared. And since I have reposted it today there have been no troll sightings. Coincidence? Hmmmmmm

Mark I worked a Cleveland Miami game when I used to freelance for MNF. It turned to Marino's Bday at midnight. Kosar and Dan were going back and forth for the lead then Danny boy pulled it out with 30-40 seconds left. Anyway Im walking off the field with Dan and in old Browns stadium you went in through the baseball dugouts so the fans were close. There were numerous fights in the stands...appeared anybody wearing a Dolphins jersey was game. 2 fans jumped on the field and came after Dan but were tackled by security before they got to him.
On a side note if you ever have the chance to look at that game you can see me and Dan walking foo the field. It was part of the MNF feed as the shows credits were rolling. I have on a Blue MNF jacket.

clee, you sure it's a need or want? I think it's a need. I mean, you saw the damage that Clay and God love him, he has limitations. Tannehill needs nother guy to work teh middle of the field and bigger targets because that is where he is at his best. he also didn't overthrow clay on the long pass. Maybe he only excels throwing to guys 230lbs plus? Next year we unveil the 5 tight end set!

So Buffalo and Philly are the worst places now

Looking to next year...I really wonder what will happen with this defense. Both Solai and Starks have contracts expiring. Grimes is also expiring. I just don't see them being able to pay both DT's and keep them. I think they will back up the truck to keep Grimes (and they should). I think Starks has been more productive this year than Solai.

It will come down, in my mind, to scheme. If Coyle keeps with the 4/3 scheme they will keep Starks. If they go 3/4 they will keep Solai.

Starting DL rotations next year based on different schemes:

4/3 - Wake, Starks, Odrick, Vernon (Jordan rotates DE)
3/4 - Wake, Solai, Odrick (Jordan rotates as OLB)

Marco good point.

If Tannehill continues to improve this season there is no reason to draft a qb in the first 4 rounds.

Marco, that's probably a fair approach.

Like so many others in here the guy I like is David Murray, Georgia

In saying that I still want them to draft a qb who can eventually replace Moore or replace Tannehill if he falters.

There's no reason you can't protect yourself at the most important position on the field. And there's no reason not to give RT some competition, it can only make him better.

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