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Dolphins fire back on idea of structure problems

When Stephen Ross outlined the characteristics he wanted in his next general manager, high on the list was he wanted someone who would collaborate with coach Joe Philbin in helping the franchise move toward better days.

The reason the Dolphins general manager today is Dennis Hickey and neither Nick Caserio nor Lake Dawson is because Hickey met that criteria. And both Caserio and Dawson weren't prepared to keep Philbin as Miami's coach thus did not meet the criteria.

A team source is telling me Caserio, who was highly impressive in his interviews on Friday and Saturday, wanted to become the Dolphins general manager and then start by cleaning house throughout the organization. He wanted to hire a new head coach.

Dawson was willing to keep Philbin for a time -- probably the 2014 season -- but eventually wanted the ability to keep or dismiss Philbin after the season was over.

That was the problem both men had with the Dolphins structure.

And it was a problem because both men were told by owner Stephen Ross he is completely committed to Philbin as the Dolphins head coach this year and beyond. 

The Dolphins are pushing back hard on the idea Miami's GM will have to share power on the roster with Philbin. An NFL source told me earlier today Dawson didn't like the idea that Philbin would have some say -- not full say, but some say -- on the 53-man roster.

The issue, the Dolphins say, came up in practically every single interview including finalist interviews. Each candidate was asked what he would do if he and Philbin disagree on a decision over a player or the 53-man roster.

Some candidates said they would go with the player they want anyway. Some candidates said they would try to convince Philbin to join their opinion but would not take the player if no consensus could be reached. Another candidate said he would move on to another player because he figured Philbin would ultimately not play someone he didn't initially like.

But none of those answers were wrong because, the team repeated to me strongly, the general manager has the final say over the draft, free agency, and the 53-man roster.

Dennis Hickey will have final say over the draft, free agency and the 53-man roster.

The general manager can overrule Philbin on those matters.

The general manager reports only to Ross.

"It's up to Dennis," a club source insisted.

The one thing not up to Hickey will be having a say over Philbin's future. On that, only Ross has that say. And clearly right now he's committed to the head coach.

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