Dolphins owner Stephen Ross laid out his outline or vision for the Dolphins looming general manager search on Thursday evening.
That search will try to identify the best and brightest mind that will help raise the Dolphins from their lingering mediocrity. That's got to be goal No. 1. Everyone agrees.
But goal No. 2 has to be finding a person who will be able to circumnavigate the kind of drama I've laid out for you in my column and this blog this week. He must find a way to make and maintain peace with head coach Joe Philbin and Executive VP Dawn Aponte.
(Jeff Ireland wasn't able to find that peace and look where that got him).
For Ross, who reads everything about his Dolphins and is aware of the well chronicled mess, finding someone who can mesh with DawnJoe is very important.
"Regardless of reporting structure, the relationship between the general manager and coach Philbin must be one of trust, respect, and collaboration," Ross said in his statement Thursday, "and this will be an area we will look closely at during the process."
Good idea. And here's another idea once Ross whittles down to some finalists:
Include DawnJoe in the interview process. If the new GM must mesh with DawnJoe then they should meet during the process so that both sides can vet, inspect, screen, assess, scrutinize, and evaluate the other.
Getting my drift?
The Dolphins have for whatever reasons fostered a circumstance whereby the past GM had clashes with two consecutive coaches -- Tony Sparano and Philbin. The Sparano vs. Ireland issue was Ross's fault, but that does not matter.
This cannot continue to happen.
The Dolphins cannot get it wrong on this issue again. So everyone involved should get to know each other before they get to work with each other.
Interestingly, the Dolphins are already hurting themselves somewhat in that the new GM may not be hired before the new offensive coordinator. Think of that. Yes, it is clear that Philbin has authority over the OC hire as his contract states. The GM has no real say in that hire.
But if you understand that one of the reasons Philbin and Ireland clashed is that Ireland didn't appreciate the work former offensive coordinator Mike Sherman did last year and was openly critical of it, then you understand the Dolphins are somewhat setting up another situation whereby the GM may not hold the OC in the highest regard.
Again, Ross wants people working together and signing kumbaya in harmony. But two of those people are being pulled in from disparate searches by different parties -- Ross and Carl Peterson searching for the GM and DawnJoe searching for the OC.
Shouldn't the new GM, who has no say over the hiring of the OC, at least get the courtesy of knowing him before that important member of the organization comes aboard? Isn't that what "collaboration" is kind of about? Just a thought.
The Dolphins promise to release the names of the GM candidates as they interview. We know some of those names already:
Browns assistant GM Ray Farmer, Tennesse VP of player personnel Lake Dawson, Pittsburgh director of football operations Omar Khan, Arizona VP of player personnel Jason Licht and Falcons director of player personnel Lionel Vital, Giants VP of player evaluation Marc Ross, and internal candidate Brian Gaine, the Dolphins assistant GM.
Notably missing from the confirmed list interviews so far?
Scott Pioli, who made his reputation as New England's personnel chief during their Super Bowl years and was the Chiefs GM until from 2009-2012.
Pioli makes a ton of sense. He is said to think highly of Philbin and is the son-in-law to Bill Parcells. Aponte is a Parcells disciple.
The Dolphins also had not contacted Eagles VP of Player Personnel Tom Gamble as of Thursday evening. That's strange as well as Gamble is at least partly responsible for the talent the San Francisco 49ers and Eagles put on the field. Gamble was a Colts scout under Bill Polian from 1998-04, was with the 49ers from 2005-2012, most recently as the player personnel director, and then joined the Eagles in 2013.
Gamble is said to be a little rough around the edges. To that I say, if he can pick talent, I don't care if the guy has edges of an unsharpened serrated knife. A great evaluator is a great evaluator.