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Dolphins state over the weekend: Limbo


That's where club owner Stephen Ross left the Dolphins when he boarded his helicopter (feel free to give it a name in the comments section) last Thursday evening. That's where the Dolphins were late Sunday night.

No one knows 100 percent what will happen next.

No one believes they are 100 percent certain of coming back for 2014. No one believes they are 100 percent certain of being dismissed by Ross. Everyone is walking on egg shells and worried about their status.

This will be an interesting week as it will likely bring answers.

Below I list for you the primary players in this evolving soap opera and give you their current situation best as sources are handicapping:

Coach Joe Philbin: He is likely safe. Ross likes his head coach and, moreover, must understand that having hired him only two years ago (over San Diego coach Mike McCoy, by the way) his own personal reputation for hiring and firing is riding on this one. As Ross's reputation isn't at an all-time high right now, it could be the owner doesn't want to hurt that further by admitting he made a mistake on Philbin. But one reason Philbin cannot be considered 100 percent safe is because it is believed Ross wants changes on the coaching staff and Philbin does not. So does the owner blink and let the coach have his way? Or does the coach blink? Or do neither blink, in which case Philbin is gone.

General Manager Jeff Ireland: I reported Dec. 9 that Ross had told Ireland he was safe. But then the collapse of 2013 happened. And while that collapse probably is Philbin's responsibility, it is possible the owner could sacrifice Ireland as a scapegoat. Fans want this. But fans don't get a vote. The fact is Ireland put more talent on the Dolphins 2013 roster than he had in his previous seasons as general manager. 

(There is an interesting dynamic at work here between Philbin and Ireland. I told you last week that in evaluating the personnel department and coaching staff, Ross may have inadvertently been forcing his football operation to face off against itself. Well, ESPN reported Sunday there is "tension" between Philbin and Ireland. I checked around on Sunday. No one denied the report. So how do these two men overcome their "tension" if they're to stay together?)

Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman: As of Sunday afternoon, he had not been told anything -- not whether he is safe or out -- by Philbin or anyone else. It is quite possible Philbin, told to fire Sherman, would keep this from his OC knowing that if he tells him, Sherman might resign to make sure his friend doesn't go the way of former Tennessee coach Mike Munchak.

Executive Vice President of Football Administration Dawn Aponte: She seems safe but, interestingly, she wants badly to get out. Aponte is a candidate for vice president of football operations at the NFL office in New York. She wants the job badly. Having served 15 years at the NFL office, having club experience and, yes, being a woman, she is a capable diversity candidate. But the field of candidates is considered strong and also includes former Chiefs GM and Patriots personnel man Scott Pioli. NFL Executive Vice President and General Counsel Jeff Pash adores Aponte.

Bottom line? Ross typically resists change. He doesn't want to fire anyone. (Remember, Philbin is the person I reported has authority to hire and fire assistants). And as you read above, Ross told people at different points last season they're safe, and he probably doesn't want to go back on that word.

What does that mean to you and me?

We should find out this week.


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To compare Philbin to McCoy is ludicrous! SD has a far better QB... Surprised nobody is speculating about Harbaugh coming to Miami and being the highest paid coach in the NFL!?! Maybe this is why nothing is being said right now!

they should all be worried. nuff said

Ireland has done little in six years, but Philbin is responsible for the collapse. They both should be on the chopping block. Sick of people saving face in this organization. "Just Win, Moron" should be the new battle cry for Dolphin Fans everywhere.

Fire Sherman. Simple.

Philbin is the one that didn't want the strong personalities in his locker room like a Reggie Bush and Karlos Dansby. Ireland is an ok GM he has his weakness but you know what you are getting with him.Look at how much talent we have lost since Philbin became coach and im sure he and his assistance had a voice in which talent they should bring to the Dolphins.

Nothing significant is going to change.

And RT is not going to ever, ever, ever, get us to the Super Bowl.


Nominations for helicopter name:
Air Ross One
The Millennium Dolphin
The Hindenfish
Spirit Of St Loser
The Fin Flyer
The Playoff Zero
The Albatross
U2 B-disappointed
The Stealth Flipper
D52 (Sadly it can't hit the long bomb)

By the way, like the football team the chopper comes with an automatic choke !!

Philbin is the one that didn't want the strong personalities in his locker room like a Reggie Bush and Karlos Dansby. Ireland is an ok GM he has his weakness but you know what you are getting with him.Look at how much talent we have lost since Philbin became coach and im sure he and his assistance had a voice in which talent they should bring to the Dolphins.

Posted by: Kafel Hylton | January 06, 2014 at 12:46 AM

I tend to agree about Ireland. Sure there are better GMs but they are all taken. While Ireland isn't the best, he has been solid. It's on the coaches that our first 3 picks never saw much playing time.

The thing to keep in mind here, is no matter what changes are made or aren't made, we still won't make the playoffs next season.


"BAIL HAWK UP".....think.....

It's on the coaches that our first 3 picks never saw much playing time.

Posted by: The Woodshed Gang | January 06, 2014 at 01:07 AM

Another poster with attention deficit disorder.

One of those players missed preseason recovering from shoulder surgery.

The other two were suffering with groin injuries most of the season. It was reported right here several times.

You NEVER tell someone their job is safe in the middle of the season. You wait until after the season concludes and all the evaluations are done. Ross is bungling something yet again.

Ross should fire himself for being totally clueless.

I would guess that the coaches would play the best players. That being said, this coaching staff must go or is it go go.

Maybe one day someone will be able to discover why Armando has such a huge hard on for Ireland...

That is what I would name Ross' helicopter…."Go Go"

How could play action work if the defensive lineman know a pass is coming on "Go"?

Well mando. Wernt we the fans told that nothing less than a playoff berth was acceptable. This team failed in its goal of achieving that. If Ross does nothing then isn't he Lieing to the fan base and basically accepting 500 as good enough.

He likes philbin as much as he does because both are mindless zombie types void of emotion

I would name the helicopter "Princess Mayonnaise" if it was mine.

This is yet another example of poor ownership. It's inspiring to no one to know your job hangs in the balance. I've never seen staff recover when so much doubt has loomed over them.

Ross has no business owning an NFL team.

I would like to add to the helicopter name nominations

Fire Sherman and Taylor. Ride everyone else for another year. I think with better offensive playcalling and line play this team would have won at least one more game than they did.

Well, that's makes it 2-fer-2 in terms of head coaches Jeff Ireland has had a falling out with.

That's easy to do when your only goal is to simply save your own neck. Insecure people who know they're incompetent tend to operate that way.


The job that Mike Sherman did as Offensive Coordinator places
him in the position of being a strong candidate to lose his job.
All the wild card games were high scoring. Offense rules in the
NFL but the offense directed by Mike Sherman scores 1 TD in two
important games.

If Sherman survives Ross has to be considered inept as the
Dolphins managing partner.
Managing Partner.

Ross' helicopter-

"The Whirlyturd"

Neither game today was particularly high scoring.

Ross 'Copter....Up Up and away...for ever!!

with philbin, GM and all coaches also on board.

Sell team to owner(s) that have the stones to blow it up and do it right.

All of Miami would rejoice to see that helicopter crash in a massive ball of fire.

I think a 2-game choke vs Bills & Jets cancels out any verbal promises Ross made. Why should the team flop again next season just so Ross can feel all scrupulous?

I can't see success w Sherman & co. around for a 3d year, and if Philbin sees it differently, maybe he & Sherman need to move to a state where their mutual love can be solemnized. He & Ross both need to watch The Godfather again and practice saying, "It's business."

Ear Force One. Not mine originally, but surprised it wasn't mentioned.

Im sure glad we spent 60 mil on a receiver our QB cant hit and 2 high picks on a DE who couldn't get on the field. While Kennan Allan the player most fins expected to be drafted by the fins has a better season than Both of our big "upgrades" for a MUCH lower cost!!! Thats on Ireland as is the as is the 27 million Ellerby, Wheeler and Wallace will earn next season without the ability to cut them.

Irelands off-season completely demolished the Run D!!

So long as this team remains with the status quo the longer it stays in purgatory. I cannot wear a purgatory hat or shirt anywhere.
Weak = Putrid. These fish are stinky and unhealthy. They are not fun to watch on a Sunday afternoon. 4 hours of a week is a significant time to invest in a hobby. Why not waste it with a team that is having fun and trying?
These are questions I must ask myself.

Mr. Ross is learning to handle this organization yet.
His current approach is to keep this team competitive and as contending as possible.
He wants progress and unless the on-going investigation reveals something dark, Philbin will come back for a third year and perhaps more if team arrives to playoffs next season.

Rossicopter names:

Fast flying thingy
up up machine
Giant floating fan
getaround mobile
metal kite

You know what this means to me, Amando? It means, there's serious trouble in Bangkok.

Something is deviously afoul here. At every turn, gate, scenario, situation, from the top down, all we can do is look back at history if we want to find insight and understanding as to the proverbial question, why?

Last year, the year before (and so on), it's the same. Nothing has changed. Kind of like, politics. But, it's about money. Money in a way the majority of the readers of the Herald could not comprehend.

I'm going to go out on a limb here, and so be it; I understand a little about "big money". We got an owner who's a New Yorker that's all about money, making money, and....losing money. Sometimes, you have to lose money, to make money. THAT, I do understand about "big money". I believe Ross is about money, more than he is about the Dolphins. He spent big money last year. But, did he really? He's a New Yorker playing the baccarat big boys table, knowing full and well the power of the bluff and loss in the hopes of a long term profit payoff. In this situation, wins do not influence the profit. It's a longer term calculated, mathematical hold of profit and loss that ultimately culminates in a big profit.
Very similar to why the "sports books" at nearly any casino always win, no matter the point spread. Some of you know and understand "how it works".

Ross is no fool. It's the fans that are fooled. But dare the poor soul that bring to light the true facet of shrewd business practice.

There's a much more in depth story to the Dolphins than any of the fans will ever know.

Agreed AsJoeRobbieCries!

As long as people keep going to games, fooled by the illusion that Tannehill is ok, and that Ireland and Philbin are ok, and that only Mike Sherman is to blame, the Dolphins will continue to be mediocre, which is enough to get people to go the games with the "hope" that their beloved Dolphins will make it to the playoffs. All the while, Ross makes $, and doesn't have to spend too much $ to keep us mediocre.

Jebediah has it right.

10 less sacks on the season and a few more rushing yards here and there, and we'd have won an extra game.

Need a No2 corner that can stay fit.

Its so sad to see what has become of this franchise. Before Philbin came, I thought the roster looked pretty good as did the coaching staff with Hc Bowles, Oc Dabol abd Dc Nolan. Ross didn't hesitate to get rid of the lot, whilst Philbin rattled out our best players as he was too weak to coach them or handle them as a man.

Like a lot of fans now my interest in this team is failing forward fast.

The swag copter

risk assessment: Status Quo < Change Coaching Staff.
performance metrics: trending down
business metrics: trending down (less tv time = less revenue, less marketing opportunities)
Philbin is as much a 'player' as Tanny or Wallace. He has impact on the field. Does a CEO need 3rd year to confirm the previous 2 when assessing performance? The last two games cannot be lumped in as a whole to measure. The simple fact is Philbin is out of touch and detached from players. The next level staff are not respected by players. Lost respect is never recovered. Ross has no choice but to make change. Status quo is more expensive than change.

With Ross ears assisting with leverage it the DUMBO copter.

Ireland has to go. Although its not customary to hire a GM with an existing coach, would think that Philbin would take direction. With all those picks, they had the least playing time than any other draft class in football. And its not because miami is so loaded with talent that they didn't get a chance to play.,

Surprising, I cannot fathom how a successful businessman like Ross would not take Philbin and Sherman to the woodshed for the Zac Taylor hire. Ross a billionaire businessman would not hire anyone to run his real estate business who never worked real estate at the highest level. This begs the question why would he allow a coach to hire what may be the most important coach outside the HC, OC, and DC to coach his rookie and now second year QB who never played the position, nor ever even coached at the highest level at any position. Further, Ross has to decide whether or not he is willing to step up and require Philbin to make coaching changes and be willing to cut the Philbin cord if his employee refuses. If Ross did in actaully conduct a "fact search" to determine why the collapse occured, why the team drafted players who could not contribute, and more telling why did the head coach allow the flagrent nepotisim to occur, his decision may not be as difficult as previously thought. My take is Ross will unlikely not shake things up to much for 2014; however will be more involved in an on going review over the entire body of work before pulling the plug on the entire staff from GM down. I hoping he doesnt rely on the list of former Jets personnel previously discussed in these blogs. Their track record is no better and would not go well with the fan base. So, if Sherman is unwilling to cut ties with his family hires, and Philbin is unwilling to cut ties with Sherman, Ross needs to find this out ASAP and make an executive decision asap instead of letting this fester.

You fans are the blame also for overrating your average at best talent, and always buying into the hype some local media types try to sell you on. You guys in here always makes excuses why this franchise is a 40 years and counting laughingstock of the NFL !! The new slogan of this franchise should be "I'll believe it when we see it" that means consistently making the playoffs which will produce at least 2 super bowl titles. I want to be the Heat of the NFL, but you dolphins fans always settle for mediocrity at best standards and unfortunately that what you always get for 40 years and counting !!

clown owner/advisors has trickle down effect.

Lets say Ross does fire everyone (highly unlikely)

Who are the candidates to replace everyone?

at least they are all on notice.

Dont change anything. One more year. Ross takes a year to find all the replacements unless Ryan Tannehill becomes the next Aaron Rogers or appears on his way.

He throws for 4500 and 30 TD's, I think we are there.

BTW, New Orleans is in cap hell. Lets throw 8-9 million at Jimmy Graham since he wants to be paid like a WR and force the issue. Come home Jimmy.

Is it still "Our Time"?

Yeah, I'd say there's some "tension" between these two... Ireland has an ego problem and walks around with a chip on his shoulder. It's impossible to work with people like this as their insecurities dictate that all ideas originate with them and be accomplished according to their plan. It works OK if they have the brilliance to be successful. Ireland doesn't.

While Ireland's responsibilities as GM have been trimmed this year, he still has final say on player acquisitions, the Dolphins' Achilles heel for years now. He had continued his poor practices in 2013, taking big risks by acquiring players that were bad fits or physically unfit to play for the team.

With 2 front office up and comers in the organization in D Aponte and B Gaine, both looked at for better positions outside of the Dolphins, you'd think Ross could easily find his next GM there. Why risk any more turmoil and tarnish to the franchise by keeping Ireland?

It means another 8-8 year, Ireland does not know how to build a team and Sherman 's offense is terrible along with his play calling and Philbin is stubborn he thinks Sherman is an EXCELLENT COACH remember , he must have been watching something else. Bottom line Sherman below average, Ireland below Average and Philbin below average means 8-8 at best next year what more you need to see.

The are adults. They will get over their bad selves once they look in the mirror.

dont let Jonathan Martin kill this team.

Enough with getting rid of the "best" players bs. Guess where jake long ended up again? On the IR with a torn ACL! Guess where Reggie Bush ended up- injured reserve and was almost benched bc of dropped passes thrown his way! The only argument here for keeping a player might have been dansby but dansby did squat for us in 3 years (1 turnover!). You can understand why a GM would cut an $8 million/year LB when he truly wasnt earning his money with his play.

Guys look at the big picture. We can debate whether coaching an GM changes should be made but lets deal in facts not hypotheticals. The players that Ireland let go all played on teams that did not make the playoffs- like the dolphins!

He likes philbin as much as he does because both are mindless zombie types void of emotion

Posted by: Dolfan29 | January 06, 2014 at 01:48 AM


yeah Mando, on top of all else, was the McCoy reference really necessary?--just 2 weeks ago, when we were 8-6 and SD trailed us (and Balt) in the pecking order, I saw articles elsewhere that suggested Philbin was the better hire because at that point Miami was in the playoff drivers seat and McCoy did have Rivers, who had a career year and is an accomplished vet (and was a star for his first 5-6 years in the league)-2 games unfortunately make a huge difference, but "McCoy vs Philbin" is hardly clear cut, or determined at this point--we got lots going on…..that issue shouldnt be one of them

Frank from PA,thank you. At last, a fan with a brain and some football knowledge!

anothernweek has passes by,what's your problem mr ross,there should be no question in your mind to fire ireland,philbin,sherman and turner even koyle,and yourself ross.you treat your fan base like crap,in fact there is no fan base anymore.and stop beleiving philbin saying were close,close to what,we are nowhere to close at winning games nor will we ever,take a look at next years schedule its tough,and the dolphins don;thave a chance.let your fans that is left,know whats going on with the team,we need answers now,not leaving everyone in limbo you you have done. you are no mr.kraft,hes a wonderful owner,he cares about his staff and the team,take a lessen from him.all you care about is your real estate empire,so sell the team to some who cares,because you don't care about the team, or the fans.be a man and and fire these people who have brought the team to thisnhooendous collapse,theres nothing to think about, if you want a winning team clean house its not too late to start over with new personnel and coaching staff.apparently you are getting very bad advise from your consultants,you don't need any advise from them,you are the owner and do what is right forthe team,FIRE

Ireland may be a scapegoat because fans want it??? How bad does this guy have to get before some people get it??

Does he have to trade the entire draft for Tim Tebow???

I'm not advocating letting Philin off the hook either but who's had a second chance and who hasn't?

Mando also states "the fact is Ireland put more talent on the Dolphins 2013 roster than he had in his previous seasons as general manager".

That should speak volumes if you ask me. I mean $100 milliion for Mike Wallce and Brent Grimes.

I know I'm being a little over the top with the free agents, their were injuries to Keller and Gibson but what about the draft.

San Diego who is heading to the 2nd week of the post season has 4 rookies in their starting line-up.

FOUR. All due respect to Dion Jordan but I don't believe he started one game and the 3rd rd pick couldn't get on the field over a practice squad guy.

Dansby had a nice season but was a big disappointment here……plus, consider that he had all of ONE contract offer and it was a 1 yr deal… so teams were hardly lining up for him and even AZ wasnt willing to commit to him--also, for those saying "fire Sherman"…..nice idea but what good OC is gonna want to come here for what is essentially a 1 year make or break season for Philbin? If Philbin is fired after next season, the OC would almost certainly go too……no quality OC would want that situation.

Im not a big proponent of it but the only logical move, if one is to be made, is to fire Ireland……Philbin has 1 more year to prove his worth (or the new GM could fire him now)…..so the new GM could sit tight for a year with Philbin, see how he does, and go from there……can easily clean house/start fresh at that point if he wants--it starts with the GM

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