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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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I have not been a fan of Tannehill, he is in the mold of Ponder and Locher. At times show promise, but can never sustain it and take their play to the next level. Having said that, Tannehill should learn a different offense and see if he gets better. Remember Henne had his best years eary on and after that regressed each year after that. Tannehill may go down that road. I hope I am wrong, Alex Smith had a different OC each year in his first 4 years I believe.

Mark, I'd DEFINITELY stick with Dalton. The Bernard turnover was a killer (he was about to score or at least get it inside the 5). Dalton stunk, but like you said, he's very good in season (except when he's not, haha). But they continue to make the Playoffs, and as we all know, you have to be in it to win it.

Interesting quote from Dave Hyde, "Most of the offensive lines of contending teams were built with players out of the first round." He says 36 out of 40 were not 1st round picks. And he says 1st rd OL picks should be made within the 1st 15 picks in the Draft (and we're right outside that bubble). So do we really draft another position 1st round when we have such need at OL?

Saying that Sean Smith, Anthony Fasano, Richard Marshall or Samson Satele are excelling with other teams is stretching it a bit no? Those guys are all doing the same job elsewhere they did here. And none of them leaving created a huge gap in our roster. Watching Anthony Fasano run in particular is super painful. Excellent hands and blocker but let's nto get carried away. Ninkovich is one guy is clearly doing better elsewhere but I'm sure most teams have the story of one guy getting away that goes ont o great things elsewhere. For example, NY Giants and Cameron Wake. Didn't stop them from winning two super bowls.

Mentalo @ 10:51 AM:

Agreed on 'tard 2watt. He is a Jets fan. The amazing thing is that he spends his "free" time on an opponents team blog trying to stir the pot. Wonder what his social life is like? I would guess he spends quite a bit of time in his bedroom, that is coincidentally where he lives in his Mom's house. Fu.kin' ' tard!

"What you will notice however, is that the really good, talented teams don't play down to their competition every week like the Phins do."

- this is a consistency issue, not a talent issue. Consistency has as much or more to do with coaching than talent.

Posted by: Craig M | January 06, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Craig, the Peter King article I referred to- and I put it in my post- said that Ireland fell in love with Tannehill in August, 2011. Ireland's further comments in the article on Tannehill make it reasonable to assume Ireland kept Tannehill as his 1st choice all the way through until the draft.

As you know, Philbin wasn't 1st on the list of Dolphin choices for HC in 2012. So, if Ireland was already intent on getting Tannehill (and he was), no matter who was selected as HC, how much lobbying for Tannehill do you think Philbin and Sherman had to do to get Ireland to agree to draft Tannehill?

I think you have it backwards. Philbin and Sherman simply acquiesced to Ireland's choice.

Also, LOL, the team did bounce back several times from bad performances to do well. It's a .500 team. it's not horrible or devoid of talent or getting awesome coaching or benefitting from an extreme string of luck. It's in the bloody middle of all these things. So unless the team gets better coaching or better drafting or the Qb becomes improves further and gets closer to the top ten ... nothing will change. It's a fukking tossed salad. Getting benefit and detriments from several factors.

Sherman admitted that they rarely (if ever) practiced throwing the deep ball to Wallace. $60 million decoy? That alone is grounds for termination of the offensive coaching staff, along with clueless Philbin who allows Sherman to run the team.

In and of themselves, they all seem competent. The issues seems to be a lack of communication. Ireland is getting talent that doesn't fit the schemes. Either someone needs to adjust or someone needs to go. Philbin trying to run a zone blocking scheme with un-athletic linemen that Ireland provides doesn't work. Nor does Coyle trying to run a 4-3 with 3-4 personnel. They all need to get on the same page or get rid of Ireland and bring in someone that will work w/ the coaching staff to get the players they need to fit the system.

again, Tannehill is not Ponder, Locker, or henne. Show me where any of those other guys improved all their results as much from year one to two. Show me where any of those guys amassed 4,000+ yards and 25 tds. Tannehill is not a top 10 qb but he is not a bottom feeder like those others. You wouldn't compare Flacco to those other guys for example and Tannehill had a much better year than Flacco.

Sign @11:33 AM:

Agreed on '14 being a lame-duck season. My father and I were discussing this yesterday. It completely changes the draft and FA signings. The GM and coaches know it is win in '14, or else. Won't have to worry about Ireland drafting project players, or ones coming in with injuries. Ireland and Philbin are not going to want to groom players for their successors. Actually, it may be a blessing in disguise because they will be forced to pick players in the draft at positions of need vs. another D-Line guy, which ironically was already our strongest and deepest unit on the team.

Actually, Mr. Ross has no problem. He's a very skilled and successful businessman who made the majority of his money by building and developing companies, the dsmr skill set necessary for success as an NFL owner. Unlike most of the other owners, Ross's experience is much more diverse and not specific to a single business. In order to stand out, which he does, the the Commercial Real Estate Segment, one has to be the master of many different talents. Ross is easily one of the top five most gifted owners in the NFL and with a modicum of patience, Fin fans will see the franchise returned to an annual competitive level.

DC, as far as the pick, my approach has been stated here for a while. I would not be looking for my LT there ... Hyde has a point ... not going to find your day one LT there. We would find a RT or a very good OG there though. But again, there will be a lot of skilled WR/TE types there too which are not available in free agency. Guys with extremely high ceilings. I hope/expect that at least one or two positions on the line are addressed in free agency and not in the bargain bin. If the team chooses to go full assault on the o line and picks an OT and OG in rounds one and two I can live with that too but I would love one of those big targets. But if they get through free agency with additions like Albert, Cameron Erving, and Gabe Jackson then I would not sit here and complain. Our current receiving corps if healthy is good enough - just not ideal.

nuff said
he suxx


ROSS YOU FOOL, the head coach and GM don't even get along and you arent savy enough to make Power Moves.


IMO Tannehill = Dalton except Dalton throws a better deep ball. How do there stats compare???

if the qb suxx like tpuke
u can have 8 jerry rices on the roster and it wont matter

Adult diaper delivery for 2 watt, diaper delivery for 3 watt ! ! !

Matk I remember I wanted Tyrann M in about the 3rd round and you clamored how his meadureables in the combine would make him a flop??? Remember the guy was up for defensive ROY until his injury told ya he was a steal! Better than Jamar Taylor and Will Davis

Its not always about combine results remember the Lb the Jets drafted a couple years back who was the Hulk on the bench?? A bust!

more stats that r fax jax 4 the dumb dumb homers.
Did the Miami Dolphins improve in Year 2 under Coach Joe Philbin? Statistically: No. Here’s a look at 24 statistical categories from Year 1 to Year 2 of Philbin. The Dolphins improved in eight categories, regressed in 10 categories and held even in six categories. Of course, in the category that means most — wins — the Dolphins did have a one game improvement. But it did not result in a playoff berth.

I want Sammy Watkins with our #1 pick in the Draft this year.

Knowledge Level On This Blog = Zero:

Did not mean cut, should have said these players were cut/traded by Ireland. If we wanted to get into that, we could examime what we got in picks from Ireland trades (eg. Brandon Marshall trade).

Curious about 1 thing though. I notice quite a few posts on this blog by one-time names. If you want to express an opinion, especially a condescending one, why don't you be a MAN and put a consistent name on it? This way, we can all engage in a meaningful discussion about our Dolphins. (Notice the emphasis on the word man.)

...So I Stand firm in with the opinion they should all go..Or they should all stay. I lean toward the side of they should all stay. Even though I think Philbin is a butcher. Shermam is I don't even know. And Ireland is a the Teflon GM.

So all this said. I think that 2 years is not enough time to develop a rookie quarterback into a possible franchise level guy. Implement your system, prove you are worthy, and that the opinions that people like me that were are being led into the pits of hell are false.

I cannot stand this group. Hated the offense before the season started. Do not think it is sustainable as is. But my personal feelings aside. do believe these guys deserve 1 more crack.


We'll agree to disagree. I'm not saying Ireland did want Tannehill or as you put it 'fell in love with Tannehill'. But the way your putting it you make it seem like he forced him on Sherman and Philbin. Don't kid yourself, all three of these guys were all in on Tannehill. Sherman had him as his College QB. If he didn't think he could do the job he would have said so. Philbin glowed about Tannehill from day one and made him his starter before camp was over.

If Tannehill fails all THREE guys should be held responsible.

And this idea that the team CUT Davis, Smith and Fasano.....RIDICULOUS!

Smith and Davis were torched all day Saturday. And Fasano is his usual plodding self. The team DECIDED to move on from all three and none of them are missed. To insinuate that any of the three are big reasons why their teams made the playoffs is COMICAL.

Finally The Rdubs has come back to the blog......

I have to say, I was really bummed after we lost to the Jets and wanted to cry. I probably had the Andy Reid face going(did you see that shot of him after the game on the sidelines? Yeah that one)

I think this was a little too much of a season for me. It was way to "Up and down" This is the most bi-polar team we have ever had. A couple 3 game win streaks and a 4 game losing streak. I think it took a toll on me mentally.

It was kind of nice being off work and not stressing about the Phins, Like my first week off, so excited to see us beat the Jets and then you know the rest.

My thoughts on the Ireland /Philbin thing are as follows.

I think you keep them at this point, who is out there that really makes you that excited?

We are all bummed out, but we still beat 3 of the AFC teams currently in the playoffs. Dont tell me that doesnt matter, it absolutely does.

I think it should be a package deal. If you fire Ireland, you have to fire Philbin. Although the Panthers new GM had to keep Rivera this year and that worked out very well.

If I had to replace the 2. My choices would be Charlie Casserly and Ken Whisenhut. I think Charlie C not only has drafted Pro Bowlers, but also drafted 2 HOF players in Andre Johnson and Mario Williams. I believe Ken Whisenhut could give our offense a kick in the butt.

Regarding the defense. We still have the nucleus of a great defense. Minus Phillip Wheeler, who is hot garbage with dreads. I believe our defense can make a huge turnaround next year. WITH GOOD COACHING FROM OUR DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR!! ADJUST YOUR SCHEME FOOL!!

One final note..Please check out the Miami Dolphins 2014 1st round draft pick Tra Mason, he is so dreamy...

A good name for his whirly bird would be " the Phoenix " because as long as Ross is here it will not die, or the team not get better. A lot of fans keep writing about 8-8 win season we had 4 games that we loss by 4 or less points, and 2 games we won on the last play, and 5 games we won by 4 or less points. I would not place a lot of stock in 8-8, it could have been a lot worse, and a lot better. This team needs a lot of help to be a contender. Bill

Up to now, it seems that Tannehill will only be another Andy Dalton.

always talkin' bout next season on this blog


I agree. With Sherman working with Tannehill at Texas A&M, you would think that he had to do a lot with this pick. I am sure that Sherman endorsed and recommended this pick.

If I recall, Ireland admitted that taking TH at # 8 was a bit of a reach but that he was willing to do it because of the need for a franchise QB.

In the end all three deserve credit or blame for the TH pick.

Rocket....just what has Ross done to make this team successful?

Tannehill will be a top 7 QB in two years mark it down. And I keep seeing 20-7, 19-0 crap that has nothing to do with tannehills performance when you have bad play calling and 7 sacks against buffalo. And a wide open dropped passed from Rishard Mathews against the jets would have been a td and changed the games momentum.

But, but, the Dolphins are not bipolar, Mark from Canada just mentioned it, they are i-n-c-o-n-s-i-s-t-e-n-t

So i just checked Dalton stats.. 4296, 33TD 20int
Only confirm what I think Tannehill = Dalton I just dont see him being anymore than our Dalton anyone disagree?


You are a psychologist. Would you agree with my bi-polar analogy? I am legitimately curious

MIT: I should clarify my post, because it was mis-leading with my final comment on ex-Dolphins excelling elsewhere. I wasn't defending, or critiquing all of those particular Ireland moves. I was commenting on Frank in PA's post that ex-Dolphin players were not in the playoffs. I always disliked Sean Smith and Satele on that list, but here is where it gets interesting: Sean Smith was not a good zone-scheme CB when he was here. He is better at man-to-man, press coverage (like JJ used with Madison and Surtain). Satele is a smaller, more athletic center and would have fit well with our zone-blocking scheme being employed now. While talking zone defenses, I HATE them!


Lets also state that Dalton has one of the best offensive lines and a very good Running game, which can not be overlooked

Truth, doesn't always but I'm still not sold on mathieu. I said he wasn't physically built for the NFL - time will tell if his injury proves me right or if he can actually perform at a high level. Personally don't regret the team not taking him for one second. And it's a tad early to proclaim that he's better than Davis or Taylor each had excellent college careers too - just in less spotlight.

The fins do not miss Fasano, Smith, or Davis that much. The secondary was a bright spot for the dolpins this year. They did miss Fasano's blocking but Clay was much more productive as a pass catcher.

The two guys they really miss from last year are Reggie Bush (over 1500 all purpose yards and 7 TDs) and Karlos Dansby who is a front runner for defensive player of the year. You can also add Kevin Burnnett as another player that had a great year somewhere else. When you consider who replaced Burnett and Dansby (Ellerbe and Wheeler), you really felt ther loss.

I think we should bring a class action lawsuit against the Dolphins for false advertisementyear after year the same as always maybe next year

Posted by: Craig M | January 06, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Yeah, Craig, Tannehill was to be the 1st draft choice in 2012 no matter the HC or coaches- that's what I'm, and Peter King and Jeff Ireland are saying. Phins were desperately seeking a franchise QB for 2012 and driven by owner Ross to get one. But we can disagree...

I do agree that if Tannehill fails, its time for another house cleaning. Next year should provide enough evidence.

Dalton had a statistically superior year to Tannehill. As mentioned earlier dalton was ranking with Big ben and brady while Tannehill's numbers were closer to RG3, Kaepernick, Rusell Wilson, and Alex Smith.

...Truth. Honey Badger was much better then I thought. He still got burned a fair amount. Made a few plays. Good for him..Here is the thing. Matthieu was the 5th rated slot cover corner in the NFL..Guess who was 6th..Jimmy Wilson. We have the same guy on our roster.

Craig M @ 12:06:

I should have said cut/traded, my mistake. I am well aware of the Vontae Davis trade, details, particulars, timeline, crying to Grandma, etc., etc. Also, read the original post caregully. I was not lamenting the cut/trades. I was not in love with any of those players (read my 12:15 post). The original post was a comment on Frank in PA saying no ex-Dolphins were in the playoffs. The end of the post said it seemed many ex-Dolphins were excelling with other teams and I feel that is a reflection on our coaches ( past and present). Did not mean to infer those 5, or 6 players were great players that Ireland let get away.

Rift between Ireland/Philbin? Aponte can not wait to see the exit door?

Can you spell upper management caos!

Ireland got Philbin the players he wanted? Lets throw this fallacy out of the window. Philbin 100% onboard with the Dion Jordan trade up move? Maybe in towing the company line only. Remember when Philbin wanted fa fb Vonte Leach "signed right away". Never happened did it?

Has the fog in your aqua and orange sun glasses cleared yet? Don't worry, seems neither has Ross either. Ireland is "nearly impossible" to work and why "no credible hc" wants any parts of him. But, don't flap your oversized ears over this M. Ross.

As this this "inner franchise rift" widens, so will the disparity between wins and losses. That arrow will be falling even further south of the border. Si, senor?

Another week, another bunch of speculation from Miami writers who are just guessing. I joined the argument over at www.DolphinsTruth.com Check out their poll on what SHOULD happen

@ 12:15, you don't need to sell me on Sean Smith, he is not a star but he can do something nobody else on this team can do - lock down an alpha huge WR and keep him from doing something significant in, like you said, press man coverage. Smith is a total Seahawk type DB. However, we neveer play that scheme - for some reason, our DC likes to play the same defense over and over and over again despite having the personnel to change it up perhaps like no other DC in the league has the luxury to do. You have linemen that can play NT or DT, DEs that can be OLB, OLBs that can be DEs, DEs that can cover teh best Tes in the league etc, etc. I hate our DC and philsophy more than anything else with this team. We emulate the Bengals defense for whatever reason - yeah that great unit and scheme that has brought them much success. yeah no reason copying the Baltimore, Giants, or Steeler defenses, heck even the patriot defenses are always good for at least produing turnovers. No, we get the bungles.


Tell me what GM is going to want to come to Miami and inherit Philbin and the coaching staff? No one.

Posted by: Craig M | January 06, 2014 at 09:08 AM

Someone. From the inside. Someone that already has a relationship with him.

One must consider all possibilities.

Orlando Dolphan:

Agreed on Bush and in retrospect, Dansby and Burnett, although at the time I wanted them gone. Bush was the one I hated to see leave the most when he signed with Detroit. Veteran, great player, team leader and the Dolphins (Ireland, Philbin?) apparently placed no value on that and gambled with Miller. Miller is good at times, but he's no Bush. On Dansby and Burnett, 2 names in a long list of ex-Dolphins who immediately improve when they leave Miami (but not all, have to be careful here, or others will take it as a blanket statement.)

mark, y do u f'ing never post of tpukes 9 f,kn fumbles when u say 24 td and 17 int's ?


According to Brian Tracey, the business trainer, "If 2 of your executives are recommending the same action then you should fire 1 of them".


Ross has moved on.


Mando this is no longer a story.

I agree with you again Craig M. If Ireland goes, then you have to clean house.

That collapse of losing to two terrible teams like the Jets and Bills in on the coaching staff. This team beat the Bengals, Chargers, Pats, Colts, and Steelers all playoff contenderes with Ireland's players. Yet got blown out by the lowly Bills and Jets in must win situations. This team had enough talent to get to 9-7 or 10-6 but the coaching staff did not motivate or prepare the players for the two most important games of the season. That is on Philbin and his staff. Who would want to inherit them as coaches?


it is the qb's job 2 motivate and tpuke s no better than a show room dummy in this cat.

MIT @ 12:28:

Totally agree. Our D could be great if only Coyle would adjust and tweak. Zone one series, one game, press when needed (Brady and Patriots?). I always cringe when we go up against vet QB's with a 10-15 yd. cushion at the line of scrimmage off the wr's, just knowing a bullet out pass is good for 5-6 yds!

I've had some time to think over the season these past few days. I've really lost a lot of faith in the coaches. The coordinators were not very good. They and Philbin don't seem to adjust and make second time adjustments. I have to hope for improvement in year 3 if they are still here.

Ross needs to blow it all up or keep both Philbin and Ireland. Keeping Philbin is not going to attract the top tier GM candidates.

If you guys like college football and are looking for draft picks tonight's game should be excellent.

@ 12:15, you don't need to sell me on Sean Smith, he is not a star but he can do something nobody else on this team can do - lock down an alpha huge WR and keep him from doing something significant in, like you said, press man coverage.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | January 06, 2014 at 12:28 PM

While playing wr's like this only 5-6 times a year, what's the real significance of having a "starting corner" like this. The remaining 10-11gms smaller wr's are roasting him like a marshmallow on a stick.

I disagree he is a "Seahawk type corner". Seahawk type corners seem to lockdown alpha type wr's both large and small. In this aspect, Sean Smith is only half way there.

Also, Chiefs were up 38-10, before the 46yds play Sean Smith gave up to a "smaller" wr, reved the engine to begin their monumental playoff collapse. Still, the same ole Smith dolfans are so familiar.

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