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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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It makes you wonder about the coaching staff when players are good before getting here then become average with the dolphins and then excell again when they are out of here. That tells me that the GM did his job in finding the players but that the coaching staff was not able to get the most out of those players. Dansby is a perfect example of that.

What does the Mafia do when they are uncertain who the mole is?

Whack'em all.

Seems the magic to Indy's huge playoff comeback victory, was when Andrew Luck suddenly discovered Sean Smith no longer played in Miami.

Remember the deep ball td Smith "lost in the lights", against Indy/Luck in 2012? Yesterday, I guess Luck suddenly remembered too.

Sam I Am,

You may well be right on Smith, but I would reserve judgement until later next season after more time in man coverage. He did suck here in zone, that I agree on. More importantly to us, do you think Ireland gives Grimes what he's worth on the open market, or trusts he has something better already here (Taylor, Davis)? Maybe Ireland thinks he can find an acorn? Or maybe an almond, even cashews are good......

It is getting to be inconsiderate on Ross' part to the Fans to at least say they have/have not finished with the evaluation of any changes to be made to the Team, if any.

(I am beginning to get mad as hell here)

In fact, the Wonderlic is probably more important for the draft prospects than the SATs were for their college entrance process. Their measureables in the 40-yard dash, bench press and vertical jump receive most of the attention at the Combine, but nothing creates a bigger buzz than the Wonderlic scores, which can be an indicator of not only a player’s ability to think and process information quickly, but his maturity level and preparedness for life as an adult in the NFL. -

@ watt, when I cite Tannehill's 4.4% turnover per attempt ratio I do include his fumbles. Thanks for stopping by, don't forget to strap on your helmet when you get up from the computer to walk around.

It is possible Ireland holds a trump card, in that he wanted McCoy, Peyton's first OC in Denver, and Ross wanted the guy who was organized, but not a leader. Ireland could be saying 'I told you so'.


Haha! Hey, 2watt, please answer the question: " Are you, or are you not, a Jets fan?"

the 46 yard pass, I assume it is the one to Da'Rick Rogers, who is a beast at 6.3 217lbs. Again, a WR i was clamouring for and one we could've got for free. Admittedly he is a head case but those measureables wre teh ebst of any WR coming out of college last year. I wanted this player bad on the Dolphins. Going forward, I would hope teh Dolphins take this type of guy knowign that Tannehill is no longer a kid and secure in his position and able to tell a guy who gets out of line to fawk off. There was no risk to getting this guy...

mark u'r full of chat. all u say is 24 td's and 4g's in yds.

2watt, if you ard a Dolphins fan, please try to give some positive feedback here at least once every thousand posts. If you are a Jets fan...well, I don't have to tell you what you can go do.

Did anyone see Ronnie Brown's playoff winning run for the Chargers?


I think McCoy was gone to SD when Peyton came on board?


I think Ireland will pay Grimes. He really doesn't have another choice. The guy made the pro bowl and was ranked number 2 by pro football focus. He was also a all-pro snub in my opinion.

Tim Jennings of the bears is a similar player to Grimes. Grimes is about six months older. Jennings had 9 picks in 2012, but Grimes is better based on not allowing as many big plays or Touchdowns.

Jennings got 4 years 22.4 mil with 11.8 mil guaranteed.

I guess Grimes will get about 4 years 32 mil with about 16 mil guaranteed. Thats my ballpark guess anyway.

The corner market has been fairly low recently besides Revis, so I'm hoping we can get Grimes back and make both sides happy.

Grimes and the O-line are the 2 big priorities this offseason in my opinion.

yeah homer core

+- 19-0
+-5 seasons and no play in jan.
+ -u'r axx

RT has a trick shots video though! That's gotta count for something?!

If you watched the season of Hard Knocks when the Dolphins were featured, you saw that all the moves that were made were a team (Ireland/Philbin) effort. Ireland spoke with Philbin and got his take on every move.

In some instances, Ireland would defer to Philbin on what was to be done. A prime example was the decision on weather to keep Eric Stienbach or Braylon Edwards. It was totally Philbin. He kept the guy he knew, Stienbach, who was clearly way out of shape in the show and admitted to being so on camera. While Braylon Edwards was no better option, he clearly would have helped a position the Dolphins were weak at WR. It made more sense to keep him. Philbin chose incorrectly.

When the Colts called about a trade for Vontae Davis, there is a scene where Ireland and Philbin discuss it and ultimately Philbin gives his approval.

At draft time, I am sure its not Ireland going in and picking whom he wants without input from the coaching staff these past two seasons. It is a group effort and one that Philbin has a great input on.

If Ross is going to fire Ireland, then he has got to fire Philbin as well. Personally, I think if Ross is not going to go out and try to bring in the only proven winners for the gm and/or coaching positions that are available, then we should just keep who we have got for another season.

I have endured over a decade of losing and embarrassment, what at this point would be one more season of it? Although, I am not like some who buy season tickets, NFL packages, and team merchandise so Ross will not earn any more or less than what he receives now financially from me wether this team wins the Super Bowl or goes 0-16. I was priced out of the NFL and other professional sports years ago. In addition, I really hate the new logo and color scheme. Its not the Miami Dolphins I grew up with.

I detest the homerz of the phinz more than any jets fan

At this point if im Ross and they are telling me they are close and no changes are needed. I would give them eight games next year to show me marked improvment. Eight games to see last years draft picks produce. If not.... I fire Philbin and Ireland. Promote Gaine to GM and maybe Rizzi to head coach. Give them the last eight games as an audition and to turn it around. In the meantime I have a head start in the GM/Coaching search over everybody else. Let Philbin and Ireland live or die by their own words!

Sam I Am,

You may well be right on Smith, but I would reserve judgement until later next season after more time in man coverage.

Posted by: stillhardcoredolphinsfan | January 06, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Smith can not cover smaller wr's man or zone. His "spacial quickness" is horrible. Saw it for "4 solid seasons" in Miami. Quickness can not be coached, taught, or suddenly appear out of nowhere.

Sam I Am,

More importantly to us, do you think Ireland gives Grimes what he's worth on the open market, or trusts he has something better already here (Taylor, Davis)?

Posted by: stillhardcoredolphinsfan | January 06, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Naw, Ireland miraculously survives the axe this go around, he's used up all of his "get out of jail free" cards. Only "money matters" move he can safely play is to axe D'mitri Patterson to make a big contract to Grimes fit.

Still, we know not what a "wounded bear" gm would sanely do.

Bloggers. There are certain things that are truths and then there certain things that are debatable.

Those of you that aren't happy with Ryan Tannehill I can't figure out. He improved from year 1-2 behind an OL that gave up 58 sacks! That same OL didn t open up holes in the run game, further putting pressure on the QB. The OC is clueless and didnt make necessary adjustments. They didnt practice the deep ball very much at practice! Ryan Tannehill is an asset. Any new coach or GM would be relieved if miami hired them knowing that the most important position, QB, is already in place!

Dannell ellerbe was the best LB in free agency! He was a beast for Baltimore and helped them win the Super Bowl. He was the heir apparent to ray Lewis in Balt who easily outplayed Lewis during that Super Bowl run. Ireland signed him for less than dansby, who for $8 mill per season, created no big plays in 3 years. Dansby deserved to be cut! Ellerbe should be an upgrade, was paid less than dansby, and is younger.

Mike Wallace is a deep threat who is supposed to take the top off the defense. He was not used correctly by the OC and there wasnt enough deep ball throwing at practice apparently, which is his forte. Tannehill missed him on some throws? You put a good QB behind a line who give up 58 sacks and see if that throws off timing. You don't throw enough to each other in the offseason- like Peyton manning always did with his receivers and this is what happens.

We can nit pick over all of Ireland's moves. We can nit pick over the job the coaches did. But when I look at the overall equation involving the three men above- I blame coaching more than management. Failure to adapt and create to suit the talent you have on the field is ridiculous and that falls on the coaches....

Answer the question 2watt, be a fu.kin' man! Do you pull for the Dolphins on Sun?, or the Jets? I'm calling you out because I detest negative motherfu.kers, in life and business! C'mon! Answer the question!?

Ryno....well said! With the exception of the logo and color scheme. I could really care less about anything not associated, in some way, with the talent.

It is possible Ireland holds a trump card, in that he wanted McCoy.

Posted by: Bodine | January 06, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Doubtful, because McCoy would not have done as well here. In San Diego, he has a proven vet pro bowl quality qb. They actually have an oline in San Diego too.

Under the exact same circustances as Philbin has here under Ireland, I see no way McCoy does any better. Remember, "WE BEAT" both Cincy and Sandy this year.

oscar canosa @ 12:48

What up bro?

Here is what happened: After the loss to the NYJ Ross said he was coming down to look into things. He camne down on Thursday and left. CASE CLOSED.

ROSS NEVER BROUGHT UP THE NAMES Pioli, Peterson, gaine etc that was all fiction written up by Mando.

ROSS FINISHED HIS BUSINESS on Thurs and left. The only one that is INCONSIDERATE IS MANDO for pretending that something is still going on.

LASTLY DOESN'T BEING A REPORTER mean that you report on EVENTS THAT HAVE HAPPENED? Or does it mean that you can imagine what may happen and then post a story as if it had happened?

I answered u fk axxhole now go shoot u'r parhetic homer self stilladumhomer

Neither of our Coordinators are creative enough to fight through personnel issues (that ALWAYS arise). Sherman because he's too old and stuck in his ways, and Coyle probably because this is his first DC gig and he doesn't want to be abject failure so is playing conservative (like that STUPID play end of 1st half vs. Carolina).

I saw a few glimpses in a couple "exotic" blitz packages we ran, but not nearly enough given the talent level in our front 7.

I don't know what it is with the NFL though, I saw the Chargers try a 3rd and short with Ronnie Brown up the middle (which they failed at time and again during the season, most notably vs. Redskins in OT that lost them the game). There was another play where they gave it to the FB on 4th and inches and he didn't pick that up either.

Unless you have the horses to move piles consistently (like we did that year with Sparano) you need to get CREATIVE with your short distance play-calling. MISDIRECTION. Or play-action and throw. Or a QB keeper. There are so many plays that will keep the defense guessing I can't for the LIFE OF ME figure out why OCs call the same, tired play-call when they've SEEN WITH THEIR OWN EYES there offense get stuffed time and time again.

A few personal thoughts on some of the points & comments made today.

I see THILL and Dalton being similar players. Both go on cold and hot streaks. Fact is both can lead teams to the playoffs and both are better than anyone the Fins have had since Marino. Both should be starters in this leaue and it's up to coaches to and GM's to surround them with other players and system to be successful.

At #19 I agree that we are not going to see first level talent at OT (they will be gone). But OT is a CRITICAL need this offseason. IF OT's are added in Free Agency then I'd use the #19 pick on TE, RB or OLB. IF OT's are not added in FA then I think the GM is forced to take the next best OT available. The OT position can't be ignored and put to chance again this year.

It has to be All or Nothing. At this point I think Ross should either let Ireland and Philbin go or he has to keep them both for one more year. Not good to divide them up and limit talent from coming to Miami because of it. I think they are staying...not my choice...but I think that will be how it plays out.

Whatever the decision, it will be wrong. This predcition is based on track record.

DC, I can't understand why we would be so bad with at late down and short distances conssidering who our Qb is. One thing nobody can question is he as big as really big tailback and knows how to take on tacklers. It should be Brady/Fielder style sneaks every freakin time. Add in the fact that our pro bowl (inderservedly) o lineman is our centre.

Why give it our c level rbs and depend on our f grade linemen to do the job?

As much as it pains me we need to sit tight. Always said Irland had two major problems he rellies on injury prone acorns and he has the worst luck of any G.m. I can remember.

Add Keller, full year of Gibson, and take out the OL nightmare and we are probably in the playoffs.

McKinney, Incognito, Pouncey,Jerry, Martin should have been good enough. Probably would have been good enough.

Take out the scandal and the D probably plays harder instead of saving their bodies for next years contract. Crap why would Starks, Big Paul, and even Wake destory themselves when the O wasn't ready.

I dont think the players want to play for these guys, but we are not going to get much better on the market. Stay the course this time, fix the o-line, probably get a veteran RB and maybe let Keller have a chance to come back.

None of you guys talk about this but I would find the best strength and conditioning guru. We had way to many hammy and conditioning problems.

Maybe we should also be pointing the finger at the effort of the players. They might not like playing for Ireland/Philbin, but isn't this the time of year when they love to call our beloved Dolphins a business.

Well each player should look at ones self and find the courage to admit that each player needs to condition better, be better prepared, and work harder for us Dolphin fans that pay the crazy prices. Really you work for the fans not Ross. Having enough pride in ones product, i.e. ones player self, should be enough to demand more for next season.

You stay the course and grin and bear it. Maybe Irelands bad luck with change??? Probably better candidates next year than this. To replace Ireland and the rest if needed.

I for one would like to see some sense of a Positive Dolphin Way reform. Oh the Days of Shula do I miss.

Mike Sherman released

Here's another question. Up until 2012, would you have wanted joe flacco as QB instead of Ryan Tannehill? If so, why? I agree with JPAO. Tannehill is a starter that needs a good offense around him. Flacco finally had all the pieces in Balt and delivered them a Super Bowl title.

Enough with Ryan Tannehill. He is not the problem. He needs better surrounding cast (OL) and better coaching....

Mike Sherman is history.


I only mention the logo and color scheme because it goes with my reference about not spending money of the brand. When I wear my stuff I had years ago, the kids today refer to it as "retro" or "classic". My wife refers to it as "old" lol.

So, Sherman is the fall guy. That means the rest of the sorry staff and QB will be around...AWesome

Maybe we can trade up to #3 and grab Bortles from UCF. A winner! and that's where he's projected to go to Jax

Ross' helicopter - HeliFin

Get Scott Pioli - best judge of talent out there - just don't let him pick a coach.

Get rid of OC and Offensive Line coach and let Joe get someone he can work with.

Get one of Ross' bud (Peterson) for front office and let Dawn Aponte go to NFL office - she deserves it.

Mando didn't 'write fiction' when describing the names mentioned. He was simply outlining what Ross' options were if Ireland was to go or, even, stay.

You can say whatever you want about Ross but one thing you can't say is that he's cheap. You can say that he's not able to grasp what a winning organization needs to be successful. You can say that his views on continuity or loyalty are misplaced. You'd have a hard time convincing me that after what he spent on FA's last summer that he's cheap!

We're stuck with Ross, or until he sells or expires. Most rich people have high self esteem and on ego to match. It would go against Ross' grain to walk, or run, away from this challenge. If he were to walk then he would be admitting defeat and that's something a person like Ross would find very hard to do.

As far as Ireland, I just can't see justification for his continued run as GM.

I can see Philbin lasting another year, with or without a shake up in his coaching staff.

Someone will, most probably, be sacrificed for the Martin fiasco. Don't know who but it would probably be best if he could tie Ireland to this and kill two birds with one stone.

As far as Sherman is concerned I'm not impressed with his imagination. He was saddled with on impossible OL to work around. That doesn't give him a pass, because of his other shortcomings, but probably gives him another year.

My main complaint centers on Coyle. In his two years here the defense has suffered a steady decline. Granted he was given two LBers that proved totally inefficient. Or was his use of Ellerbe one of those 'not putting a player into position to succeed'? Regards to Wheeler I see no hope. But we're stuck for another year whether we like it or not with both and additional dead money for three years after that.

The San Francisco 49er's have the most draft choices of all teams this draft (9). They need another 5-6 players to fill out their roster like they need another hole in their head. We have either 6 (we probably lost our 5th or 6th to Baltimore based on McKinnie's playing time) or 5, tieing us with the lowest total of any team. I saw a draft article where we traded our 4th, last year, to the Brown's and they then traded that pick away. Not at all certain that we did that. But we're left with either 5 or 6 draft choices and we need 3 or 4 OL, a DT, a starting RB and a future ILB. So when we get around to talking about the draft I see us getting tied up with San Fran as our most prudent trading partner. After all our needs won't be met trading up, we need so much. And OGs and RBs can be had in the 2nd and 3rd.

Just an opinion.

Ryno...get a new wife and kids! Then ware what you want.

Dunno what to make of the situation. Ross is taking his time and that to me leans towards saving more jobs if only temporarily.

If Mando's reports are true Aponte seems bent to get the NFL job if she can pull it off. Hiring her as the 1st female GM may be the only way to keep her in the fold. In a male dominated sport many would be fine if she leaves instead of having her run the team.

Ireland has had the longest tenure and this past years draft netted miniscule results in 2013. I have to question drafting players with pre existing "injuries" in 1st rounder Dion Jordan and 2nd rounder Jamar Taylor. The injuries were known and yet they were added to help? If these two players don't come storming back in year 2 it will be a HUGE indictment of Ireland's draft inability. Little contribution from the others reveals not many pure hits.

The roster is littered with place keepers and medium level players with quite a number of subpar players. It would seem a new GM with a different eye for an ideal player would be hired. This person would be be able to take inventory for a year as Philbin and whatever assistants are left get evaluated for long ability based on performance up to the end of next year.

If that new GM felt like the ship would not be sailing into the sunset on a better course they could clean house. If the Fins were in the Playoffs and had improvement over the previous 2 years than they could be extended. This option gets Ross over a fire everyone option which would not behoove attracting high level Coaches and GMs based on such a short leash mentality.

As many have stated this is the most Jekyll/Hyde Fins team I can remember. It's hard to find a happy mental medium between beating a number of good teams (Bolts, Indy, NE, Pitt and Cincy) only to epic fail vs the Bills and Jets.

In the end, there is no 100% sure fire way to fix the Fins. It seems like at the very least a new OC would have to be netted. Depending on the tricky bond with Philbin and Sherman it may be a package deal regardless. My thought is that Ireland has had enough time to get talented players (via Draft and FA) and return to the playoffs but, that has not happened.

I would vote him off Fin Island.


PS If Ross keeps them all it will be a tough sell to most of Fin Nation.

Addendum: Whelp,...part of the equation is clear. Sherman is now swimming with da fishes...so to speak.


Lastly Tannehill has made strides from year one to year two. Especially considering his limited background at QB. That said if he cannont find a way to become at least 40% - 50% better on deep throws it will be his undoing.

The playoffs have already highlighted that in this offense oriented league you HAVE to be able to come back from being down on the scoreboard. If Luck has Tannehill's deep ball accuracy there is no way they come back. Wallace was open a bunch of times this year by multiple yards. Many more of those have to become TD's for the Fins to take the next step. With a new OC, a better OL and some semblence of a run game the Win total should increase.

If the opportunity presents itself to get a quality QB prospect they should draft one. The Fins need the QB cupboard full in order to protect against Tannehill's regression or lack of improvement in year three.


You maki to many mistaki in your writing, Canadien. You no use spellchecker? Or are you writing from work? I will tell your boss.


Mr. HELICOPTER, if you want to safe this team sale it and the Stadium to.

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

Two is greater than one. But of cource close your eyes and throw a dart and eventually you will hit the dart board.

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