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Dolphins turned Caserio into Manchurian candidate

For two days -- on Friday and Saturday -- the Dolphins graciously and eagerly hosted Nick Caserio in interviews to fill their general manager job. The New England Patriots director of player personnel met with and glad-handed the people that are supposed to be the best and the brightest the Dolphins have, including owner Stephen Ross. And while the Miami hierarchy tried to learn about this candidate as they considered him for their opening, it now becomes quite clear they didn't learn nearly enough.

They didn't learn that even as they were becoming comfortable with Caserio, he wasn't getting quite so cozy with them.

They didn't know that as they were seeing him in the Dolphins future he wasn't sharing their vision and probably never really intended to be part of that future -- based on the fact, as the NFL Network reported Saturday night, no one with the rival Patriots organization believed Caserio was truly serious about leaving to Miami.

They didn't know that as they were opening themselves up to Caserio -- sharing whatever institutional proprietary insights one unveils in such meetings -- he was simply taking it in and getting ready to carry it back to mother New England.

And so when the Dolphins offered their latest candidate the job on Saturday all they actually did was empower a Manchurian candidate.

Caserio no only turned down the Dolphins but seemingly used them to get a raise or promotion in New England. He turned down Miami, as the Patriots thought he would the entire time, and dealt the Dolphins something of an embarrassing rejection.

(For those keeping count of Dolphins rejections during this search: At least four candidates turned down intial interview requests. One finalist turned down a second interview. And the Manchurian candidate turned down the job.)

What's next? Brian Gaine, who's worked for the Dolphins for six years under Jeff Ireland, is offered the job and he quits on the spot?

Yes, that's a joke. A bad one. It's called gallows humor.

And if you think this situation is not worthy of mocking consider the past month ...

Needing one win to make the playoffs the Dolphins get shut out by the division's last-place team then show an alarming amount of regression in getting spanked by a team they had utterly dominated only a few weeks before.

After meetings and negotiations and much flying on his helicopter, Ross decides he wants to demote general manager Jeff Ireland. Ross had to offer a demotion because he had told Ireland multiple times this season his job was safe -- including only days before proposing the demotion. So Ireland declines this wonderful offer and gets a seven-figure settlement to mutually agree to part ways with the Dolphins.

Then we find out Ireland and coach Joe Philbin and executive VP Dawn Aponte weren't playing nice together much of the season. Oh, Philbin and Aponte were on the same page, but they were squarely aligned against Ireland. Office politics come to life in the NFL.

Then Ross asked Philbin to do what everyone on the planet knew needed done and get rid of offensive coordinator Mike Sherman because the Miami offense was about as effective as a Band-Aid for treating a gunshot wound much of the season and particularly during the playoff push that fizzled. And Philbin resisted! He didn't want to fire his friend Sherman.

Obviously, someone convinced Philbin to pull the trigger or perhaps Sherman volunteered to go -- who knows and who cares. But the fact the head coach didn't see the problem about 5,498,396,992 other people saw speaks volumes.

Following so far? We haven't even gotten to the pratfalls of the current general manager search yet.

The Dolphins decided they're not going to interview the most experienced people. They didn't interview or even show nterest in Scott Pioli primarily because Carl Peterson, who is Ross's GM whisperer, hates Pioli for what the former Kansas City general manager said about Peterson and did in KC after Peterson was fired there years ago.

Peterson did, however, identify several men he was familiar and comfortable with and brought them in for interviews. Peterson brought in Ray Farmer and Lake Dawson and both were tapped as finalists.

But both did not interview because Farmer became the public face of misgivings about the Dolphins so many others around the NFL share privately: Farmer was uncomfortable with the Dolphins structure and some of the people in that structure.

So everyone else apparently sees something strange about having a general manager, head coach and executive VP answering to no one other than an owner who is absentee. Awesome, so the guy who isn't around decides who is right or wrong when things get sideways -- and for the Dolphins they seemingly always get sideways.

Many NFL people also see this job as one where the new GM is already the odd man out because the head coach and executive VP are already aligned and, by the way, that alliance helped usher out the last GM.

What was it Nick Saban would often say? "The best prediictor of future behavior is past behavior."

Ross, of course, probably doesn't recognize he has a problem. He had the problem in Janaury 2012 when he tried to hoist an unproven general manager on a proven coach and was surprised and disappointed when the proven coach -- Jeff Fisher -- didn't go for it. Fisher turned Ross down cold when he was offered the job.

So did Ross learn? Oh, yes he did, but not the way anyone with sense would hope.

Ross obviously understood that attempting to hoist an unproven coach on a proven GM would not fly this time. So rather than solve the problem on the front end by eliminating the unproven coach or offering a proven GM authority over the unproven coach, the owner went for this backended solution:

Let's hire an unproven GM who will accept the unproven coach. After all, it worked when he hired the unproven coach to go with our last unproven GM.


What Ross obviously didn't count on is that his organization now has a reputation league-wide and it is not good, folks.

The team's repuation took a hit when Ross embarrassed himself during the Jim Harbaugh chase in 2011.

The team's reputation was cracking when Ross wanted to hire a superstar head coach in 2012 but Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden waved off overtures and Fisher turned down the job.

The Dolphins' reputation was already fractured when Peyton Manning wouldn't return their calls and the team had to beg Dan Marino to call Manning to ask please, please, please take a meeting with the team during his free agency derby.

And the Dolphins' reputation is totally broken now, as people most fans didn't even know weeks ago -- such as Farmer and now Caserio -- blow off Miami's best attempts to hire them.

Many people would say it's amazing Ross, a man who made a fortune in real estate, simply cannot close for the Dolphins. But it's not really unexpected. He's never going to land great people as long as he continues the habit of hiring inexperienced and unproven people and giving them contract extensions, promotions or his undying loyalty after they fail.

But don't worry. All is not lost.

Later today or tomorrow the Dolphins will hire a general manager. And, of course, he will be the man the Dolphins wanted all along, the right candidate.

Never mind that the team already tried to hire the Manchurian candidate.


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Teams do commonly hire GM's that don't have the authority to hire/fire coaches. That can't be it...leading me back to Aponte. How can a GM not have final say over his capologist and representative to the league on football matters??? That's why this search is failing and Ross can't see he created this problem. It comes down to poor leadership structure and not enough authority. Aponte is the problem. She needs to go or be told you will report to the new GM or pack up.

Carry your arguement out to its conclusion then. Why not have the HC as a woman ?

Posted by: Marco | January 26, 2014 at 09:18 AM

This is like saying why not have a woman NT. Stupid. She is not a coach, that isn't her job. She is a business woman with tons of experience in the NFL. She is not a HC nor a GM nor does she pretend to be. All reports from her previous teams including the NFL say she is stellar at what she does. I know that scares Marco...a woman 10 times more successful than he will ever be. Boo.

this is on carl Peterson. he was loathed in kc and should be here.

Aponte is no different than Bryan Weidmeier except for the fact that she's a female.

So these minority candidates don't want to work with a chick? That's fresh.

We cleaned house and that got us Parcells, Ireland, and Sparano. We're still trying to clean up that mess. Can't say I blame ross for not wanting to do that again.

The local beat writer's obsession with philbin is annoying. as if hey have an axe to grind.

Armando, have you for one second thought that Bellicheck made his guy available to the Fins so that he can gain more insight (from the inside) on the Fins so that they can continue to make the Fins life miserable going forward? I would have never,ever interviewed this guy!

Dawn Aponte is a finance professional in the field of sports. And a damn good one. She is probably the one sole member of the organization that is excellent at what she does.


Marco, plenty of immigrant dishwasher girls you can pick up here that won't scare you.

The Belecheat spy has now left town after implanting bugs thought out the davie complex to explore the real meaning of..
48 GO
48 GO GO

To DC dolfan at 8.57
Great post man dont forget about Xanders. Thats four right there. Truly a hard hit i wake up to this piece of info.
The fanbase knows the inability to hire quality GMs is on philbin and his coaches. And to a degree diehard fans know Apontes meddling has also caused this.

My guess as well is we hire Gaine. He gets his year to prove Thr nfl what he can do. If he succeeds then great! But he has a huge handicap with philbin and coyle as the coaches.
I can imagine Gaine drafting similar to mocks and need very basic since this will be his first year. Who knows maybe tht works, but the talent has to be used right and everyday Joe Philbin shoots us in the leg both on and off the court.

Marco is afraid of girls more successful than him. Well I guess that leaves him with few options. LOL


That's right MPMISAF and why is everyone so scared of a chick with a dcik?

Zach Thomas for GM

I woke up feeling great knowing that I wasn't part of the Dolphin organization. Mentioned last night this would probably happen. "Oh, what a beautiful morning..!"

If this group remains Miami Dolphin fans, as I suspect the vast majority will, the group still must put up with Ross. He may never sell in his lifetime. Unless the shame of utter failure finally gets to him. That would mean that, to start, Philbin proves beyond a question that he's what he appears. Poor coaching decision by Ross (Peterson?). This is like the Bush/Chaney years. One person is the 'leader of the free world' and the other is continuing to give bad advise again and again. The problem is that the fans would have to endure another bad season. And the problem with that is the talent level (even with a possible total whiff in last years draft) is good enough to cover up the incompetence of the coaching staff. Just shows how important the picker of the talent really is!!!

Zach thomas can't spell dolphins and you want him as GM?
Why because he hid behind Daryl Gardener and Larry Chester while making tackles?

Capologists are not coaches and coaches are not apologists - most are too dumb for that. They understand x's and o's fine, but anything beyond 3rd grade arithmetic is too complex for them.

Dummy dummy dummy that's what Ross said

Ross has placed his trust in Peterson and you see what we got?? There is nothing left. Ireland must be laughing. If you are going to clean house, you clean house. From the GM to the ball boy. This is embarrassing

Marco is afraid of girls more successful than him. Well I guess that leaves him with few options. LOL

Posted by: More proof Marco is a Foolco | January 26, 2014 at 09:32 AM

you sound like a lady, to be so furious and emotional. Sorry darling, but male or female forming a posioness alliance with a HC against your GM is not going to attract anyone to this organisation.

You are hooked on the woman thing, ok you are either a lady yourself or have been or are being dominated by a woman every day of your life ?

Ask your self the question why are all of the candidates dropping like flies, don't worry about attacking me focus on the bigger picture.


Hurt Ross in the only place he cares about. The wallet. No tickets, no merchandise. No TV.
Screw him because all he wants to do is screw you. He is a hack. A schmendrik. A schmegeggi. A hazer. He gives schpilkies. We need another owner.

why is everyone complicating this? just put Gaine in. get some more o-line. and hope our new oc can call plays.

One giant catastrophe after another over the last 15 years. I must either hate myself or be a world class masochist to remain a Dolphin's fan.

bobbyd.....it passed 'embarrassing' days ago.

Make mike Wallace the gm

Who in their right mind would want to walk into this GM position the way it is structured? It's really nothing more than glorified scout with very restricted authority. It's setting yourself up for failure and the way Aponte and Philbin aligned against Ireland was horrible. Who really wants to step that as well?

This franchise looks sooooo bad right now and it keeps getting egg all over its face !!!!!!! We are nothing but a laughing stock of the league how sad it is.

Seems like every day I ask myself, how much lower can we sink? Is today the bottom or more to come? You would think even Ross could see the problems by now.

No qualified candidate wants this job. Not with the limitations Ross has imposed, namely no power to hire and fire. No qualified candidates wants this job when he's forced to work with a unqualified HC. No qualified candidate wants this job as a glorified scout.

Even the guy farmer from CLEVLAND wanted nothing to do with us

why is everyone complicating this? just put Gaine in. get some more o-line. and hope our new oc can call plays.

Posted by: mike louis | January 26, 2014 at 09:42 AM

Why ? Gaine is here already and isn't going anywhere.

We need a new outlook and someone that can raise the level of talent acquisition around here, with go with the more of the same.

This just keeps the admin guy Philbin happy and Dawn, who crunches numbers and GM's satisfied.

"It's setting yourself up for failure and the way Aponte and Philbin aligned against Ireland was horrible. Who really wants to step that as well?

Posted by: TruthhurTs "

Meh, everyone hated Ireland, players, other GMs, and staff. He was universally despised, it's hard to fault Aponte and Philbin for that.

If We flop this year then we will definitely clean house. Aponte and Philbin will be gone and coyle and gaine and the entire coaching staff.
We will begin a overhaul. Its sad guys like thill grimes vernon Jordan etc. really want to succeed with this organization yet the owner coach and capologist are pretty much assuring them there demise.
If we overhaul remember that a lot of the players that will leave will have better careers because they will be getting coached(unlike philbin who teaches and adjusts nothing)

Wallace just said he should have had 20 more touchdowns this season. What interested me is he said "they" did not correctly use his talent. Hope Lazor finds a way to atleat get wallace to double digits

Now if you where one of these remaining candidates should you take this job.helllll no

I will post again when the GM has been picked. See you all until then!!

I think a couple of things should be clarified about employment practices in general.
1) It is not at all unusual for someone already employed to interview for another job. Especially if that job might represent upward mobility.
2) The employer is supposed to use the interview process to find out why the candidate can't do the job, not try to sell the candidate.
3) The candidate is supposed to use the interview to sell themselves to an employer and find out if there are things about the job that may make it not something they want to do.
4) If an employer is sold on a candidate, the usual process would be to ask the candidate, "if you are offered the job will you take it?" before announcing who was selected.
5) It is not unusual for a current employer learning that one of their current employees is perhaps desireable, to offer that employeee enducements to stay.
In this case, it looks like the Dolphins violated one or more of the above concepts and in so doing have made themselves look desperate. (always a red flag to prospective employees)

This whole thing reminds me of the 'battered wife syndrome'. She keeps crawling back to him, apologizing for his beating of her! We keep taking the hits, as fans, but are continuing to come back for more!

"If We flop this year then we will definitely clean house."

Posted by: Emperor of Reason

Probably, and that's why no one wants this GM job. It's career suicide if you go one and done.

I know that scares Marco...a woman 10 times more successful than he will ever be. Boo.

Posted by: More proof Marco is a Foolco | January 26, 2014 at 09:29 AM

What success ? She has never been part of a winner and looks like she is tough and backstabbing. Plenty of women can con and manipulate, just as men do. However Ross is such a poor evaluator of ability in football terms, he gets fooled on a constant basis. Keep up with the news please and try to hold your emotions in check.

Well we're left with a 5th choice puppet to DawnJoe.

Just read now they are back to considering Hickey from TB.He worked for 18 years there,and wasn't even interviewed for open TB Gm spot. Doesn't that raise any red flags for Miami..complete embarassment.


Minus that by ONE Armando.....Dash thought Sherman and his ONE BILLION (by his count...not mine) offensive formations (per game).....was doing a great job....

Who cares... All this negative BS just keeps placing reporters in front of cameras, good job Armando! Maybe ESPN will come calling because they are great at making news instead of reporting it...

What your telling us is, this is a tough job and there are a bunch of candidate cry babies that are afraid of Dawn Aponte, really? If it was easy there would be 32 million jobs like it, but there are only 31 other opportunities and if these fawns can't handle it we should thank them for getting out of the way.

Do you really think there was a chance at landing Jim Harbaugh when SF (where he lived as coach at Stanford) offered the same job? Like Jeff Fisher didn't know the Rams had Sam Bradford and a zillion draft picks? If Ray Farmer wants to remain an assistant in Cleveland because he's afraid of Dawn Aponte then please, do stay Ray. Peyton Manning was in the QB mutual admiration society with John Elway before he even left the Colts! He knew where he was going and entertained Miami as a favor to Marino because he is another member of the club.

You're faulting Steven Ross for at least attempting try to talk to these people when Miami was not the best situation for them. You're creating a story Armando. It has zero merit and in doing so you're giving your home town team, the reason for your employment, a black eye.

You are writing these STORIES to place yourself above the team you're supposed to REPORT on. You are creating a negative environment with your constant rehashing of negative OPINIONS. Jeff Ireland was a terrible GM, but he was also your little insider. Yes Armando it was evident in your writing who was giving you the story.

If you hate this team, this owner and this town so much, get the hell out! Follow the wimps who will turn down an awesome opportunity because they know that will have to deal with you and would rather stay in freaking Cleveland! GO...

This is all on Ross. Just the fact he has to rely on Peterson for anything speaks volumes as to his football incompetency. No one wants to work for this bufoon. He even screwed up the choice of the new logo last year.
He has done basically nothing right the whole time he's been owner.

Ross unfortunately has a very close relationship with all the wrong people: Peterson, Aponte, that Higgins buffoon who is also attending all those executive decision meetings even though he has zero NFL experience and is a marketing guy, something this team also manages to flunk at somehow.

That folks is not going to change. Even if Goodell sits with Ross and suggests the idea of a czar, Ross would turn to the wrong aforementioned people. This must be the only team in the league with a dark figure like Peterson overseeing the most important hiring decisions even though he has no official capacity at all for the team. It is a joke.

The most troublesome part is Ross simply does not care. This pattern did not start yesterday, it has repeated itself many times since he became the owner. To Ross this was and is a hobby, a checked item in his bucket list. He misleads people into caring for the team when he opens up his wallet, his way to fix things. This is the first time I am going to say we really must pray for Ross to get tired of this hobby and sells the team. Unfortuantely by then this brand will be so repudiated in SoFla that I can see the LA Dolphins merchandise already.

#fukross #rosspos

This is just embarrassing!

gaine will do fine. the dolphins don't need another manager to complicate things. anyone can draft o-line and pay free agents. the only reason they didn't make the playoffs is lack of o-line, injuries, tannehills inability to hit the deep pass, and wrong oc. so now we have a new oc who is a quarterback coach. hopefully tannehill can do better with a better o-line. but all this chatter worrying about who's going to be the gm is a complete waste of time.

Just wonder if some of our free agents (Grimes, Soliai, etc.) decisions going to be affected by this circus? Hard to get a good coach to come here, apparently difficult for a GM of any quality to put down roots and will this effect the players? Or will money still win the day when it comes to the players? Which may mean that this franchise will have to overpay again and again.

At some point we must ask ourselves if all these boneheaded moves are all premeditated. Ross has too much business acumen to let this happen.

I have to start thinking that at least there is the possibility that after Ross was denied public funds that there is veracity about moving the team to LA for a very rich ransom. In fact it is completely possible that even Goodell may be helping this cause somehow.

I guess we will know once and if there is such offer for Ross. I for one do not plan to invest one more penny on this farce.

Posted by: signal | January 26, 2014 at 09:50 AM

The people running this mess, Ross and DawnJoe have hijacked this team from under us. Look at the personality of Philbin and his gutless lack of emotion.

We are going nowhere and the rest of the NFL has washed its hands of us. The players still turn up, pick up their checks, have some fun and then move on. Showing real leadership on this team gets you cut or traded. Philbin cannot cope with personalities stronger than his own. This is why DawnJoe was formed. To anchor itself against any aggressor and keep the jobs they have so long coveted. No one else would have Philbin as the HC in the entire league, just think about that. Dawn was instrumental in hiring Philbin, Ireland had no say in the matter, so Ross was guided by Dawn and Petersen. Truly Pathetic.

Patrick....your saying that all are wrong except Ross? Sure you're not Ross posting, I thought that only he could see everybody that's he's spoken with is wrong and he's still right, with a grand view of where this franchise is headed!!!

Love him or despise him the way it's shaping up it seems that it was possibly a huge mistake to take the half measure and fire Ireland. Not even the up and coming GM types want this job and for people to expect Ireland to thrive in that environment was ridiculous.

I couldn't care less about some of these candidates who have turned the team down. But you had better land Dawson. And you had better give him more authority over the situation. Ross is f#@!ing up again and this is almost comical, I would be laughing if I wasn't crying.

Putting aside the candidates because who knows if any of them would be good, it's the image that looks like s#@t. The fact all of these people are turning the team down at all is atrocious. ROSS SELL THE TEAM YOU MORON!!!

wow. some of you people are real conspiracy theorists.

Marco....your words 'truly pathetic' is a nice substitute for 'embarrassing'!! Not that the word doesn't apply but it's becoming redundant!

Got to find something else to do this morning like go to church! No, just kidding!

This team is becoming a pathetic mess under an owner who clearly doesn't understand this particular business. His NFL instincts are way off. Keeping Philbin was a major major mistake. It was clear to me when he fired Ireland and kept Phiblin and I am just a fan not an NFL owner.

That decision to not go 'All In' and fire GM and HC will be the downfall of this organization for many years to come. Philbin / Aponte and the power Ross has given them has clearly made this GM role something top talent and up 'n coming talent simply don't want. How much more clear can that be to Ross at this point? Does he really need Peterson to advise him on that?

Now, in order to save face, Ross will hire Gaine. Gaine will accept because really where is he going any time soon? He is a Parcels/Ireland protege and he hasn't received any offers from anywhere other than this pathetic organization.

Sad to see a once proud franchise fall to such embarrassing depths.

BobbyD summed it up perfectly.....

Ireland must be laughing. If you are going to clean house, you clean house. From the GM to the ball boy. This is embarrassing

Posted by: Bobbyd12 | January 26, 2014 at 09:38 AM

What more is there to really say than that....Good Post BobbyD.....and your the sights #1 Homer....season tickets and all....

Posted by: TruthhurTs | January 26, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Ireland actually put together his best roster. The big mistake was not taking Brandon Albert. Ireland put together a team god enough to make the playoffs. The coaches were not good enough to make the most of those players. Sadly it look guaranteed that Philbin will fail, with Ross and Dawn standing by his side. Pathetic.


couldn't this be as easily seen as the dolphins pumping up the prices of pats players?

How is that a bad thing?

Why is everything not a good thing automatically a bad thing for the phins?

Mike Louis,

Totally disagree. The new GM must be a supreme talent evaluator. The dolphins have not consistently drafted well since the 70s. If so, Marino would have won a few Super Bowls throughout the 80s and 90s and the franchise would not have fallen on hard times this last decade and a half.

Ej stockman,

Saban wanted brees. Randy mueller was convinced by renowned surgeon dr Andrews that Bree's shoulder wouldn't heal well so they went with a QB that Sabah didn't want bc (culpepper) he had a knee to rehab which was supposedly easier than a shoulder.

Perception is bad right now. I think to save face, you have to bring in Dawson or hickey just to try to improve perception and have them say in their first interview that they think the dolphins organizational structure is fine and they don't understand why others are rejecting it. I also like that Dawson is a minority, in the mold of newsome in Balt, and I think the league likes that. It's good PR. Give Dawson the job. Turn the caserio thing into a positive by saying that a NE employee duped you thereby making NE and Belichick look like cheaters and sneaks again.

I know Stephen Ross once again screwed the pooch, but it's time to move on. If he had cleaned house completely from the beginning, even Tom Gamble (The best GM candidate in the world) would have jumped at the chance for a GM job down here. Oh well, the next guy up is Dennis Hickey (Who I have also liked all along).The good thing about offering Dennis Hickey the job is, he has no other job waiting for him. So he's is VERY VERY unlikely to turn down the job. I like the idea of having two GM caliber people working the draft together (Hickey & Gaine). Furthermore I am NOT enamored with the draft picks Lake Dawson was a part of AT ALL. Miami should hire Dennis Hickey RIGHT NOW & move on from this catastrophe already.

jpao....I've been saying that for weeks. But, for the most part, I've felt that I was just talking to myself!

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