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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.

Genius!

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.

Comments

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jpao...another good word 'inexcusable'! Now we have embarrassing, pathetic and now inexcusable! Just keeps getting better and better.

As bad as this looks and as bad as Ross is as an owner, if they hire someone who hits the ball out of the park, it could turn around very quickly. Just hire someone so we can move on.

Mr. Ross:

Please Make Aponte the GM. Give Philbin final say on personnel. Promote Gaines and give him a raise. Have Gaines and Philbin report to Aponte. Have Aponte report to you.

Enough with the sink or swim with the new GM hire. Before Jeff Ireland was fired there seemed to be 3 shares of power Ireland, Philbin, and Aponte in that order and of course Ross’s ear and check book. Rewind until today. The Czar Ireland type of power isn’t coming with the new GM job so there’s going to be candidate’s turn down the position on that single merit alone. In the beginning we fans were saturated with Philbin’s WC offense zone blocking running merits he would install. Ireland didn’t do a very good job of making that happen. I’m convinced Philbin will have a much increased role in player acquisition for his vision of the team. Aponte’s power has to increase, salary cap and roster make-up are Siamese twins dictating success in today’s NFL. One caveat I love Dion Jordan, but did that pick hastens Ireland out the door instead of selecting an Offensive Left Tackle, or a free agent OT like Brandon Albert. One of those two choices appears to be worth a win or two which translates to play offs. Player development by coaches will fix some problems example this year: Jared Odrick. The #1 fix for the GM is the Offensive Line fan or not the whole NFL will be watching and commenting, no one will forget the 58 sacks. Thanks SteFin13

Geez this is hysterical how pathetic the Dolphins are thought of. Its like they are lepers haha

Armando is a cancer for the Miami Dolphins!

Best. Armando. Blog. Post. Ever.

Armando's just as much a fan as the rest of us, people. He's not some Jets fan only writing about the Fins because it's his job. He's just as depressed, disheartened, demoralized, disillusioned and disgusted as the rest of us. maybe even more so since he deals with this clown show on a daily basis. Armando is the cook working in the restaurant kitchen who knows how disgusting the place really is.

Frank in PA.....

I believe that is the same Peter King who picked us to go to the SB in 2007....we finished a ucky 1-15 that year thanks to Brian Billick and his no ball$ decision to kick a game tying FG from the one yard line....

would you like to know what else Peter King is wrong about....because finding out what he has been right about seems to be an exercise in futility....

Armando is a cancer for the Miami Dolphins!
Posted by: Jax | January 26, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Huh???

Posted by: Iowa Phin Fan | January 26, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Bud, I don't ascribe to the "blame the press" defense here. Let's just take the facts, even from the team's prospective. The press didn't make the list of candidates, Miami did. A few people at the beginning they showed interest in didn't even want to be part of the process (their teams asked Miami to take them out of consideration). That's all public knowledge, not some conspiracy theory.

Then all those that rejected Miami's offers (either to further interviews or actual job offers): Licht, Farmer, Caserio, etc.). I'm not sure Xanders too his name out of consideration, but maybe he did too.

Then the press does it's JOB by following leads and so they talk to people in the industry (I myself don't talk to NFL personnel folks, I highly doubt most posters here do). So why wouldn't we accept the consensus NOT just from Mando but pretty much EVERY Miami reporter that in NFL circles Miami is mentioned in terms of dysfunction and ineptitude regarding this GM search?

Take all that together and what you have is NOT "us against the world", it's a sign of a problem in the franchise. You're not wrong to "pile on", you're wrong to simply dismiss all this as "noise" and think the fans shouldn't believe their lying eyes. That works in dictatorships and repressive regimes but in a democratic society, calling everyone who exposes FACTUAL evidence that's harmful to you a liar is not a particularly helpful sign if you really care about said organization.

The best thing Miami can do is LISTEN to the criticism and make the necessary changes to start the process of improving and not keep digging the ditch they have not been able to get out of for the last decade.

Posted by: proSmart | January 26, 2014 at 08:11 AM

You did not read my previous posts about Scott Pioli. You are clueless because you can not read.

would you like to know what else Peter King is wrong about....because finding out what he has been right about seems to be an exercise in futility....

Posted by: Kris (in Germany) | January 26, 2014 at 11:06 AM


Ditto for you

The Dolphins got a Hickey!!

Finally the search is over. Not real happy with this guy. But he is our guy now.

new post up. Dolphins hire Dickey.

As far as Aponte goes forget the gender thing. That's irrelevant. It's the whole "non-owner person more in charge of a football team than the GM or coach" that's the root of the problem.

Never in my life have I seen a sports team where the financial person not qualified to coach or acquire players was running the whole thing to this degree. And right now we're seeing that there's a good reason for that.

*Hickey*

"The Dolphins got a Hickey!!"

I'm not believing this until 48 hours go by and he hasn't backed out.

BTW it really says something when one guy calls him Dickey. LOL

Why are all these candidates shying away? Because Ross won't give them a straight forward, consistent answer as to what the structure will be. When that happens candidates feel they are being lied to (they are) and run away as fast as they can. Ross is the issue. He comes from real estate where the truth is the victim in minute number one of your career.

Daryl D.....

I am not @ all making the case that Tanne is the reason GMs don't want to come here.....

I am merely saying that if he was better @ his craft...the GM's would more likely to jump @ this job....

in other words....while Tanne may not hurt the process.....he certainly doesn't help it either....the way a sure-fire (in the making) superstar QB might......

my point....If these GM candidates who study FOOTBALL...and FOOTBALL PLAYERS....thought as highly of Tanne or even Tanne's potential as some on here do....then we would have a GM already....

I hope that clears it up....

DC DolFan's post was brilliant BTW.

DC Dolphin...good one. Especially about continuing to dig the ditch bigger that got this franchise into the s**t in the first place.

Look Dawn may well be fine, its the relationship she has with Philbin and the fact she stuck the knife in Ireland that is keeping people away. Posted by Marco
============================================================
Marco,

She was going to be fired by Ireland and protected herself. This fiasco is not about her but about staying with Ireland and allowing him to create a bad culture with the team. Ireland should have been fired when Sparano was or right after Parcells left. Let's see if Jeff gets another final decision making position in the NFL again.

It's clear Ross has his mind made up that he wiill be, needs to be, the czar of football ops. He owns the team, has a philosophical commitment to organizational structure. And obviously knows it all. Peterson is just a Yes man in the end.

If this team were listed on the nyse the stock it would be plummeting. It all starts with leadership and results do matter.

Like I posted a few minutes ago. It comes down to mis-trust. This is not a good thing. No matter who they hire that person will spend as much time looking over their shoulder as they will be working to acquire talent. Think of the optics here:

Coach/capologist conspire (true or not) and get the GM fired.

Coach doesn't play GM drafted players. Blames the GM.

Owner allows front office hi-jinx and high school like cliques to fester.

Coach hires subordinates with little to no NFL experience. Won't fire any after obivous and repeated failures.

Coach show little fortitude by first refusing to fire his OC, then does a 180 and fires him in what appears a self presevation move

Capologist/Coach form an alliance to consolidate their power. Owner goes along.

Owner aligns himself with others who have not won in the NFL and has a fondness for Jets front office failures.

Owner relies on his frienship with a former "all powerful GM" who not for a second would take this GM job give the front office set up being sold.

Like I said...it's a bad optic smothered over with mistrust.

No idea why a capologist has so much power..I mean there always being capologist around but we never even knew their name (like the guy from the heat, who is doing a great job, but we hear nothing about him)

Why someone good with numbers and law is so involved with football matters? We have never seen that in any sport...looks like we are paying dearly for it

The fact the aponte has been traveling with Ross in his private plane and after that she got a promotion, doubled her salary and right now appears as the most powerful executive (more than the gm), all this with a football all knowledge less than most fans is very disturbing.

I wonder how apontes husband feels about it, a 100% salary increase sounds very strange after staring flying with her boss one on one. I mean the chick is no beauty queen but is doable. Specially for an old man like Ross (yes I know he can get any hooker he wants, but it is not the same)

Either way Ross is betting in 2 bad horses, philbin and aponte.

Noticed how no one has called Ireland and Sherman for an interview? That wold be the exact case with philbin...he is nothing special...Ireland was right, he sat and watched how our season was dying in our last 2 games and did nothing...nothing...what great play
Or adjustment did we witness while that was happening?

Ever seen philbin writing notes, talking to players, kind of like BB. He is always busy during the game, always.....philbin just his dumb look. Fire him and I bet no one will hire him as a hc...kind of the same that happened with Sparano

This is decently an embarrasment


Kris,

Sorry man, I think you are WAY over-simplifying the situation. Its not the QB, its the structure of the team. The owner has tied his wagon to Philbin and I think thats a huge mistake. He did the same with Ireland when he was shopping for a GM.

Not sure you'll get this because I know you think Philbin should be given 5 years in the job. I'm saying what has he done to earn that loyalty. You make fun of Jeff Fisher because hes a .500 HC. Philbin's not even a .500 HC.

Posted on this site during season last year that it was my last year as a Dolphin fan. Deep down I had hoped that they would change my mind by making the playoffs or making strong decisions early in the offseason.That hasn't happened and it's become a situation where I feel as if I'm dating a hot chick that has nothing to say. Sure it's great at first but you can't keep living with that empty feeling you get when your in a conversation with that 9 you met and her personality is a 2. The personality of the Miami Dolphins is defined by its owner and every decision he has made has been wrong, even the uniforms are a joke.Made my decision today I'm a Baltimore Raven fan until Ross is gone and maybe beyond that Phinjunky is dead. Remember Dolphins fans things won't change until seats are empty.

Jmike - Leave it to dopes like you to offer your opinion on someone offering an opinion on what we're all here to talk about, the dolphins past mistakes. Put your panties back on, go get some hair plugs and get out of your mothers basement. Try offering an opinion of your own and knock off acting like a 10 year old girl. If they dangled enough of a carrot I'm sure Marino would consider it. And I said they would hire someone to help with the evaluating, etc.- maybe you should wipe the shite from your eyes before making yourself look ignorant. Then again, I'm sure just attacking someone else's ideas without offering one of your own is what makes you feel good about yourself. Dope.

The reason Manning, Fisher, Harbaugh among others have refused to be a part of the Phins has been the lack of talent on the team.

Manning doesn't have many years left. The Broncos had more talent at the time and gave him the best chance of getting back to the SB. Which they have in his second year. I don't believe he'd have gotten the Phins to the SB ever with their lack of talent.

Harbaugh decided to coach a team loaded with talent than have to be rebuilding a talent challenged team.

Fisher had the choice between two under-performing talent-less teams. The Rams were willing to give him all the power he wanted and a franchise QB (who might be traded this year) and the Phins wouldn't.

The new GM needs to be given the assurance that the HC answers to him and that he can fire him for underperforming in 2014.

Ross shouldn't be thrown under the bus for everything that's wrong with the team.

Picking talent in the draft or free agency is a hit-or-miss situation for all NFL teams. Some GMs are good and many are just lucky with their picks. The Phins SB wins in the 1970's were with players that Shula had no involvement in picking.

Hiring Parcells and his crew was a mistake that can't be undone. Gaine is the last remnant of that regime.

The new GM should be given the power to fire Gaine if he so chooses to.

How could someone trust an underling that wanted his job? I've seen this situation in business. The person that gets the job doesn't want to have his former opponent undermining his authority (to get him fired).

Old uncle Joe is moving kinda slow at the junction,,,,petticoat junction,,,,

The whole issue with this organization is Ross, plain and simple. We never had these issues when Huizenga was the owner.

The truth is, no matter who you have running personnel and football operations, you never want a Fan-as-Owner in the NFL. It's not working for Dan Snyder in Washington, either. Owners let their emotions get involved, and from there, it's not about football anymore. It becomes something about reputation and well wishes that never come to fruition because business is not instinctively an emotional endeavor. So, until Ross decides to either separate his emotions from team decisions, or sell, the Dolphins aren't likely to acquire any kind of proven talent at either personnel or football operations.

sad indeed! after the first season with philbin as hc I was willing to cut him some slack. now im starting to see things in a different way. first he got rid of marshal because of his attitude then got rid of vonte davis for taking to many pee breaks, got rid of reggie bush because he didn't have a 1,500 yard season with a ol that wasn't good at run blocking and no one could have ran for 1,500 yards. failed last year to recognize the ol was terrible in training camp. failed to recognize the incognito incident. lost twice to the bills. the bills!! which cost them a playoff spot and yet he is still around. what the hell does ross see in this guy? sad part is if ross sells the team the new owner might just move the team. the Miami dolphins fanbase is not he Cleveland browns fanbase where they will pay money year after year to watch crap just so they can have a team. look at the situation in LA. they still don't have a team. the same thing could happen here in fact we could lose the team to LA. does anyone really want to watch the los angeles dolphins? only a possibility but who knows. I will not waste anymore money on direct tv or buy anymore merchandise until this mess is cleared up if it ever is. might be a no win situation!

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