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Gaine completes finalist interview, reminds of past

The Dolphins on Friday evening completed their second interview with their in-house candidate, assistant general manager Brian Gaine. Gaine is the first finalist interviewed for the job and more finalists interviews are on tap this weekend with Lake Dawson on Saturday.

And like many Dolphins fans, I am torn.

I have tons of respect for Gaine and have no questions about his professionalism and ability to one day run his own personnel department.

Gaine knows what makes a good football player. He knows if a lineman's punch is good, he knows if a running back runs behind his shoulder pads, he knows it all.

But I cannot get over two things:

Number One: A personnel man who Gaines worked with years ago (not Jeff Ireland) told me recently there is one thing Gaine has trouble answering one question when he breaks down a player: Can he play?

If that sounds simplistic to you, I understand because it sounded that way to me initially. But isn't the answer to the question -- Can he play? -- the bottom line? Isn't a general manager's job ultimately to make a call that seems simple on the surface but is really at the fundamental core of talent evaluation success?

Understand that when these men worked together, it wasn't Gaine's job to make any final calls. He didn't get to show he could make that decision but neither is that proof he couldn't.

So take one man's opinion for what it is: One man's opinion.

Number Two: I've seen this movie before. I've seen it multiple times in my two decades covering the Dolphins.

Exactly 10 years ago this very month, the Dolphins demoted coach Dave Wannstedt by taking away his final say on personnel decisions. That happened after Wannstedt drafted Jamar Fletcher ahead of Drew Brees and Eddie Moore ahead of Anquan Boldin.

Anyway, the Dolphins set off on an extensive and exhaustive search for a general manager. They interviewed in-house candidate Rick Spielman, Ted Thompson, Jerry Reese, Tim Ruskell, Randy Mueller, Phil Savage, and even Paul Warfield.

And when it was over, the Dolphins promoted Spielman.

"The candidates we interviewed were just outstanding. Everyone (who) came in, we were impressed with," then owner Wayne Huizenga said. "But also along the way we interviewed and met with Rick three different times. And during the interview time, we finally came to the conclusion that the person we have in-house is as good as, or better than, the people we were talking to.

"While I know it may not be the popular decision to make, I am convinced 1,000 percent that it's the right decision for the Miami Dolphins."

Well, Thompson went on to put together a Super Bowl team in Green Bay. Reese put together two Super Bowl teams with the New York Giants. Spielman was fired within two years -- but not before he gave up a fourth-round pick to move up one spot -- from 20 to 19 -- in the 2004 first round so he could pick Vernon Carey.

The New England Patriots selected Vince Wilfork two picks later.

Two University of Miami players. Spielman traded up to pick the wrong one.

That Spielman draft also yielded such all-time greats as Tony Pape, Tony Bua, and Will Poole.

(Peanut gallery: But Mando, what does that have to do with today? That was a different ownership group, that was a different GM search, and Gaine is not Spielman).

Yes, peanut gallery, you've finally made some good points. And it is true Gaine and Spielman are not the same person.

But I'm scarred.

And a repeat of the same act, with different protagonists, has a term in the movie industry. It's called a remake. And remakes typically end the same way as the originals -- with the Dolphins picking a forgettable offensive lineman and the Patriots picking a difference-making defensive lineman. 

The bottom line is the mistakes Wannstedt made in the draft with Spielman at his side basically continued when Spielman was elevated. There was  a different person calling the shots, but the approach was sytematically the same, the kind of players the Dolphins went for were the same, how the Dolphins measured the critical factors they looked for in players was the same.

And so the results were, well, the same.

So if Gaine succeeds Ireland will everything be the same? Will the systematic approach be the same? Will the critical factors be measured the same way?

I am not saying they will be. I don't know.

But many fans grew tired of the past six seasons Ireland served as GM. They wanted him out. Gaine was under Ireland for six of those eight seasons. How much different will it be if he's promoted?

I do not know.


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This has been dragging on way too long. Thanks for the update, Armando.

Go Gaine Go!

Armando this is an accurate honest assessment. I would like to see Dawson and would have really liked Farmer.


I'm for Gaines because if/when Miami fails to make the playoffs again next season, everyone can be fired. If Ross hires a new GM, chances are he again tries to force him on the next coach and Miami again gets it's 3rd choice as coach rather than it's first.

i hope Mr. Ross reads this

Why dont the fans just fire Ross? Boycott the games and he'll have to sell. I'm sure Ross knows his real estate but I've never seen a more pathetic owner. He will never get it. Totally inept.

I have read this blog for four, five maybe six years. Pretty sure that I haven't even commented before and I couldn't agree more. Well said Armando! #Caserio #MiamiDolphins #bullseye

gm debacle

Why oh why do the Dolphins continually disappoint me and let me down? And why oh why do I always crawl back? God I hate being a fan of this team.

It doesn't matter, until Ross is gone.

Makes ZERO difference.

A big fat NO to Gaine!!

Rob, you got to love this team. It will take more than God to fix this front office. try to go with the flow, and take what happens and hope it gets better, however I will always be a fan because some day we will be better. Bill

I doubt Caserio will want this job unless he's allowed to clean house after the interview with this dysfunctional group but it helps Caserio get his name out there since he's only turned down offers to interview for GM jobs to this point. Caserio has a long career ahead of him, and the chance to connect with different organizations and get his name out there as being interested in GM jobs is invaluable. It also may help his current position/wallet in New England.

Any sign of Oscar, or is he out hunting my look alike that was giving his wife rides on the balony pony express?

so if the "systematic approach" is likely to be the same….if a "remake typically ends the same way as the original"….if "critical factors are measured the same way"…..hire the dude from the Patriots--we dont know if any of these guys will succeed…..but given those questions/issues/points…..hire the dude that worked with Belichik….instead of Ireland--sounds reasonable, no?


Legion of boom-boom, ehh?

and here is the strategy to hire the dude from the Patriots, who some speculate is interviewing just to get more money from them……offer the guy a crapload of money--this aint rocket science.

GAINE is in a no win situation. First mistake he makes, the FIRE GAINES will start. He will get ZERO honeymoon period.

Gaines might be a solid guy….but "change for the sake of change" seems like a good idea in this case…..new blood, new ideas, new perspective……couldnt hurt

This looks like a Movie we have all seen Before????????????????

It's almost impossible for Gaines not to use some of what he's learned while working under Ireland .The likelihood we'll get more of the same is too great.It's a chance the Dolphins can't take unless this organization wants more of the same mediocrity we've seen for the last decade.Hire Farmer and give him full control over the coaches and player personal. If he feels Philbin isn't the right guy then let him pick who he believes is better. Mr. Ross wipe the slate clean and start moving this franchise towards the top of the league again

Whoever Ross hires as GM will probably be here for at least three to five years (if Ross is still owner).

Given the many, many years of failed drafting, getting the GM hire right or wrong is probably going to determine the Dolphins future for years to come.

The camera and TV add 5 pounds to your ears.

Do you guys really think I have freakishly large ears

Everything being equal, Gaines is a riskier hire than Caserio. It's too bad that Farmer, DeCosta, Gamble, and the Seattle GM could not be hired. One wonders if Ross had just cleaned house outright then maybe one of the top tier candidates might have been willing to take the job.

Others=accustomed to losing.
Caserio=accustomed to and affiliated with Winning.

DeCosta, Gamble, Patton and McCloughan all declined to apply for the GM position. Licht was a finalist but he took the Bucs GM job instead. Farmer also decided to terminate his application/interest in the position. That's six candidates.

Others who were rumored to be interviewing for the position apparently did not do so (NYG and ATL personnel executives).

This is not promising at this point.

Caserio may or may not be a good personnel man. But he would represent some different thinking at the least.

Personally, I think Ross needs to redefine the GM position as one that the GM is the number one football operations guy. The person responsible for everything. He can hire is own staff and pick coaches and so on. In short, he can build the team to his liking. It's probably too late for that and the wrong hire could set the Dolphins back for the rest of this decade.

Not sure I see that much of a difference in any of the finalists. They are all just names at this point with no one with proven success at the GM level. It's a leap of faith no matter which person they choose. So I'm not too caught up in the who but more the what...just looking for the guy smart enough to have the right strategy.

Suggested strategy for the next GM...build around T-hill starting with the Oline and keep building around him. Protect him and give him countless weapons. Like I said last year before the draft we need to have the players to light up the scoreboard every week. Peter King said Friday that T-hill has a chance to be a top 10 QB for the next 10 years. I'll take his T-hill evaluation over all the naysayer opinions on here combined.

Yet another reason how my respect for Mando keeps me coming back to the Herald. Without fear of repercussion he puts all the cards on the table whether fans, players, or administration like it or not. Dude has a steel sack.

Last 3/4 months or so, I check this blog at at least twice a day....wondering. Time and time again, he hits so many of the issues I'm frustrated, curious, or intrigued about.

Most of us understand full and well how with the Dolphins, the more things change the more they stay the same. I (for one) am sick of it. I'm sick of the cart-in-front-of-the-horse circus that is playing out once again in front of our very eyes. I'm sick of all the draft picks at our fingertips we blew off. I'm sick we have a New Yorker (and NY resident) for an owner. However, I respect Mr. Ross. But I also hold him accountable for every single failure and blunder this once esteemed franchise has experienced under his ownership. Respectfully.

Unless the Dolphins implode next year to say, 2-14, then it's very possible Philbin and the new GM will get a pass while blaming Ireland again (however justified).

Tannehill may be very good or he may be below average. It's sad that the team has been so incompetent in adding WR, TE, RB and OL talent that no one really knows who the real Ryan Tannehill is at this point.

The Colts drafted TWO TEs and a WR along with Luck in 2013. The Dolphins drafted Egnew who has been a major bust so far. They also left OL and WR talent on the board in the 2013 draft.

As someone mentioned in another blog post, if Tannehill is really a super elie QB, then personnel men would probably be fighting to take the GM job since having an elite QB is the most difficult part of the puzzle to find on a winning team. I'm not saying this is the case, but it is something to think about going forward.

Great points Sigh. Right now Ross is sticking with his "Everyone reports to me and nobody is in charge" approach and we all know that it will end badly. Eventually he will hire a Czar or give the GM full authority over football matters. I would hope after he screws up the GM hire and the HC hire he would come to the conclusion that he and Carl Peterson are incapable of making sound football decisions. That could take 2-3 years of more mediocre to abysmal football. Caserio is strictly a gamble. Are we getting Dimitrioff or another Patriot Mirage?

Any idea when that Wells report is due? I hope it comes out tomorrow and condems the entire organization, from FO to coaches. Perhaps only then will Ross finally and mercifully hit the reset button and cleans house.

Too bad it will probably won't happen until after the super bowl and by then we will likely have a lame duck GM. SMH, cannot win with Ross!

Gaine may take the brunt of this.

But, in the immortal words of Jack Nicholson in Batman, "This town needs an enema".

Posted by: AsJoeRobbieRaisesHisEyebrow | January 25, 2014 at 12:08 AM

Good post!

I hope the new GM cuts ties with Moore and Devlin while investing in a promising rookie QB; the competition will help and the Dolphins will have an insurance policy if Tannehill regresses. Cutting Moore will save a lot of cap space as well.

I also hope the team cuts Patterson; he is great when he plays, but due to injuries, he misses far too many games.

I would even consider trading Jordon if a team could be convinced to give up a solid young OT or a first round draft pick (highly unlikely).


Thanks. :)

Good points in your post too.

Maybe Marino can put together a consortium to buy the team?

Posted by: AsJoeRobbieRaisesHisEyebrow | January 25, 2014 at 12:17 AM

Funny post. Lol. Probably true too.

Hopefully The Report implicates Turner and Ross forces Philbin to fire him. More likely scenario is that we are fined and lose a draft pick, like we need to add more insult to injury. As far as all these GM candidates, I want someone who wants to be here because they want to beat the Patriots and win the Superbowl. I don't care if he is a nice guy, family man, gets along with others. I could care less. Just bring us the head of Tom Brady and BB and make this team a champion once again. Everyone has been taking shots at us especially the media and rightly so...But even in the face of our team being run into the ground by morons we need to circle the wagons as fans and protect our team against all threats. Chip Kelly said this year in a press conference that nobody cares about your problems. 70% of the people don't care about your problems and the other 30% are glad you have them. This too will pass.

This nonsense is why I haven't attended a game or bought any Dolphins merchandise since 2003. It looks like I won't be attending a game anytime soon. The more things change the more they stay the same. Sad times continue for a Dolphins fan.

There was a funny post on an earlier blog and it went something like this:

If the Dolphins can mess it up, they will.

I hope the new GM and OC starts Moore while investing in a promising rookie QB.

I have no problem at all with drafting a young QB for competition but that is not a priority. I just laugh at these mocks that have us taking another CB or DT in 2014.

The long overdue report on the non bullying incident that was super hyped and overblown by the media? Who cares the guys responsible for that debacle are goners. Memo to you guys...real fans can never take posters seriously that wish bad things on this team.

Thanks for the update Armando. And the music just plays on!

No one knows for sure how any of these guys will work out. It's all a roll of the dice. So, let's just pick on already. Me personally, I would take the guy from the Titans, why, because he is a bigger unknown then the rest. Fuzzy logic but why not

Oh and by the way for all those who think the guy from New England is a good candidate lets not forget Scott Pioli, need I say more!

Mando-- get an innovative visionary GM who knows how to build a "miracle on ice "

The players have to be laughing at how pathetic their franchise is.

Nice post Armando. I was actually advocating Gaine right after Ireland walked because of the reasons you noted in the first part of your story.

I didn't think about the point you made about the system not changing and everything staying the same. I was thinking more of the individual.

Like you I also would have been alarmed when he couldn't say rather or not an athlete could play.

Posted by: benz | January 24, 2014 at 11:19 PM

Yes, benz, it actually makes TOO much sense, my friend.
Duhe77, I've posted all day yesterday that I believe, somehow that Wells decision has been leaked to all but the Fins. My conclusion is as yours, but worse. Goodell, no friend to the Dolphins, will take away a 1st, or perhaps 2nd round draft choice, fine the team $500k, and recommend the entire team go through "sensitivity training."
Seriously. All the while, Robert Kraft, with Hernandez now out of the public consciousness will be privately laughing his a** off.

No Gaine, no pain.

Posted by: TruthhurTs | January 25, 2014 at 12:36 AM



As far as we know we have one legit CB on the roster and he is currently not under contract.

Yes...just make up your darn mind Ross. No one is going to be perfect. You let Philbin keep Coyle that was questionable at best and maybe turn out worse than any GM you hire at this point.

Coyle did a great job this year.

TruthhurTs, Coyle did a fine job with the Bengals, who have very good LB's.
Wheeler alone cost the Fins 2 games, and together the 2 guys were far less effective.
Injuries to our secondary, already thin, Wake out 3 games, and Philbin unwilling to trust Jordan. This year's pass rush, regardless of statistics was bad when it counted most.
So, lets give Coyle a chance with a healthy squad, and maybe the addition of a 2nd cover corner, and an improved pass rush.

I'll tell you now, the Bills just picked up Jim Schwartz as DC. Do not be surprised if they show the most improvement. Their defense is already better than the Fins. They are a QB away from 10 wins. Grrrr.


That's the question that Ireland had problems answering also. 'Can he play'. The Dolphins need a guy who can evaluate the athletic talent as it applies to football and make the final decision for NFL talent. When all the stats are in one has to put it all together. Does the athlete have that X factor at his position for the NFL.

It was not all that long ago when fans were screaming to get rid of Spielman,and for Huizinga to sale the team. Then we moved on to get rid of Ireland and for Ross to sale the team. Wow,we have sure come a long way in ten years.

Can he play? This is the reason why 90% of the GM's don't last. Finding a GM that is consistently able to answer that question is just as hard as finding a franchise QB.

All criticisms must be tempered with perspective. Otherwise they come off like tabloid journalism.

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