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More history, fallout from Ireland vs. DawnJoe

If you've been following my recounting of the dysfunction within the Dolphins late last season you understand why the relationship between general manager Jeff Ireland and coach Joe Philbin was broken. You understand why this team may struggle to hire the most gifted and serious general manager candidate available.

Now let me give you more history. Let me give you more background on the dysfunction to help you understand its genesis.

I already shared what caused the rift between Ireland and Philbin. I blame both parties for that rift. Grown men, professional men, who have the same goal at heart should be able to sit down and have frank discussions about what troubles them about their relationship. Obviously that's in a perfect world.

The Dolphins facility is far from that world.

And part of the problem points directly to executive vice president of football administration Dawn Aponte. It seems that when Bill Parcells hired Aponte to be Miami's capologist in Feb. 2010 he brought in a tough and experienced corporate in-fighter. She is clearly adept at forming alliances. And when she sees a threat, she is well capable of attacking it.

Ireland was a threat to her, according to sources who called me this morning.

Ireland was her boss when she joined the team four years ago. But after Parcells left in October 2010, she lost her chief sponsor. And she wasn't comfortable with Ireland as her supervisor. So soon after Joe Philbin was hired, Aponte decided she and the new coach could bond and that alliance could strengthen each person's position within the organization.

Aponte, club sources say, also found ways to ingratiate herself to owner Stephen Ross. Nothing wrong with that. He's the boss. She would often ask to join Ross on his private jet flights back to New York from home games, often citing a need to handle club business at the league office in New York.

Aponte, a former league and New York Jets employee, apparently used the face time with Ross and the help of Jay Cross, a Related Company president and a former New York Jets president, to convince the owner of her value and how she should not be under Ireland's supervision.

Ireland, seeing this, asked Ross to fire Aponte. Ross didn't go for it and, indeed, after mulling the matter, actually promoted Aponte from Senior VP of Football Operations to her current Executive VP role. And in so doing, Ross doubled Aponte's salary. And got her out from under Ireland's umbrella. And Aponte joined parts of the coach search of 2012 that led to Philbin's hiring after Jeff Fisher turned the Dolphins down cold.

Knowing that Ireland had tried to get her fired, Aponte turned her sights on the GM. The relationship between the two, professional and even cordial in public at league meetings and alike, was a struggle for power behind the scenes.

Aponte, strengthened by her alliance with Philbin, had been winning that struggle for quite some time. She made herself very visible, attending practically every practice. She met with Philbin to advise on how to handle the media before every weekday press conference -- that meeting sometimes taking longer than the actual press conference. She attended the coach's show and made sure the questions were positive and gave Philbin an opportunity to shine. She edited the videos the team posted on its website of the Philbin postgame speech to the players.

(Unfortunately for Philbin, she didn't think to cut out the part where coach needed to read off index cards to deliver his address).

The bottom line is now Philbin and Aponte -- fresh off a victory over the last general manager -- want to make sure the next general manager is not truly empowered. The last thing they want is for Ross to hire a guy who will have the power to hire and perhaps fire Philbin and or Aponte.

They want a puppet person that will merely evaluate talent and handle the draft and keep his mouth shut and business to himself.

But as I've shared already the best candidates for a general manager job may not bite because 1. They don't want to get involved in the Dolphins office politics and/or 2. They want to have the power and autonomy to bring their own people and perhaps get rid of the current people if that's what they think is best.

So keep a close eye on what is about to happen next with this hire. If Ross hires a strong GM with authority to hire and fire Philbin and/or Aponte, then the duo has lost favor. But if Ross promotes Aponte to GM or hires someone who is merely a personnel guy but not the general manager in power as well as title then the DawnJoe has won and runs the show.

There is a third option and that's the czar approach the Dolphins have used before, as well, with that person over everyone. But that's for another day.

Stay tuned.




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Would anyone be surprise if Aponte is Fin someone in the orgainzation?

Andy, DD, from the last blog. yeah, I'd want to keep Wallace on the team but if he doesn't produce more next year you may want to adjust the offense to make him a secondary option, limit his # of targets because for two years now, he's got a tonne of targets and provided insuffucient return on them.

The long winded version of this post is in the previous blog.

Sorry it's so long but when I get into #s, i can't be stopped...

blah blah blah.....my goodness Armando, you're like the lead writer for Village Gossip....who cares or needs to know this much detail, about any organization? Again, you dont think this type of stuff/interaction goes on everywhere?--and some of it is subjective, yet you put it out as fact.....similar to the Martin situation--enough, please

Sound like an epiosode of "As the World Turns" please new GM fire Philbin and Aponte!

I'm done with this team. Feminism has won. Now a woman has ruined an NFL football team.

you're giving way too much credit/sway to Philbin

Ross has created a no win situation for everyone on the staff.

Dawn: assume the position, and get back down on your knees.

Mark, Tannehill couldnt hit Wallace on the long ball!! Its that simple, let me break it down for you since its difficult

Wallace strengths: Deep routes
Tannehill weakness: Deep Ball

If THill could throw a good deep ball Wallace would have 1200 yards with at least 8TD..

I told you they need to hire a GM that will be able to choose his own head coach and fire Aponte. She is a troublemaker. I have been saying it for days. Fire them all. Start over. Come on Steve Ross.

Armando please explain. If Dawn and Joe have been playing Survivor this whole time then it sounds like there is no mystery as to what comes next.

Mark in Cabbagetown,

Are you Chinese? What is the best Asian food in Toronto or Bathurst Manor?

That idiot Ross has let a conniving woman in the Dolphin headquarters to form alliances with the HC. Now aint that special. If I were a suspicious man, which after retiring from law enforcement after 28 yrs I am, and Id think theres something going on thats not football related. Aponte is not a forth coming employee but I don't think Ross will fire her for obvious reasons. Oh well, another 15 yrs of being a mediocre team.

This is just getting creepy.

This is outrageous. Can't be true.

He Hate Me, there is very good reason why I put so little blame on Tannehill for the reason it turned out...

He got better in every way from year one to two. If you expect a 2nd year Qb to be able to lift the entire franchise on his back - then I don't know how that's possible. It can happen for a game or two or three, but 16??

Now, he also produced the 10th most yards as a Qb and the 12th most scoring in the 8th most passing attempts. So his performance and contribution without considering anything else was reasonable. That's not even throwing in the atrocious pass protection he got.

Why I rag on Wallace ... he was inefficient. Shouldn't I blame the qb more? perhaps for a significant share, but how do you explain having almost the exact same season with Big Ben last year? He did not improve individually.

Defense? They were atrocious in a lot of key areas. They had heavy investment in free agents and draft picks and were supposed to carry the load for this team. Instead they finished 21st.

Coyle, that's the easiest of them all. The defense has regressed badly under him in two consecutive seasons. i will credit him that they were respectable in creating turnovers but it seemed once the opponent got the ball, it would be forever until we got it back...

The New GM should and have to have all the hell power to fired muppet philbin and aponte PERIOD.if if they philbin and aponte faild PERIOD PERIOD.

So ben couldn't throw the deep ball in 2012 either? Stop talking about the ten deep routes everyone wants to ahrp on. He was targeted 142 times!!! He got beat by the dbs a lot ... for two years running under two different QBs...

right on Mando...tell it how it is...

This is worse, now we have a lawyer running the team..it is clear aponte has her own agenda and the old fool is falling for it..(makes you wonder what really happened on those flights...only one thing comes to mind that would me want to double someone s salary)

wher are the good old days of Go, GoGo..:-(

Mark, i dont think Wallace is worth 17 million hell there are few players worth that much..

But Ill blame Wallace inefficency on Sherman for not utilizing him better the then Tannehill for leaving some points on the boards. Did Wallace drop balls yep but IMO hes a superor asset than a guy like Hartline..

mas sangre Mando, mas sangre to feist on

This reminds me of the bully gate story. Much ado about nothing. It seems to me that Aponte, given the salary csp situation, is simply better at her job than Ireland. She had the cap in line to get players. Ireland got the wrong ones.

With all of this garbage going on I'm curious when these morons had time to "focus" on football. I can only imagine what Shula would have done to this micromanaging hag Aponte. He would have made sure that the door didn't hit her on the way out!

Ross is to blame for all of this, the buck stops with him. Hey Ross, maybe you should spend more time in Miami with the team instead of in New York. This seems like a hobby for you, sell the team to someone who will take it more seriously.

On another note, go back to the old logo. I don't see proud franchises like SF and Pitt changing logos.---The old logo should come back and this clown Ross should go!

They are so not giving you donuts at the next team meeting......

mando, excellent look at the behind the scenes "power struggle". it makes perfect sense. parcells gave supreme power to GM ireland as he left thru the back door. ireland was accountable to no one except the owner. no checks and balances or team decisions. abuse of power followed.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present your Miami Dolphins!

Mando you are a problem! As much as you claim to want this organization to succeed you put this garbage out there so other media outlets can take it and run with it and make it a bigger story than it is. That is the definition of scum my man!

Hey Armando,

Instead of you writing this crap that can't be verified by anyone why don't you focus on who the best GM or OC might be. You keep saying "sources" called you or told you these facts! Really! Seems to me that if that is true then the Dolphins should fire that "source" for spreading crap around to crap reporters like you.

Fans are tired of the crap from the Dolphins and the crap spreaders like you. You can't wait to write bull crap about this team, I even heard you on NFL network this morning stirring crap. Why the hell they think you are a good source of information is beyond me.

There isn't a GM/OC in the world that is gonna make Tanny hit a wide open receiver more than 20 yards downfield. He is a coach killer. At best a great backup in this league.

His lack of college play is showing.

Philbin is nothing special...and average coach at best

Tanne: Big dissapointment those 2 last games. But if he is capable of improving of pocket presence and long ball, Tanne could be the guy. his lack of experience shows, those years at WR robbed him time at QB.
He needs a real QB coach, not somebodys relative. I would like to see Tanne a third year, but on a leach

i really hope the formula Aponte, Philbin, talent evaluator is not what Ross has in mind. That does not look good

Fact of the matter is that if Tanny made 3 key throws, we win 3 games and not having this discussion. Plus Sturgis meltdown. we win over 10 games.

Wrong Armondo, we won't get a weak GM and Scott Pioli is a Joe Philbin fan, so i think he is not weak and can work well with Philbin. The problem was Ireland, he was feeling the heat for not having a winner in 6 years.

Dolphins will always make me cry

There isn't a GM/OC in the world that is gonna make Tanny hit a wide open receiver more than 20 yards downfield. He is a coach killer. At best a great backup in this league.

His lack of college play is showing.

Posted by: TheStach | January 08, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Whatever you say promichael.

Ross you are wasting money with your organizational chart buddy. Get a gm that can manage the cap and you can eliminate apontes salary. Again not rocket science

As far as Tannehill with the deep ball. IHis problem is his follow through. He needs to foolow throgh and lean into the deep throws, he does have the arm strength. Maybe a stong o-line will give him more confidence to step into his throws.


can you address this on twitter or perhaps another blog post...

Is new CEO Tom Garfinkel involved in this search process at all? Why, why not?

What I'm not clear on, if Dawn Aponte is a candidate for and/or wants the VP position in the NFL offices, WHY would she be in charge of a GM search?? What sense is there to have someone make a decision on the direction of a franchise if that person will not work for the organization in a month?

This was a flagship franchise at one time. Perception is reality guys. Honestly, what else is there to write about the Dolphins other than this type of dysfunction and incompetence? We have become what the old Bengals and Bucs were.

I know this much, I won't spend a single dollar for anything Dolphins related until they can put a winning team on the field. Whatever passion that I had left for the Dolphins after the end of the Marino era has been beaten out of me.

You dimwits continue to be staggeringly clueless.

Dawn Aponte has NO ROLE WHATSOEVER on the football end of things. She is not choosing players or telling coaches what "schemes" to run. She is on the business side of things, including doing a superb job as the team's capologist and freeing the franchise from their long purgatory of constantly being in cap hell.

I get it, though. You guys are threatened by any powerful, intelligent woman who makes more money and wields more influence than you ever will.

WEAK men always are.

Well the naysayers get what they want, no GM, and guess what, they are still Nay sayers.

==Ross is a very successful business man. He should be able to recognize sycophants vs qulatiy employees…... I think?

GM should pick the QB and Coach( hardest to find) and be tied to them through his tenure.

Ireland ran his course. 46-50 should get you fired in the nfl regardless of a revengefull conniving capologist.

Alot of GM will be wanting this job. This team should have / could have won 11 or 12 games. We have a coach, and a good QB and alot of cap space. plus if it doesn't work next year he gets to clean house.

Wah Wah what what a shame Jeff was set up by a girl , if he picked better players it would not have mattered

On another note, go back to the old logo. I don't see proud franchises like SF and Pitt changing logos.---The old logo should come back and this clown Ross should go!

Posted by: Howard | January 08, 2014 at 12:39 PM


Per NFL rules a franchise is NOT allowed to change their logo for at least FIVE YEARS after a new one is introduced.

Therefore, your suggestion is meaningless and cannot happen.

The guy sucked

Posted by: TheStach | January 08, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Coach killer based on the fact that Sherman was fired at A&M and because he got fired with the Fins? Look at Shermans record at A&M and the horrible play calling... The fact that Philbin was up Shermans butt so far that he wouldnt make changes is enough to get him fired.. Not being man enough to change the snap count or over ride some of his horrible play calls on 3rd and short or long..
The line got Tannehill killed all season long, im sure he was gun shy, does he need to work on connecting with Wallace, yes but the kid has potential and the only way he gets experience is to get game experience playing..
This isnt a Farve Rogers transition, this was a Moore/Thigpen/ Tannehill transition.

This article sounds like a script for a new 30 for 30 special on corruption in sports management...lol

I am threatened by powerful women because I am an insecure and weak man who blends into the background and does nothing of importance.

Posted by: james | January 08, 2014 at 12:43 PM

James that's why he does it so he can be on the radio and TV.

Marc from nj,

What are the best restaurants in the Queen Village and Rittenhouse sections of Philadelphia?

Why are some of you hating on Aponte? She did us all a favor: she helped got rid of Ireland! Wasn't that what you wanted? The only thing Armando exposed was how the sausage was made.

I would be shocked if any respected football mind or superior GM with a pedigree for handling the draft will come to Miami. This Survivor or big brother atmosphere is well known outside the Dolphin headquarters, thus getting a top mind who wants power and has earned that benifit will never come here.

Is Joe Philbin that good a coach that we cant risk upsetting him?. I'd say hes no better than Sparano and Ross didnt worry about his feelings when courting Harbaugh.

Why not make Dawn Aponte Head coach while were discussing all this because if she is the engine that makes this gong show run then she should have a say in all football and non football related matters.

You know what i really miss. This teams goal in winning a superbowl. Not forming alliances and back room double talk to get certain employees fired.

Ross you need to seel this team as the prior owners never made these messes. You now have your second one in five years. Good job

It seems to me these were "Private" conversations with 4 different people and those 4 different people are the only sources. These are not the sort of conversations you have with others present. So the source would have to be one of these people OR someone that is telling tall tales with a vendetta against someone still in the organization with something to lose.

My thoughts about this are: This is much ado about nothing!!!

Armando Salguero sure likes stirring the pot. So ok you made your point, quit writing these negative articles that may persuade a solid GM candidate from even interviewing here. We need a top notch GM & we don't need you to keep throwing the dysfunctional franchise stories out there every day. Anybody with any brains understands that if a solid GM from outside(Like Tom Gamble)is hired he will likely hold total control (meaning he can fire Aponte or Philbin at anytime). SO PLEASE STOP SALGUERO !!!!

Brady/Manning are winners...Why? Cuz they are always looking at snapshots from the previous series and giving feedback to their OC. Tanny sits on bench and smiles.

He will never take us to a SuperBowl...It ain't gonna happen. He is a backup in this league.

Go...go... and trade him.


A - this is football, there are lots of strong personalities.

B - this is big business, there are lots of strong personalities.

So is this really much different than most businesses/football teams?

I know, we all want wins. But not every detail, even proven facts, contributes to a team's downfall.

Just think - if Tanny hit Wallace, when up 7-0, to go up 14-0?
Just think2 - if Matthews caught the 3rd down pass?

If either/both happen, none of this infighting matters. And none of it had any affect on those 2 plays.

Hard to blame them. Ireland is an awful human being.

The Dolphins that I knew and grew up with no longer exist. That team was full of integrity and winning tradition.

I understand there's an NFL presence in South Florida, and that their uniforms somewhat resemble those of the team we used to have, but it's not the Dolphins. There's a stadium, there's a collection of players, and there's a lot of back-stabbing and drama. That's about it. No leadership, no heart, no team, no integrity, no recognizable uniforms or logo, no recognition of rich tradition.

Perhaps there will be a winning team in South Florida one day. Who cares. It won't be the team I grew up rooting for. It won't be the Dolphins. The Dolphins as a franchise are dead.



Salguero will report whatever his "source" tells him. This is the epitome of blog journalism.

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