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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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Tom Gamble/San Francisco 49ers/Director of Player Personnel: In my 14 years of covering the NFL, I don’t recall getting as many strong comments about a potential GM candidate from high-ranking personnel executives and NFL player agents as I’ve received about Gamble in doing research for this piece. In fact, one NFL GM said my list should start with Gamble for the very fact that he’s about as well-rounded of a candidate as you’ll find.

And when you examine Gamble’s background, you can understand why.

He got started in the NFL at a very young age -- literally right out of college -- with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1988. His father, Harry, was the president of the team at that time. And the younger Gamble was around football growing up. His father was a long-time coach (pro and college) and then moved on to become an NFL executive late in his career.

Like his father, Tom Gamble is a rarity in NFL scouting departments these days: He not only has extensive pro and college scouting experience, he has experience with contract negations and the salary cap, and even has coaching experience (defensive assistant/quality control coach with the New York Jets for two seasons: 1995-1996) on the NFL side. While Gamble was promoted to his current role nearly two years ago, other teams have also been interested in him in recent years (St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders on more than one occasion).

Now in his 25th NFL season, Gamble has worked for five teams over that time period and has touched just about every possible aspect on the personnel side. He has helped build 10 playoff teams (four with the Eagles, five with the Indianapolis Colts, and one with the 49ers—and very likely another one this season).

Before taking a job with the 49ers back in 2005, Gamble worked for seven seasons as a college scout under former Colts GM Bill Polian, who is widely recognized as one of the best personnel evaluators in NFL history.

“He’s got a complete grounding in the game. He grew up in the game,” Polian explained to me recently about Gamble. “This is exceedingly important when you consider there are a lot of issues that you have to deal with when becoming a general manager that will come up with a team. You’re at a big disadvantage if you don’t have this experience in dealing with everything. That’s why non-football people have a harder time succeeding. Because Tom has so much experience and grew up around the game with his dad, he’s going to be more prepared than most. That’s a huge advantage.”

And it’s that extensive experience which should help Gamble land a GM job for next season.

UPDATED 12/21: Two personnel sources said that Gamble should receive attention from at least three teams for expected GM openings next month.


I think this is being overblown, I think Philbin knows is job is on the line next year regardless of his relationship with Aponte or whomever the new GM is. He has to get to the playoffs and show improvement or he will be gone. I don't think and certainly hope that Ross is not so blinded by Aponte that she is allowed to manipulate the GM decision . However, I wouldn't mind seeing Aponte gone as well. She's the last holdover from the Parcells era. I also remember a report of emails or messages she had sent to Solia and Starks reps with a take it or leave contract offer that basically sounded like an insult. Who knows what goes on behind the scenes for sure? Bottom line is Ross decided to start cleaning house and find people to do a better job after the collapse at the end of the season. That is the right move.

My skybox cousins told me Aponte's queefs were so strong that it melted the vinyl.

So you mean to tell me if your locked in an office with Aponte you wouldnt take a BJ from her?? I sure would!

MarK, by your own admission you shat on Dan because he never won a SB ring. So, you are of the belief that playoff victories, WINS, and rings measure greatness.

Your QB choked and couldn't even carry the team to a WC spot with TWO GAMES against lowly opponents.

Cmon Philbin cant do much better than Aponte

Back to the business that matters, upgrade the o line, maybe running back, and resign a couple key free agents and the team should be in good shape next year. Tannehill is a good qb, but please get a coordinator / qb coach to work with him on pocket presence and practicing the deep ball. Maybe bootleg our mobile qb who throws well on the run and get him out of the pocket would be a good idea too. Damn, thank god Sherman is gone!

100 sax?
this means will c some of devlin after the bye Oscar

DawnJoe.....?Seriously,Mando? This must be an alltime low for ya. I hear they need a new hack over at TMZ. I bet if you sent this article in to them with your resume, they would hire you on the spot.

Im hoping that Ross sees this drama played out and nip this in the bud. I cannot fathom he being so blind to this!

Marc, I include total rushing yards and touchdowns in my comparison. Tannehill was more productive than Kaepernick. You want to declare a qb superior because he has a slightly higher rating, have at it.

I already explained the difference between a 91 rating and an 81 rating.

With someone with Tannehill's attempts, it's 200 yards, 3 tds, 3 ints.

over a 16 game season. if you think that's the line between great and suck, have at it.


The DAWNJOE name is fitting if whats being reported is true.

Who really wields the power down in Davie. Mando is only reporting what his sources tell him. He didnt create the current behavior we are now seeing coming out of Davie

I think one QB has his team in the playoffs for the 2nd straight year and one QB has the team sitting at home the second straight season...

Joe M from Altoona....good read.

Regardless of what you may think of Aponte or the duo of Aponte/Philbin, it had to be a factor in getting Ireland out the door. For that I say 'job well done'!

Now, I can't fault Ross for his two decisions to this point. In order to go forward those two had to go! (I'm certainly not giving a pass to Coyle but for now OK). Obviously the next decision will be the new GM. Extremely important. How the inter workings of this 'non-profit' organization deals with itself will be the real issue.

Just a thought....make Aponte President of the Miami Dolphins but have no or little say in the hire of the next GM. The next GM has the right to fire anybody on the football side of the corporation. He gets a 4 or 5 year contract with Aponte having a say in his firing (Ross having, of course, the final say), if and/or when it comes to that. So she has the power she wants with the stigma of the new Gm's 5 year contract at 2.5 mil/. Hard justify firing someone, within the first three or four years that has so much more coming to him.

You people just don't get it. Jeff Ireland was fired because he failed miserably in bringing in enough talent to win at a consistent level. HE WAS A BAD TALENT EVALUATE R IN THE MOST COMMON AREA'S (blocking & tackling). On top of that his personality was a cancer in the locker room, because he treated the entire organization like the Dolphins begins & finishes with him. Tom Gamble on the other hand is considered the very best talent scout in the entire country & that's what Miami needs TALENT. People keep talking about Scott Pioli & hiring from within, because they don't know what they are talking about. You don't hire Pioli just because he likes Joe Philbin or Ryan Tannehill. You hire a great GM because he's great at bringing in super stars that gives you a chance of winning championships. If you were to ask any NFL owner, GM or player agent who the best GM candidate is, most of them would tell you Tom Gamble & it's why Miami MUST pull out all the stops to hire this man to head up ALL CONTROL of our football operations !


Do you think we can get a great GM to take over the reins with the current state of this whole DAWNJOE alliance?. Will any good or great football pedigree want to come into this dysfunctional franchise without being able to put his stamp on the team as his own?

Marc, I never shat on Dan. Just pointed out that Dan's regin wasn't all rainbows and farts while he was here. There were as many down seasons as up it seemed.

There were 8 win seasons under dan... but wait, no that wasn't his fault, right?

D29, if Ross insists that the Gm work for Dawn, no chance a premier candidate comes here.

Premier candidates become bosses, not part of an alliance or three headed monster. Pioli didn't got to KC to work with an accountant and whoever the coach was at the time.

MT : That's the point Stephen Ross MUST hire him A give him TOTAL CONTROL !


Who would you like to see as the GM/head of football operations?.

I personally like Bill polian for the job. This Tom Gamble guy seems like hes had successes in fiding talent on a consistant basis, but i dont know much about him

We fire Sherman and Ireland, keep Philbin, but have no plan moving forward other than to search for "new leadership"?

Complete dysfunction. No hope. Bad going to worse. No end in sight to this madness. Forget winning.

It's all about power struggles and office politics. It's about jobs. It's about personal career tracks. It's about "me", forget about "team".

I know, I brought it up, but, to even mention RT in the same sentence as Dan is almost blasphemous.

How many TD's do you think Wallace would have had if Dan was pitching him the football?

Child please


DawnJoe is something you would see on a celebrity talk show.

Forget Armando Salgeuro's stupid article ! Stephen Ross will hire Tom Gamble & give him total control of EVERYTHING. That means Joe Philbin & Dawn Aponte (IF they are retained at all)with everything envolving player personnel, contracts & all the hiring & firing on the team.

D29, my choice would've been Matt DeCosta but it seems he's intent on waiting on Ozzie to retire to take full control of the Ravens franchise. Can't say I blame him. he's 42, makes big money, high profile job - he can enjoy being a popular man about town in Baltimore and bang all the bimbos untit it's his time. I wouldn't leave either.

I would hate Polian. I think his last five years in Inndy were horrible. Good chance the game has past him by.

Has Ross EVERY gotten his first choice in a candidate?

If Gamble is the hottest thing on the market than history proves he'll probably fail to get him.

Now, if like Philbin there's just a lot of hype surrounding the name...Perhaps

Of course, Philbin was still not his first choice

Marc, how many times would Marino have been sacked behind that line? he may not have been upright long enough to complete any tds to Wallace.


I understand its over the top and very reality tvish sort of thing, but when Mando uses the reference its to mock the current state of the franchise and detail the current mess of the organization.

Are these people even interested in winning football games or forming alliances like we'd see on big brother

When you just look at our needs firing Ireland was a must. He has proven on his own that his talent evaluations are not effective enough to build a winning team. It's simple. Look at the records. Whenever we take a step forward with personnel we also take a step back. Look at who we add each year and look at who we subtract. It's just that simple. Next year we need to build an offensive line almost from scratch. We also are stuck with linebackers who are not playmakers and literally can't find the ball. We also have two decent safeties when we need at least one stud. No presence back there. Our draft last year had so much potential yet we completely botched it on players that would not be able to compete. All were either development players or injured and unable to learn early.

As far as Aponte. This is called business. And when the business swallows the game you end up losing focus on the product. Simple. Look at companies like Apple when the pushed Steve Jobs out in the late 80's and the company tanked because they were concerned about who was in charge and the power play became the focus and the company lost their vision. They brought him back and suddenly their was a vision and that vision was all about the product. They've done well ever since.

I'm not sure if this was said yet, if it wasn't, this might hold a lot of light on all this.

If it was true that Philbin wanted Richie cut and Ireland overruled him, then this might of started everything.

Perhaps everyone blames Ireland for this whole fiasco because Philbin wanted him off the team. Perhaps Ireland kept that incident from Ross. Not sure.

Honestly, they are going to promote Aponte to GM??? Really??? She now has a scouting background???

Give me a F*cking break!!

Seriously, I've been waiting since Dan Marino retired for us to field a consistent winner. Change, change, and change and we just keep getting further away to the point that I don't even recognize this "team" any longer. I don't think we can even be called a team right now since one of the definitions of the word "team" is a "group of persons who work together".

Marino was MOBILE in the pocket and escaping it, and had quick decisions and a quicker release!

No way he takes the same number of sacks!

Dude, just stop.

I'm almost embarrassed for RT that so many people have to make excuses for him

@ dolfan29 : He has built 12 playoff teams in 15 years heading up scouting departments as head of player personnel. He is the person that built the current San Francisco 49ers. Damn do some research & get off the blog boards & you can find that out for yourself.

There may some sensational undertones in this story, but even if some of this soap opera is a bit overstated, it makes complete sense for this reason, if nothing else: Why is the freakin’ Executive VP – a numbers cruncher and nothing more – even involved as much as she is with the coach at the field level? That much we know is true, not just from Mando’s reports, but virtually all S. Florida beat writers.

For what possible reason does a glorified bean counter watch over every practice, script the coaches press conferences, accompany him to radio shows, screen media questions and cut interviews off, edit video, and reportedly straighten his freakin’ tie! Does the organization not have a PR handlers and a communications dept that is supposed to deal with that stuff? So why has she been involved at such a granular level with the coach if it hasn’t been a power play? I don’t know how much is true, but it sure appears to be at least partly true or she’d have no business, based on her experience and qualifications, to be as hands-on at a football level.

The only thing I disagree with, is that this isn’t anything close to a DA-JP tag-team, as much as DA manipulation of JP. Look at the man’s personality and how he coaches. No way he’s this calculating. She’s the string puller and he’s the dancing puppet. This isn’t the end of the world if Ross picks football over corporatism and brings in a real football mind with power over both of them. But if he really trusts DA as much as has been reporting or, worse, he’s schtupping her, I tend to agree with Mando that no one who’s actually capable of making this sinking ship float again will want anything to do with this team.

From what I've read, Gamble is the real deal. Not just a lot of talk but a record to stand on. Ross is a fool if he doesn't hire Gamble. Guess we'll see.



I like the fact that Polian's entire body of work from buffalo-Indy has been more successes than failures. No GM goes an entire career without some hiccups.

Rick....in total agreement!!! Then between Gamble and Philbin pick up our next OC. Gamble may be on terms with coordinators that Philbin isn't. I'm pretty sure Philbin isn't dumb. A successful OC allows Philbin years of employment!

Maybe next year we look for a DC?

Wow, awesome story Armando! This woman seems to be a real snake. The type of person you try and stay away from in the work place. It seems like she sabotaged Ireland for her benefit. Kissed the big boss' butt and then formed an alligiance with Philbin against Ireland. All in her grand plan to become the GM or to have more power.

This would be OK with the fan if it turns into success. Problem is this gal probably knows nothing about player evaluation, etc. She has now left us with a horrible football coach. IMO the fins missed out on the playoffs because of Philbin's lack of leadership down the stretch and his philosophy on building a team (finesse OL, etc.). This woman's ambition and Ross' lack of vision is going to cost the dolphins tremendously. With Philbin at HC, no strong GM will want to come here, leaving Aponte with more power.

I can't believe they took that video down! Oh well

True D29, but he's no spring chicken, at some point ur jsut done. The Buffalo Bills were a great team but that was 25 years ago too.

Well I'm out of here people. I hope you all root in Tom Gamble to become the new GM with full control of the team so we can finally start winning Super Bowls again !

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.

Posted by: This Blog Is Comedy | January 08, 2014 at 12:53 PM

absolutely nailed it. This blog post itself isn't far off either. Not a surprise coming from this author. This has been the most interesting, balanced and well-written (sans sexist subtext) short piece I've seen on this situation.

Bobby your right. It's just been reported that Apple has 138 billion in cash in the bank (or wherever)! The only problem with that (and the only problem) is that they aren't putting as much in R & D as before. Could eventually jump up and grab them.

Marc, look at the majority of Tannehill's sacks and see if you can count to three before someone has him wrapped up.

Anyway, I don't know why you won't give the young Qb a chance to develop but whatever, no point discussing this with you.

So Philbin is an immature a**hole unable to cope with mere criticism. Even more reasons to get him fired immediately, Mr. Ross. Please don't wait until next winter to learn from past mistakes and begin making the right decisions: the whole organization should start NOW by measuring every failure in the same way including Philbin's.

The only thing you need to do is hire the best GM you can find beyond the bureaucratic-like influence of Dawn Aponte and Joe Philbin and then give him total freedom to manage the HC job as he sees fit.

If Philbin is unable to keep his chair under this scenario he obviously didn't deserve the job in the first place.

Posted by: This Blog Is Comedy | January 08, 2014 at 12:53 PM

I don't question her cap skills but behind the curtain she's obviously trying to gossip her way up in the NFL ladder without any regard for franchise priorities, team work or even basic human decency.

This makes me sick. If Ross had any guts, any...he would have canned everyone and started over. Nobody has earned the right to keep their job. This Aponte is bad for business, and Philbin has done nothing in 2 years to make anyone think that he can lead this team to the Super Bowl.

The team needs an enema. Everyone needs to go, someone with a football mind and some name cache needs to come in and hire a good GM who will then hire a good coach, who will then go through this roster and throw out the trash and bring in good players (and hopefully will not have worked for the Jets, one of the few NFL franchises that are radically worse than the Dolphins right now).

I'm coming up on the age of 40, and the fact that this team hasn't won a Super Bowl since the year before I was born is embarrassing. They haven't BEEN to the Super Bowl in 30 years, despite having one of the best QB's to play the game, and two of the league's better coaches in Shula and Jimmy. This franchise smells from the top down.


He set the foundation for the Carolina panthers reaching the super bowl in 2003. Alot of people dont give him enough credit for drafting Manning over Leaf, as those two guys were considered close in most evaluations in the 1998 draft. Also drafted guys like Harrison, Wayne, Clark, Freeney, Mathis, Sanders, and Edge to names a few. Wasnt all that long ago and the Colts won it all under his watch

Because I've already given 15 young QB's a chance and they all will end up in the same place. Unemployed

Salguero is not a journalist, he's a blogger ...
Then again, most journalists seem to be more like bloggers or Op-ed writers these days.
Anyway, with Salguero, it doesn't meant everything is untrue but it does mean that he gets to continue to promote his agenda.

That said, the power struggle thing had been reported, or at least rumored, from other sources as well with the same angle ... Aponte and Philbin forming an allegiance. So, there probably is some late night hide the sausage going on at Fins HQ. At any rate, if/when Miami hires a hack "GM", I'll give Salguero the benefit of the doubt. But that doesn't mean much because it wouldn't be a surprise, in any way, for Miami to hire a hack GM with it having nothing to do with Salguero's piece or his "source" being accurate.

Fins57 at 2:18

I am sure that Armando has much more insight on the Dolphins than you do. The way the whole thing went down was strange to begin with. Armando's article makes a lot of sense to me and I have no reason to doubt it. Why would Armando put himself in this position with the Aponte and the Dolphin's brass if he did not have strong evidence to support it? He said that he has close sources that confirm this.

BTW- Stop being such a wuss. There are male jerks and female snakes in the work place. I deal with both all the time. Kudos to Armando for calling it like it is and not going with the politically correct crap.

Wow Armando! Did Dawn shoot you down when you asked her to the prom or something?

...and how does Aponte's alleged "desperation" to get out of the organization and back with the NFL office fit here?
This was reported with such matter-of-fact certainty by Salquero. Are we supposed to forget it like some dropped plot thread in a sh!!ty movie?!?

There's no attempt here to put that dynamic in context with the soap opera narrative being spun here (including femme fatale). even to say, "I don't know how it fits, but, it seems to be a missing part of the story i'm getting from my source." or SOMETHING. If she has so recently been desperate to leave, what gives?!?
what about it, Armondo??

Yea, Ireland bad. But Aponte is the now visible face of the dysfunction.

wouldn't be surprised if the next scandal-gate is a triangle sex scandal...

Marc, you may touch me now.


Please tell your source, Jeff Ireland, that he's getting replaced because he didn't do his job well. Jeff is no longer employed by the Dolphins. You can stop being Jeff's mouthpiece now.

When Ireland and the Dolphins agreed to part ways that is a clue that the person they hire to fill the talent aquisition role will not occupy the GM position, but will be higher up as a czar would be.I think it is possible that person will report to Ross but not have the power to fire coaches or FO executives.
I think the structure could change in the chain of command because clearly this past year exemplifies that the GM OC DC and HC did not seem to be on the same page,evidenced by the players released and acquired in free agency and the draft.

wouldn't china be surprised if the next papaya and turtle stew scandal-gate is a triangle glibodobo bibi hamaclata sex scandal...FLAMINGO GENITALS

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