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Personnel men gather at Shrine game and talk Dolphins

Practices for the East-West Shrine game, which will be played Saturday, started on Monday and not surprisingly a lot of the talk among the men of the NFL scouting and personnel community included the Dolphins, their current search for a general manager, and rumors that have been swirling around the team.

Let's address some of those rumors and bring as much clarity as possible based on the latest reporting on the topics:

There have been whispers that San Francisco 49ers offensive consultant Eric Mangini might eventually have a position with the Dolphins -- either in personnel or some other way -- after the 49ers current playoff run is over.

Part of those came from league sources that know Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wanted to add Mangini to the organization after 2011 and that Executive vice president of football administration Dawn Aponte formed a bond with Mangini when both were with the Jets. Later, when Mangini went to Cleveland, Aponte joined him there. When he was fired, Aponte was also made aware she was no longer needed.

[Update: The Dolphins called to say Aponte left Cleveland one year before Mangini was fired.]

Well, I'm told by club sources Mangini is not an option "at this time" and his name has "so far" not come up in discussions for any position with the team.

Aponte's name has come up at the Shrine practices because, well, the NFL is a good ol' boys network and she's not part of the network. And there are questions about her role with the Dolphins going forward. The fact she is part of interview process has made some personnel people around the league wonder what role she'll serve in helping the next Miami general manager do his job picking talent.

Let's clear that up now as well: I'm told by multiple Dolphins people Aponte will have no personnel role. The general manager will oversee personnel and report to owner Stephen Ross. Interestingly, however, even as the GM won't answer to either Aponte or head coach Joe Philbin, the plan currently is they will not answer to him, either.

The fact there are rumors about this at the gathering of multiple scouts, general managers and others personnel people should not be ignored. Being on everyone's lips in this setting is not a good thing in this instance. The fact is although former general manager Jeff Ireland was not among the more well liked personnel men in the league, he was, good or bad, part of the so-called club. And the division between the Dolphins personnel department and coach Joe Philbin and Aponte is well known now. 

There's not a whole lot the Dolphins can do about this gossip among league people other than hire a legitimate new general manager, not extend the process too long, not drop the ball by having the top candidates decline the job, and then letting the man filling the vacancy do his work without drama.

(This is in everyone's best interest including Ross, who has had multiple unseemly episodes under his ownership including the soured relationship of Ireland and Tony Sparano and then Ireland and coach Joe Philbin. It's also in the best interest of Philbin and Aponte to make nice with the incoming GM because they failed to get along with the last one, so the next time they have an issue with anyone, it will seem more a reflection on them than the new general manager).

Another topic that has not escaped scrutiny at the Shrine gathering is the fact the Dolphins have completely dismissed experienced general managers in this process. The team has shown no apparent interest in interviewing former New England and Kansas City personnel man Scott Pioli, former San Diego general manager A.J. Smith, or former Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo.

The Dolphins clearly have focused in on wanting an "up and comer" or a  "star in the making," according to one team source.


The Dolphins conducted no interviews for either their general manager or offensive coordinator vacancies on Monday.

Finally, it seems personnel people around the league are watching closely to see who the Dolphins hire. The thinking is most young, hungry personnel men who want to be a GM would be eager to take the Miami interview if offered.

It is a commodity in a year only two GM jobs came open. But the issue is not who interviews.

League people are watching to see if the Dolphins can actually close the deal. Can they hire their guy once they identify him in the interviews?

Ross, little known in league circles despite owning the Dolphins since 2009, nonetheless has something of a reputation for not being able to close. That's ironic for a man who made billions in real estate.

Ross couldn't close the deal for Jim Harbaugh when he wanted him in 2011. He couldn't close the deal for Jeff Fisher when he offered him the head coach job in 2012. He could not close with fellow owners in trying to get a Super Bowl to South Florida. And, it turns out, he could barely get in the running for Peyton Manning when that sweepstakes was at its height -- with sources saying recently the Dolphins needed to rely on Dan Marino to ask Manning as a personal favor to take a meeting with the Dolphins.

So the question that lingers is once the Dolphins pick their top finalist for the general manager job, will they be able to do what is necessary to convince him to take the job? At that point, the power shifts from the interviewers to the finalist. At that point the finalist can begin to make demands and it doesn't necessarily have to do with just money.

Will the Dolphins be able to hire their leading candidate? Or will they have to decide on a second option -- like when they stayed with Sparano in 2011 and hired Philbin in 2012?

Stay tuned.  


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I think this is a good article Mando...thanks for the insights. It's interesting to hear how this particular circle thinks of GM openings and how they currently view the Fins. Good job!

That all said....this is in Ross's hands to close the GM deal competently. His first move was a good one. He got Peterson invovled. He is an experienced NFL guy with a good solid reputation. But in the end the GM will work for Ross (even if he ultimately hires a Football Czar). In the end all candidates have to have confidence in Ross. Lets see if he can draw in a legit candidate.

BTW...We should all be fine with an 'up and comer.'

I agree that in most cases the first round should be used on playmakers. I do think however drafting a stud OT in the first 5 picks is a legit move for teams who have a glaring need.

So, at #19 I would think TE, WR, CB or RB would make sense. Given the teams current line up I'd think mostly RB, TE and WR (in that order).

HOWEVER, if the new GM was able to move up into the TOP 5 to grab a stud OT then I would fully support that. Clearly OT is our biggest need.

Lets see how FA plays out...that will dictate how they use the draft.

I understand the need to bash anything Dolphins at every turn, but I don't fault Ross for "not closing the deal" on Harbaugh, Fisher and Peyton. None of those situations were able to be "closed." Harbaugh wasn't moving across the country, it was already a done deal in SF. Fisher wanted something Ross wasn't offering (complete control). He's had it in St. Louis, doesn't seem to be working wonders with that team. And Peyton wasn't coming here, there weren't things in place to make us instant winners, and the issues with the FO probably scared him off as well.

So that's not really fair to say he could close those deals. Marty Kaan (House of Lies) couldn't close those deals. And I like the idea of new blood ("up-n-comer"). This team should project youth, that's where the league is going. I want someone with enough energy to be able to not rest until the job of making this team a Playoff team year in and out and even a SB champion is done.

I didn't think anybody actually paid any more attention to what Armando and his sources type in this blog?

I come here, see if there is actually any "news" and not any rumours form unnamed sources and to have dialogue with fellow fans...

I thought all other fans did the same. Mando hasn't had a very good year between the bullygate and the dawnjoe crappola...

...I don't know if any of you will watch the Shrine game this weekend. I love these College All-Star games so it will have my eye.

I am a small school junkie. I can tell you more about players nobody cares about then I should. 2 guys that I think should be on the Phins radar are both running backs.

Probably one of the best backs in the back half of the draft 4-7 IMO is NAU RB. Zack Bauman. He is quick, tough to tackle. A one cut runner. I'm not sure how or If he would fit on this team because he is similar to Lamar Miller in size.

The other guy is a guy I have talked about for 2 years on this blog..Tim Flanders from SHU. This is definitely a guy the Phins could find a place for. He is 210 pounds of funk. He is tough, he is shifty, he can catch the ball. He reminds me of Brian Westbrook.

wasn't Ireland an up and comer??

Agreed JPAO, free agency and teh combine will drastically upset the current order of balance...

Is he related to Ned Flanders?

when somebody said we were getting an up and comer with Parcell's pedigree we were happy. Then Ireland turned into Parcell's only Ireland didn't have the history. He was a pretender, nothing but a bean counter and a bad scout

::You guys need a new owner with a vision for the future, not a 74 y/o teenager who wants to hang out with the Estefan's and Fergie.
Good luck, you'll need it.

Posted by: Patriots4Life::

That's fresh. Bobby was knee deep in hookers before Myra was cold.

Ireland was an up and comer- he had his chance and you know what- he put together a playoff caliber team that was let down more by coaching than Ireland's decisions last year.

Whisenhunt new coach of the Titans? Well earned - the job he did with Rivers in San Diego was aamzing.

I could see a similar script with Kubiak here in Miami...

Well, not every up and comer develops ... doesn't mean it's a bad idea ... it's actually a great idea.

And some of you find this hard to believe but there are worse than ireland out there as far as talent evaluation...

Dolphins will interview for Broncos GM via Detroit today.

....Mark in Toronto..No diddly oh.

The intervien with mcadoo is today!!!
You heard it here first!

hey 78, maybe if u stop being such a dikk
u'r posts won't get nuked stupid

Did Tom Gamble jump on an old slow Greyhound bus?

Mark in Toronto- agreed about Ireland

Facts are Ireland put together a playoff team this year. I can only imagine how pissed Jeffy was web the DC comes out and says "the number 3 pick in the draft is only going to be a part time player." Lol I can imagine how pissed he was that the OC couldn't change the cadence on a hike thereby allowing our QB to get eaten alive.

New blood. Fresh approaches. This is what the team needs from it new GM and OC. To be honest I wish coyle got swept out of town with these changes too. Both coordinators last season were poor play callers IMHO.

71 he's hitch hiking cuz he knows cheap ross wont pay

Brian Xanders (born April 10, 1971) is an American football executive and former Florida State football player. He is the former general manager for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL).

Xanders joined the Lions as senior personnel executive in 2013, following a five-year stint with the Denver Broncos, including the last four seasons as the Broncos’ general manager. For the Detroit Lions, he will assist the player personnel department in college scouting, pro personnel, and scouting systems development.

This season marks his 20th NFL season which includes him serving in a variety of player personnel, scouting, football operations and coaching staff roles during his time at three different teams (Lions, Broncos and Falcons). He has direct experience in player evaluations with the last 16 NFL Draft classes and 12 Free Agency periods.

During his tenure as the Broncos’ general manager, Broncos won the AFC West Division for the last two years (2011-2012), where 55/61 players (90%) were acquired through the draft, free agency or re-signed during his tenure as GM. Denver became only the third team since the 1970 NFL merger to win its division and a playoff game with a new head coach following four wins the previous season.

The Broncos executed high-producing NFL Draft classes over the last three years, which finished #1 in the NFL in playtime and #2 in games started during 2010-12. There were nine primary starters from those draft classes, including three Pro Bowl players: LB Von Miller, WR Demaryius Thomas and OG Zane Beadles. The opening day roster of the 2013 Broncos had 18/25 starters from the draft classes from 2008-2012. There were also eight other Pro Bowl players who were acquired, signed or extended during his tenure: QB Peyton Manning (FA, 2012), SS Brian Dawkins (UFA, 2009–11), WR Brandon Lloyd (FA, 2009–11), RB Willis McGahee (FA, 2011), CB Champ Bailey (re-signed, 2011), DE Elvis Dumervil (re-signed, 2010), WR Brandon Marshall (re-signed, 2010), and OT Ryan Clady (1st round, 2008).

cheap ross wants a hand out from the measly 3rd world folk down in so flo for shade and better seats but he gives 200 m's to Michigan

I'll say what needs to be said here, because political correctness is out of control. The only skirt in the NFL with any real authority and it lands on our ball club. Ross better give this new GM total authority to clean house should he decide all this dysfunction is not working as it should.

oh boy, more of the same media nonsense.....blah, blah, blah....."cant close the deal", "old boy network"....certain "reputations".....whatever--hasnt it been reported, here and other places, NUMBEROUS times, that these same supposed GM/execs also "couldnt believe Ireland still had a job", etc?--so which is it? We all know Miami's GM job is not THE plum job across the league, but so what?--most others arent either....."young, hungry up and comer" sounds good to me--hey "good old boys"....the world changes.

Justin, MIT, JPAO,

Agreed - 1st round is for playmakers. The Dolphins need a couple of more of them. With 19th pick, I'm hoping for a WR/TE if one of the top ones are still on the board. I think history has shown that RB can be filled later in the draft. Of course, OL is a need this year. A LB who can tackle would be nice too.

Frank, who ever's fault is was to get rid of all the talented players (Vonte Davis, Sean Smith is as good as what we have now, Marshall, LB disaster, etc...) is hugely to blame, I believe Phillis is at fault for this.

Did Tom Gamble jump on an old slow Greyhound bus?
Posted by: finfan71 | January 14, 2014 at 09:56 AM


Apparently he's out of the loop. Haven't heard his name mentioned in a couple days.

If our crack reporter would get us news on why it would be much more interesting than the whole drama thing he wants to dwell on.

2 watt,

Cheap he is not. He's a business man and in a league where public subsidies is expected (and granted unfortunately) you can't blame him for trying. By the way, in 10 years we'll be building a new stadium for him. $200 million in upgrades was a bargain compared to the billion we're gonna be on the hook for later.


Good stats on Brian Xanders.

The rumor is Matt Millen is being flown in for an interview. Just kidding.

When you look at the four teams left in the playoffs, you see just how far the Dolphins have to go. What we are is an 8-8,mediocre team. Big jump to consistently being an 11-5/12-4 team, consistently making the playoffs and making the final four. Thats what we need to strive for. Hopefully better days are ahead.

It is obvious that the OC interviews are on a holding pattern until the GM position is filled. Because Ross has said that there must be cooperation and support from the GM to the HC, and viceversa. Hiring a OC without the blessing of the GM would send a negative sign to the new GM. This holding pattern could be a good sign that things will straighten out, at least at the start. Later on, the pulling and the pushing will start once again because Dawn Aponte is going to try to use Philbin for her power agenda and friction with the GM will arise. That is why we need Ross to establish very clear responsibilities and fields between the GM, HC and Aponte so that neither violate other's territories.

Matt Millen yeeeeeah, we're getting a WR at 19, whooo whooooo

Oline and Dline be damned, we're getting WR's

Aponte is just a bean counter, any more credence to her existence in just plain conjecture

another story coming out of the NY Post today is stating that tonight is the rubber match of the EAR Wrestling Championship between Obama vs Ross. If Ross wins it's a giving he'll be investigated by the IRS

it actually said giving instead of given, imagine that?

where is diety??? shine your brilliance upon us oh chosen one

Who in their right mind can defend this organization? If Aponte is just a capologist and this is all "Overblown" then why is she editing lockerroom speeches and overseeing Philbin's press conferences? The last time I checkhed that wasn't the job of a capologist. Face it, this team is an embarassment. Ross has screwed it up since day one. He needed to clean house but held on to Philbin to save face. Please interview and hire Tom Gamble. The proof is in the pudding and if you look at the rosters he has helped build (SF and Phila)you know he can find talent. Don't hire the person you know, please hire the best person for the job.

First let me congratulate Ms. Aponte for achieving so much in an obviously male-dominated environment. She has to be tough ad nails, and very smart, there is a reason why people like Ross, who has done way better than most of us, is so fond of her.

Having said all that, I have to wonder if any qualified GM would want a so-called capologist to make financial decisions that are intrically tied to roster moves. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think 90% of GMs in the league are in charge of that. In fact until recently most of us thought it was Ireland's job.

Now I do believe Mando is onto somothing about Mangini, and any other season I would have no problem with that but just imagine the power structure with Mangini and Aponte calling the shots. That is NOT a position any GM experinced or not would like to be. If that is the case why don't bring Mangini as the GM not as a so-called czar?

Aponte is trouble.

I am new to posting on this site but I am blown away by the negativity towards coach Philbin and Coach Coyle. I agree that Ireland was given ample time to build a team and couldn't do it so he needed to go. I hear from sources that Philbin wanted Lacy in the draft but Ireland wanted the DB from Boise State. Big miss.

While the team definately lost games they should have won, ie.. Buffalo game at home, Carolina game at home and Tampa game this team beat New England, Cincinatti, Indy, San Diego, Pittsburg on the road in the snow. Building a team takes continuity and experience. Watch the relationship with Tannehill and Wallace grow. The defense while giving up a lot of yards most does not give up the points. I am from NYC and have been a fan from the days of Griese and Csonka and Warfield and I spend a lot of Sundays screaming at the TV but I feel that the Dolphins are headed in the right direction. Lets see them go out a get a great running back and a couple of solid lineman and instead of 8-8 they will be 11-5.

Mangini and Aponte have achieved so much in NY Jets and Cleveland, yes, that's who I want

Jpao, I used to think like you but this game is won in the trenches. Unfortunately cor us we had someone incapable of assembling a good OL despite having the picks. There is a chance at 19 we will have a shot to land the LT from Tennessee, Richardson, at 6'6", 335 lbs he looks the part, is athletic enough to play zone and held his own vs Clowney.

We need a possession receiver with size and I will be curious what kind of shape Binns is this year and also the development of Deion Simms at TE. One thing the new GM must be able to do is to have an open forum with the coaching staff about some decisions. Philbin must NOT be allowed to continue to stall the development of rookies. We must see what these players are made of or, cut them. That simple. Egnew for instance, is he ever going to be a contributor or not? If not then cut him, that is one formula that has worked for Belichick.

Best thing that can happen for the sake of this team is for Ross to sell.

While I agree there was some progress made you can not ignore the fact we still underachieved because the stubborness of Philbin and both of his coordinators. You actually make the case it anyone needed to be fired it was Coyle. That defense went from stout vs the run to mediocre at best. Main reason? Coaches did not adapt to their personnel strengths. Look at what Belichick does in New England.

I agree Ireland was at the culprit of the dysfunction here by not picking players that Philbin would have preferred for his system but the truth is no one really knows how a prospect player would end up fitting certain schemes. Good coaches however; are able to dissect player's weaknesses and strengths and plan accordingly. That is something Belichick has mastered.

But even for him it took him years to get to that point. The one good thing about retaining Philbin is continuity and hoping he grows into the job. If he shows no progress then he must go dude. I am sincerely hoping he realizes that is better to be surrounded with the best people instead of bringing a bunch of nobodies to make you look good. Firing be QB will be an excellent start. I personally do not like Coyle but he will likely stay and hope that he too grows into the job and begins scheming according to his personnel and use Ellerbe, Wheeler and especially Jordan in different and effective ways.


Im also not a fan of coyle. Wasnt the DL supposed to be the strength of the defense? I totally agree that Sherman and coyle did not make enough in game adjustments to suit the talent level that was fielded.

For the record, I like what Mando does here and while I think that some of this soap opera is a bit sensationalized, I don't think this story about inter-department conflicts and skeptical NFL chatter about the phins comes out of this air. I think what Mando writes about how the phins are viewed around the league is very likely true for the most part.

That said, I have one major criticism. I don't doubt that Ross is developing somewhat of a reputation for being out of touch, but at least two of three examples that mando continually sites as rejections are absolute nonsense. Jeff Fisher didn't take the job because Ross wouldn't give him full control. NO Thanks. POINTS for Ross on that one, sorry Mando.

Peyton was NEVER going anywhere except a major contender with an established coach and staff. Mia was in rebuilding mode in search of an entire staff. Manning met with ross for 5 hours as a courtesy (Mando paints that as a bad thing), but it's obvious he told them during that meeting he wasn't coming, since we traded a Marshall the very next day, but days before Manning officially declined. This is not an indictment of Ross as much as it was not a good fit for Manning. I wouldn't have taken the Mia job either.

As for Harbaugh. OK, perhaps chasing him while having another coach under contract turned Harbaugh off. That's possible. It's also quite possible that Ross being an unknown entity compared to SF's structure was something to be wary about. But is that Ross' fault? And how does Mando know that was the deal breaker? It's just as likely, if not more so, that Harbaugh simply was more comfortable in the Bay area and felt that he had more to build with on both sides of the ball. Obviously he was right.

Look, I'm not a supporter of Ross. If he sold the team to someone who has a real passion and history with the game, we'd be better off. I just think all this Ross-is-talent-repellant is begging overblown and with Mando constantly repeating it in EVERY article, it's almost become a self fulfilling prophesy

I wish Ross was a "Jerry Jones" Dawnhoejoe wouldn't be a factor in hiring another GM, because she is the reason why Jeffery got the axe. I wasn't and am not a Ireland fan but theres a right way and a wrong way to do things and running to Philbin to tattle tale on Ireland is just wrong, you can't do things like that in a franchise or Corporations. In any other NFL franchise Dawonhoejoe would have been fired for being a tattle tale. Now IF the Dolphins find the right GM, to draft and work FA only then he'll probably ask Ross, does he report to Ross only? personally?. If he just drafts college players, he has to at some point give Philbin a "heads up". Then the question is will the new GM and Philbin/Dawnhoejoe decide to get involved or hinder the GM? Its the relationship between Dawnhoejoe and Philbin that is the question.

I would bet the mortgage the first rd Dolphin pick is an OT, right or left depends on who's left at 19, a young, aggressive GM might trade up to get the better LTs

Mando I appreciate the work you do, but I have to believe you are blowing this Aponte thing way out of proportion. I noticed you do that when you have an axe to grind. Maybe she limited your access to Philbin. Who knows but every article you mention her. She does not run the team and she is not a personnel specialist. She will do her job no matter who is there.

Win some football games and show you have a good QB. They will come. All these GM's know teams live and die by their QB. Not a shocker all the teams in the playoffs have either a hall of fame, potential hall of fame, or top 5 QB playing. QB elevates the whole team. A good QB makes or breaks many careers in the NFL. How many so called great GM's and even more so coaches faltered when they went to another team after making a nice run with a hall of fame QB and ended up looking horrible.

Whispers are that Mando, Ross and Aponte are in a sex triangle. Things got nasty when Ireland stole the vibrators had hid them in Sparano's suite.

Armando doesn't know squat 'cus no one in 'DaPhins!' organization will talk to him. That's why he irresponsibly reports 'so called' rumors. 'Proof?' You know Philbin doesn't talk to anybody and, no one has ever talked to Aponte. Most couldn't even tell you what she looks like. It's reporters like this guy, that muddy up the water for those fools who believe what he writes. The guy is guessing, at best people.


The problem with Ross is that he took the 'you can't win if you don't try' approach with Harbaugh, Fisher and Manning. Clearly, he was being used by Harbaugh and Balke and bringing Fisher on the helicopter...ugh. Although Fisher would have been possibly worse, we got Philbin by default. Ross got played. 3 times. All he had to do was gauge **serious** interest by telephone and back channels. Instead, he seemed more worried about making the APPEARANCE of trying to get the consensus best available.

Bad...really bad...instincts for an insular business universe with 31 other companies with their 30 billionaire owners (GB excluded). Mind you, Ireland was useless as an adviser and inherently a coward.

Hopefully, he gets it right this time. Meaning he gets HIS guy and closes the deal without public spectacle. At least when Huizenga hired mistakes like Cam Cameron and Wannstedt he somehow did it without looking like a fool in the process. The unknown role of Aponte isn't helping except that Armando has another entry in the Daily Gabber. Maybe having King Carl in his ear saves him from making the same mistake. Maybe. Otherwise, he is in the Dan Snyder, Glazer or Ford family camps of throwing pasta at the wall.

If you believe Aponte will not interfere with the new GM, then I've got some swamp land in Florida you might be interested in! If media reports are accurate, Aponte was instrumental in getting Jeff Ireland fired and she has been the most vocal during interviews for GM.

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