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The arguments: Coaching vs. personnel dept.


The NFL is about pitting opposing forces against each other in a battle for survival. It's about one team against another. An offense against a defense. A unit, perhaps offensive line, against another unit, such as the defensive line. Sometimes the NFL even pits a team against itself. Teammates practice against one another. Teammates at the same position compete against one another for jobs and playing team.

And at times like this, one department within a team may be forced to face off against another.

That's what it seems might have happened with the Dolphins Thursday. You see, if owner Stephen Ross's visit to the Dolphins training facility was what was widely reported -- a fact-finding mission to help the owner understand why his team was only 8-8 -- then Ross might have unintentionally been asking one department to face off against another.

On Thursday at Dolphins camp it could have been the coaching staff vs. the personnel department.

It was Ross meeting separately with coach Joe Philbin and general manager Jeff Ireland to find out why things went sideways in 2012. And he almost surely got vastly different answers to the same questions.

We already know Philbin believes his coaching staff, led by offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, did an outstanding job in 2013. That's why Philbin wants to keep the group intact. And it's pretty clear the personnel department believes it also deserves a continuing opportunity to upgrade the Dolphins because, well, the talent in '13 was upgraded over 2012.

But both cannot be exactly right when they're both responsible for a team folding in the final two weeks and losing as many games as it won. So here are the different views of the world:

The coaching staff's view: We did as well as we could under difficult circumstances and talent that simply wasn't good enough.

The personnel department's view: We provided enough talent to get this team to the playoffs and the development and coaching of that talent failed to get us there.

I'm not saying that is exactly what the two department heads -- Philbin and Ireland -- told Stephen Ross. But ultimately, that has to have been the general message for each to make a case they deserve to continue with the team.

Same team. Two different views of why the Dolphins failed to make the playoffs.

And, interestingly, both can score points. Both have a case. It's not 100 percent one department's fault why the Dolphins didn't reach the playoffs.

Consider, if you will, the issues I am about to present. I will give you the coaching staff's view of the issue and the personnel department's view.

The offensive line

The coaching staff's view: Are you kidding us? We worked a miracle with this rag tag bunch. Sure they allowed a franchise record 58 sacks but we lost two starters, we were working with an afterthought signing at RT that got benched midway through the season, we had to start Sam Brenner, a rookie undrafted guy, a couple of games. We might have used a rookie high-round draft pick to fill in but we didn't have any. We had Dallas Thomas but he didn't meet his draft pedigree expectations. We made Mike Pouncey into a Pro Bowl player. And we didn't have Jake Long.

The personnel department's view: We offered Jake Long nearly as much money to sign in Miami as he got in St. Louis and he made the decision to leave. We didn't cast him out. Also, he finished the season on the injured reserve list for the third time in three years so he simply is not a playoff-caliber LT because he doesn't last until the playoffs anymore. We had a solid answer to replace Long with Jonathan Martin but he freaked out. That's not the personnel department's fault. And even before that happened, we traded for Bryant McKinnie and he played well much of the time he was here. As for right tackle, Tyson Clabo was very good in Atlanta last year and was good toward the end of this season. He neither forgot how to play after leaving Atlanta nor suddenly remembered late in the year. His early season struggles was a coaching issue. Oh yeah, we drafted Mike Pouncey.

The run defense

Coaching staff's view: The two new linebackers the personnel department signed -- Dannell Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler -- didn't pan out as advertised. They didn't play downhill. They didn't make plays behind the line of scrimmage. They weren't the upgrade we were promised. Randy Starks had a good year. Paul Soliai was good as well. We improved the play of Cameron Wake in holding the edge and developed Olivier Vernon into a fine player. We rock!

Personnel department's view: The two new linebackers did not play as well in Miami under this coaching staff as they did last year for different staffs -- Ellerbe in Baltimore and Wheeler in Oakland. And here's a trend: The two guys we got rid of, because this staff wanted an upgrade, played better for their new coaches than they played here for these guys. By the way, we didn't overpay for Starks or Soliai so they played harder in a contract year. And we drafted Vernon. What a bargain!

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill

The coach staff's view: He improved this year. He's still a work in progress but anyone who doesn't see he's getting better is a hater. Yes, he's got pocket presence issues. But Zac Taylor will take care of those next training camp just like he took care of the issue for ... um, nevermind. Tannehill cannot hit the deep pass to Mike Wallace but that's because Wallace runs too fast. Why did we sign a guy that runs too fast? We will get that taken care of next training camp.

The personnel staff's view: We drafted him. Fans said we overdrafted him at No. 8. If he was coming out in this year's draft he'd be No. 1 overall to the Texans. You going to get rid of a GM who finally found you a quarterback? Checkmate.

Mike Wallace

The coaching staff's view: He had a great season. We were given a player who doesn't fight for the football when it's in the air so his ball skills are questionable. He had durability issues in training camp and we milked him for a good, solid season. It's not our fault if someone, ahem, overpaid for him.

The personnel department's view: Wallace is a proven, dynamic, deep threat receiver who averaged 17.5 yards per catch in Pittsburgh and that's what he would have been here if the coaching staff hadn't turned him into a 12.7 yard per catch possession receiver. They always lined him up on the same side of the field. They never motioned him to get him open quicker. They never used him in the slot.

Brent Grimes

The coaching staff's view: We coached him back to his Pro Bowl form.

The personnel department's view: We saw something in him and were willing to pay what other teams, including the Atlanta Falcons, were not. We rock!

Reshad Jones

The coaching staff's view: He took something of a step back once those other guys paid him. We did the best we could and turned him into a run-stopping strong safety.

The personnel department's view: He was becoming a playmaker until those other guys couldn't find a way to stop to the run and started lining him up in the tackle box most of the time.

The rookie draft class

The coaching staff's view: They didn't help one bit. They were always hurt. It's as if they weren't there. We can't make chicken salad out of chicken, well, you know.

The personnel department's view: No one developed them. Great coaching staffs develop players as we go, even after training camp is over. This group gives up on young players after training camp so it takes a year to develop even the good players -- like Olivier Vernon. Trust us, Dion Jordan is a beast and Jamar Taylor will be good.

The running game

The coaching staff's view: We didn't have Reggie Bush. The offensive line fell apart. Daniel Thomas is just a guy. Lamar Miller is just a faster guy, but ultimately he's JAG.

The personnel department's view: Bush fumbled a bunch and was benched in Detroit. How do you think that would have played here? Miller averaged 4 yards a carry. We'll address the position in the offseason. And, by the way, you can't run the ball against Buffalo (the No. 26 ranked team against the run) if you don't try it more than 12 times. New England ran it on Buffalo 43 times one week after we tried only 12 runs. They gained 267 yards.

The collapse

The coaching staff's view: We had a bad game at Buffalo and none of the players made a play. That's a talent issue. Against New York, they played very well. We congratulate the New York Jets for the victory. They deserved to win. But everyone gave effort. We tried hard. We milked every last point out of a team that was so lacking in talent we were 3-4 against AFC teams that failed to make the playoffs.

The personnel department's view: We were talented enough to beat Phillip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton and Tom Brady but we lost to Thad Lewis twice and Geno Smith with the playoffs on the line? We were 4-1 against AFC playoff teams but lost twice to the last-place Bills and the winless (at the time) Bucs? That inconsistency isn't a talent issue. We had the talent to make the playoffs.


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Listen, Buster, this Season, at least for me, has been the most exciting one in many years. I get bored by running away scores. Parity has worked for the NFL, IMO.

Marc if you are too dumb to figure it out, you are too dumb to be asking. You guys are seriously brain deficient.

Don't agree with that, Ellis.

We have a good defence and Coyle did a great job this year. The QBing however is no better than the Henne years and is the weakest link. Its back to the draft for a QB but I dont have any confidence that Ireland can pick a good one.

@ Oscar...it was an interesting season...the only boring part is the same result for our Fins as in previous seasons.....wish we had Don Schulla back....

(I know I spelled it wrong....I'm just a ballbreaker
at heart)

Ass hole

Go crawl back under your rock troll

Marc does not like his own medicine.

I can tell you all this.

None of you have the right to mock or laugh at anyone else's opinion. You are all seriously far behind the 25% of the population that has a clue.



You might want to run a little bit here, run the clock down, kick a FG. What you think?

Never heard of him, Ramon.

What a Team, what a Coach. If I were LV I might make them favorites to win the SB.

Kaep > Tannehill > Rodgers > Luck > RG3

Peyton will not be denied this year.

Who is Denver's HC? Peyton Manning.

Every warm weather team won at a cold weather site this weekend.

Perhaps now--at long last--we can finally lay to rest this stupid and baseless belief that warm weather teams struggle in the cold.

It has never been true.

Those that continue to believe it are now exposed as morons.

It might be a game of inches but you have to get there first.

Oscar....parity has worked for the NFL and MLB as well...but with what result? The shuffling of players through the FA market has resulted in a reduced connection for fans with their respective teams.

Just when one becomes comfortable with the roster, there is a series of transactions, and suddenly the roster names are not so familiar. Instantly, the $75 jersey with your favorite player's name across the back no longer holds as much value.

Yes, the talent level has reached an equilibrium, but the nostalgia meter has taken a dip. And since parity seems to be here to stay, the establishment of "dynasties" in the NFL may well be a thing of the past.

But that is what the League wanted; that is what the smaller markets wanted. Sometimes we need to be careful about what we wish.

Peyton is the HC of the NFL. He knows more than every OC and DC out there. He teaches football to his OC.

LOL, I see that Armando has been reading www.DolphinsTruth.com again. Ever since you guys have turned me onto that site, Armando has been writing the same things they write!

Buster, I would like to do the Rhumba or some other elegant ballroom dance from a bygone era with you.

Also, I would enjoy if we dressed as Southern Belles from the pre Civil War era in pretty hoop dresses and carrying gaily colored parasols that we would twirl around to entice Gentlemen Callers with impeccable manners and good grooming habits.

FinfanCPA...YES!!!! If we beat Buffalo, it would be in spite of Philbin, not because of him. YES...we do want Mr Ross to start over.


Peyton chose Denver. Why? Because they were the only other team with someone as knowledgable as he. John Elway. Simple.

Ha ha ha ha ha...now Ellis wants to talk about football.....and expects everyone to pay attention...

..after he labeled all of us as ...what was it ..oh yes
"sheer brain dead uneducated illiterate morons'..

...he's so intelligent , but he never learned that the easiest way to lose your audience is to insult them..

..uh..that goes for friends as well....of which I'm certain he has very few....

Yo Howard...you caught me on a bad day....

,...maybe in the future sometime...

..like next lifetime....

...ta ta ....

Hey folks....I'd really like to hang with y'all, but time is wasting...and I'm off in search of a limp-handed Chinaman named Irving..

....it's been fun...ciao for now...

...maybe he can start on my job tomorrow, so I can quit flippin' those friggin' burgers !!!!!!!!!

Buster, if I wanted you as an audience I'd have whipped it out.

I'm just sending beacons to those 3% out there that are not so ADD that they don't know his name is not Grease.

There will be no Dynasties anymore. Everybody will be left to their own devices.

Oscar the NFL unintentially ruined itself. The heydey of the NFL is gone for good.

I'll bet the Green Bay fans are slamming Rodgers just like the bloggers here slam RT. Ditto in Cincy.

Fans basically call everyone a loser, even those far more accomplished than themselves.



Fraud, have you pulled on your sons ears today?

Someone is faking me now. Figures. I guess your GI Joe doll broke.

Good night slum dogs.

I eat lip balm.

HoHo, they fu-ked Ellis on that Island.

There is enough talent in this draft and FA to put together a team that can challenge for the playoffs. The key is to have coaches that know what they need and have a system to implement their talent.
The other is to have a front office that can get the talent required, whether it be drafting, FA or UFA.
It is that simple.

Bloggers here name themselves after erections and diapers.

Look at what Fatcells did. In one year he flipped a franchise. He got rid of all the humps he could not use.
The main thing he did was to get a smart QB in FA. This guy could barely throw a pass farther than he could throw up, but he was accurate and could read a D.

I want to converse with bloggers than name themselves after erections.

Forget the Stats. Luck > Tannehill, Kaepernick > Tanneill, Wilson > Tannehill.

Like Stats? Ten 3rd year or younger QBs > Tannehill.

Tannehill is > Henne, but that's not saying much. Not much at all.

After SIX years of Ireland's rebuilding, the Dolphins are still years away. At least we got an All Pro Punter (2nd Team, of course). Oh wait, Ireland didn't draft the punter. He drafted...not a single offensive playmaker in six drafts. Tannehill may be very good in time, but he's no very good now.

Cincy is already talking about cutting Dalton and the coaches. It's a tough league.

Don't fault Sherman for his play calling when the anemic QB forced him into limited plays.

Lot's of these handywipe bloggers criticized Ireland for not taking Dalton. He looks like a bust now.

Henne > Tannehill

We're doomed to continuing irrelevance & joke status. If the debacle of the last two games, the lack of motivation & preparation & execution, the abysmal season long stats don't precipitate ANY change, nothing will.
Hello L. A.

I know it isn't popular, but I like Tannehill very much. He has played spectacular at times, better than any of our QB's since Marino. He has upside. Improve the team and he will improve too.

I don't go by stats. Quote them all you want. I agree with Belichek, they are meaningless.

How can you keep a guy that basically wastes all your drafts!?!

The time to judge a draft is 3 to 5 years out, not the same year. 2013 is going to be a stellar draft.

No o-line---didn't address it, never traded for Albert
RBs can't pass block-- let Bush walk away
Inside LBs look lost.--- Dansby is playing like an all- pro

For a guy that is so thorough in interviews( Dez's Mom), he never once thought Richie and Martin might not make a good combo?

I'm all for loyalty, but you can literally be loyal to a fault. Make him a scout or head of the hot dog stands but for the Dolphin's sake remove him from the position of GM.

Ellis, Zonk rub each others panorks

If you have a competent scheme, and a poor player application you have a personnel issue. If the other, you have piss poor coaching.
Where do you think we set?

The two aren't mutually exclusive. Our GM and our coaches suck. The gm left holes on both sides of the ball, and our coaches weren't able to put our team in a position to overcome them. And on game days, I don't think they even contemplate second half adjustments.

Pine Sol and Hard On talk football.

Pathetic cast of characters here.

zilo, ape tamer,Zonk and Ellis are all stroked by Oscar til release. Then oscar has them all bend over

The time to judge a draft is 3 to 5 years out
Posted by: Tyler | January 05, 2014 at 10:27 PM

Except in Irescums case when half the picks are out of the league within 2 years!!

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