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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.

Comments

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John in springs@ 1:40,

Too funny! I Thot I was bad on Sundays! But true dat son!! If current staff is still intact I seriously doubt I will order NFL Sunday ticket after a long run.

THE BIGGEST FRAUD OF ALL: YOU NEED AN 'ELITE' QB TO WIN

This implies that if you have an elite QB that you will win a SB.

But if you cloned Peyton 31 times and made each team start Peyton at QB every game then 31 of the Peytons would not win a SB.

Also the average career for a starting QB in the NFL is 6 seasons.

Troll, I guess you weren't around when I was begging for Mallett to be our pick in 2011? Henne homer, get a clue your froge.

TannePuke is 37th in yards/attempt and thats pathetic. Its back to the draft for a decent QB.

I cannot believe this debate is happening. Both Ireland and Philbin need to go. Trying to blame one more than the other is stupid. BOTH SUCK! Philbin is the easiest to judge. The last two weeks, he had the more talent team with fewer injuries and was going against teams led by rookie QB's with mediocre-to-poor coaching. The Dolphins were playing for the playoffs while the Bills and Jets were playing for nothing. Philbin could not win in this situation (in fact his team got a beat down in both games), so it is clear he sucks. Ireland had 6 years and the last 2 were totally in his control. He's used up all of the benefit of the doubt. Both must go. Keeping either would be a disaster.

Craig @1.48
only improvement, TD, thats because he pass a lot more this year, Clay, Wallace and Hartline also convert several short passes onto TD, but the question is how many TD he left on the board? anyway how many times did he actually threw to the endzone this year?

Someone please explain how THill was sacked 0 times and put up 7 measley pts?? He led the league in 3 and outs. What QB have you ever seen cant throw the ball 20 yards down the field accurately??? You either have it or dont this cant be taught..

Lookidat, Karlos Dansby made 2ng Team Pro-Bowl behind Kuechly. We need Players like that.

MIT, I have to disagree with you in regards to tannehill even tho we are fellow countrymen. I jus don't see ryan as a QB to lead a team.... I jus can't! He's a "YES" man type of person and does not have that killer instinct a QB shud carry come crunch time. I can only see him improve if he is taught from someone else but I seriously doubt it seeing he cannot throw a long ball nor deep patterns. That is only taught by the QB himself and he consistently shows that he does not have the "IT" factor..... Sorry bro!

Caddy, I like Bridgewater better than Manziel.

I think Ross has to fire Ireland. Keep Philbin under the circumstance that he must get this team to the playoffs or he's done. The new GM will decide with Philbin which coaches & players stay or go or get aquired. 1 year to get this right or all are gone..

Mark @ 1.51, you right, I reply wrong to you, sorry.

Sure, there was remarkable improvement from 1st to 2nd year by Tanne. The worst of it was leaving at least 10 tds on he playing field to just one player alone(Wallace). As I said in a prior post, this is calculating on the conservative end of the spectrum.

Tannehill has to be worst in the league in leaving tds on the field to just one player alone. I'm not bashing Tannehill, just highlighting an area in his game that must drastically improve.

He hit only 25% of 10 Wallace misses, that alone is 4tds and 2 more wins. If this had happened during the season. Regardless of what happened the "FINAL 2WKS", we're still in the playoffs at 10-6 and Wallace has 9td receptions instead of 5.

All of those misconnects to Wallace cost at least 2 more wins. That's being conservative too.

Tannehill took a beating for his Team.

That alone deserves another year. If he can't correct his accuracy issues, he must go

To quote Mike Wallace "I am open deep very often".

The QB from UCF would love to play for the Miami Dolphins.

the biggest mistake that Ross did was not to sign Manning, that was an opportunity and he wasted, he should have offered Manning WHATEVER he wants.

Tannehill came nowhere near leading the league in three and outs but continue...

Tannehill's turnovers aren't a problem if you look at each turnover play-by-play. Tannehill's biggest weakness is not looking deep more and throwing accurately when it's there. The former might be partly due to the playbook.

I swear I think the worst part of our offense is the predictability. Defenses were jumping everything we were doing from screens to running plays. However, whenever we threw some misdirection at them we scored some huge yards and it opened up our offense. One of my favorite plays of the year (and it didn't even work) was the fake screen where THill threw a pump-fake against the Jets. If he had completed the play it would have been a huge momentum builder and it could have allowed our screens in the future to be a little more open. We definitely don't keep defenses guessing enough and on their toes. On the flip side, the Bills and Jets were aggressive and threw a number of successful surprises within their offensive gameplans- it's what made the difference.

Fire Ireland,coyle, Sherman, QB coach, but keep philbin. I will give him another chance to prove himself but hire a GM who is a football czar and can give philbin a chance

Krillian @2.04 remember we cannot do any playaction, any fakes because of the insane:

288888!!!! GO GO = Running / 2888888! GO = passing (even playaction fakes)

Mannign wanted nowhere near this team. As a matter of fact of all the teams that wanted him, this was the only one he wouldn't visit. He even visited Arizona before here. Ross wanted him bad and would've gave him anything. he didn't want it. Personally I think it was a mistake on his part. He would've had a much easier go of it having home field throughout the playoffs in Miami than in that crapstorm in Denver.

Tannehill doesnt have the accuracy to be a starter. We've all seen that many times.

Congratulations to Brandon Fields on his All-Pro nomination. Very well deserved.

Everyone calling for T-Hill's head knows nothing about football. True, he has had problems with the deep ball, but beyond that, has performed well under extraordinary circumstances. No o-line, no runnig game, backs that can't block, loss of a primary receiver in Gibson then Hartline. This guy carried us much of the year. Can he be better, yes, and nobody would argue that. Did he keep us in and win far more games than he personally lost for us.. by far. He is a young QB that can make all of the throws (exception of the deep ball which may take more time and only time will tell, smart, cut way back on mistakes. The problem isn't T-Hill as afar as I can see, it's a lot of other factors. He needs another year to say good or no good.

Markey Mark, he did lead the league in 3 and out buddy.

must of Tanne turnovers came in crucial moments:

- new orleans: fumble / Buffalo: pick 6 & fumble / NE" fumble & INT / Tampa: INT / Carolina: INT / Buffalo: 0 points / Jets: 3 INT

I don't know if they give All-Pro for long snappers but John Denney is the best of those I've ever seen.

I dont think that Ross offer Manning WHATEVER he wants, I mean (WHATEVER)

Yes, Tannehill did show improvement in one select area from 2012 to 2013. In 2012 he threw 12 ints, in 2013 he threw 17. Now that's improvement!

GOGO,

Not only did Tannehill improve his TD numbers greatly and his yards greatly, he did it behind the most porous OL in the NFL and with no running game.

AGAIN.....don't let FACTS get in the way of your argument.

People blurb-out a lot of things here, Fire Everybody!, Tannehill sucks!, but I have not seen a single reasonable explanation why they feel it should be so. Except for fin4life, but he misspells words.

after having a second year QB back in 1984 with 5,084 yards and 48 TD.... thats what I call improvement!


Posted by: Krillian | January 03, 2014 at 02:04 PM

Correct, our play's were to predictable, no deception at all and has nothing to do with GO , GOGO. We were easy to defend because Sherman is a dinasour.

MassDolfan,

And why do you think his pick numbers were up?

Because they had him throwing much more than he should have been? Why? Because we couldn't run the damn ball all year. Face it guys, this was a one dimensional offence. I don't blame Sherman for that. Ireland put the offensive line together and drafted the RBs. Neither of the backs we have should be starters. They're both back-ups in my opinion.

I do agree that it's not quite time to give up on Tannehill due to the OL issues stated by other posters. But my main concern is that you expect a young player to show improvement throughout the season and finish strong. But he didn't. He was downright terrible the last 2 games (the most important ones of the season) and that is not a good sign. And he showed zero improvement at all this season in 2 areas: deep ball accuracy, and pocket presence. I am still hoping he makes leaps and bounds next season to becoming a franchise QB. But I am not confident.

Its time to stop the excuses and rationalizations. Face it. Henne was better than Tannehill.

anyone that thinks that the GO & GO GO has nothing to do with the defense having a jump every play does know nothing about football or any competitive sports & game, thats like a pitcher telling the hitter he is going with a fastball or Lebron telling the defense he is going for Allen for 3, beside that tip & predictable snap count does not give you any advantage and is not needed at all, why? is still a mistery and blows my mind. But for sure is though to run & pass the football when the defense know.

Tannehill progress = being able to reach or not over throw a wide open receiver for more than 10 yards.

MassDolphan

You're right, Tannehill's ints did greatly improve, just not the way you believed with your post.

2012

484 passing attempts 13tds
= 1 int every 37.23 passing attempts

2013

588 passing attempts 18 ints

= 1 int every 45.23 passing attempts

That's positive improvement my friend. He was 8 passing attempts better in 2013.

There's More:

2013

12 tds = 1 td every 40.3 passing attempts

2013

24 tds = 1 td every 24.3 passing attempts

So as you can see, Tannehill made great strides in both areas. Just those Wallace misses stick out like a sore thumb most.

Posted by: GOGO | January 03, 2014 at 02:30 PM

wrong, how can you change a defense in between GO and GO-GO?

Tannehill progress = being able to hit the broadside of a barn 10 yds away LOL

Troll,

There is a simple explanation and Armando alluded to it in his post. MIKE WALLACE IS RUNNING TO FAST!

So, basically Tannehill threw the ball 8 more times per game over 2013 vs 2014. Statical evidence proves he was better in every area as far as numbers are concerned.

Still, he needs to improve in areas numbers can not measure. Like his deepballs to Wallace and pocket presence.

Sam

You are only painting half the Wallace picture. Let's not forget he dropped plenty of perfectly thrown passes which could have turned some of those L's into W's.

Nobody would be complaining if we were 10-6. Their are plenty of culprits on both sides of the ball for a couple of extra losses.

Wallace hates Tanny.

Sorry guys it's a WEAK argument....

If you're blaming Tannehill for the loss in Buffalo you obviously didn't watch the game. The OL was overmatched all game and Tannehill was under pressure all game. He never had a chance. On top of all that, how many passes did Hartline drop? Was that Tannehill's fault too?

He suffered a knee injury that he took into the last game of the season. He didn't play well in the last game but. He wasn't the only one.

You can't keep on trying to match a Head Coach with a GM or vice versa. So, the first order of business should be to fire both Ireland and Philbin or, "Bundle" them ala American Pickers. Give them a final year together.

It's a terrible situation to be in, but we're "in it". Either way it needs to be fixed.

Other than that, we have to get the O-Line fixed and the "situation(ahem)" at Linebacker fixed. Ellerbe and Wheeler underperformed terribly. The staff was content and didn't even give Dion Jordan a look there.

The biggest issue is probably Mike Sherman and his stubborness. He failed to adapt or make any significant adjustments. This probably cost the team more than almost all the other issues combined.

For a lack of any better options, I give Philbin and Ireland a final year to put up or shut up. I personally would HAVE TO replace Sherman(and Jim Turner as well). Fix the O-Line and the Linebacker situation.

I don't think we're in as bad as shape as many think. The collapse magnified the issues. But being completely honest, The Team as is, wasn't going to make any deep playoff run anyways.

ValHalla!!!!

If Wallace had the good sense to slow down the ball would be closer to him. Oh but so would the DB, is that a problem? The receivers should be taught how to get away with offensive pass interference so they can pull down some of Tannehills deep throws.

Troll ...

http://www.sportingcharts.com/nfl/stats/three-and-out-percentage/2013/

Note ven close, thanks for coming out.

Oscar, denney has two pro bowls under his belt ... so yes.

Craig,

No problem on the Schwartz thing. It happens. I believe you are talking about Munchak. A pretty good O-line coach, just OK as a coach.

You know who else is a Fisher disciple that I would pick over Coyle. Gregg Williams, Bountygate and All. That guy will have this defense attacking.

All you have to do is compare the Patriots and the Dolphins records over the last years, neither team had a significant "talent" advantage overall (yes I understand Brady is really good, but it takes a whole team). When a Patriots player makes a play, in many instances I have to ask, Who Is That?

Coaching, plain and simple. No one save those inside the organization truly know who needs to go (we get the sanitized/safe talk from insiders and the media only gets the same).

Also, see Eagles and Chiefs last year to this: real estate is Location, Location, Location: NFL is Coaching, Coaching, Coaching.

Sam, that's exactly right @ 2:33

Maybe if Wallace was 10 ft tall with 8 ft wingspan he could catch Tannehill

Craig @ 2:39, I think I read a stat somewhere that said that our Qb was under pressure on 75% of his dropbacks... when you add a 1.zilch yards per carry to the equation from the RB ... how will taht work out every time?

Just read Mando's blog update. A few things come to mind immediately.

On the unimportant side it seems like the Fins famous cloak of secrecy must really work if the local media can't tell if the coaching staff and personnel department are working together or not after 2 years.

More importantly if Mando's theory is correct and one side is blaming the other, why aren't they working together? If if they're not who's to blame?

If that is truly the case then a house cleaning may well truly need to be in order.

In moments of frustration I've said thats exactly what needs to happen. It was in frustration though because I think what I truly would like to see is an explanation from Philbin and Irealnd about where they failed (I say they because they should be a team), how serious they're taking it, and what their plan is to fix it.

Not just the Philbin version of we improved in some areas but others need areas to get better blah blah blah.

More of an outline of what needs to get done by the time the team takes the field next year and how their going to accomplish it. Maybe it doesn't mean firings maybe it means additions perhaps.

Ross has plenty of money. Bring in a draft advisor, or extra position coaches, some motivational speakers, whatever it takes. You don't always have to stay in the same box.

wallyfin,

are you related to Sherman or Philbin? please Armando, check that!

Markey Mark, THill is the same player he was at Texas A&M will make a couple of plays here and there bt will ultimatley choke when it really matters like the last 2 games ive seen enough!

Consider that we got 100 yards more of offense out of Mike Wallace than Pitt did last year. Big ben can't throw the deep ball ... worse than Tannehill.

There, that's how our trolls would write it if they were Steeler fans...

We are just reliving Wanny. He wiffed on many drafts also. Is there anything any one of you out there has seen from this leadership to tell you that this ship is going in the right direction? I am convinced that if we do not scrap the whole thing and reload we are going to sit at our computers next year and say the same thing. For the past 10 years have you ever heard from any and I will settle for one So-called draft expert who said wow the Dolphin draft was real good. They all sit there on Sunday and say what did the Dolphins do. I am stealing from above but this so right!
The Dolphins made the following picks in the first three rounds in 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2009:

Jordon - gave up two picks for this part-time player (29% of the def snaps for a NUMBER 3 Pick are you kidding)
Taylor - Who?
Davis - Who?
Thomas - probably a bust if he can't play for this OL
Tannehill - jury is still out; deep ball a concern
Martin - will probably be off team in 2014 Who did the back round on the pillsbury dough boy way to soft
Vernon - very good player
Egnew - Bust
Pouncey - very good but highest pick ever for a center
Thomas - gave up three picks for average RB
Ordick - solid to good pick (remember this is our first round pick)
Misi - average
Jerry - below average
Davis - with Colts (with his partner Smith toast one and two)
White - bust and a reach in the 2nd round
Smith - with Chiefs can not catch
Turner - bust
Long - with Rams
Merling - bust
Henne - bust
Langford - bust


Sam

You are only painting half the Wallace picture. Let's not forget he dropped plenty of perfectly thrown passes which could have turned some of those L's into W's.

Nobody would be complaining if we were 10-6. Their are plenty of culprits on both sides of the ball for a couple of extra losses.

Posted by: Teal | January 03, 2014 at 02:38 PM


Teal, I only paint the picture for those who UNFAIRLY criticize Tannehill. What you suggest only fits completion percentage number.

Even with receiver drops, Tannehill's comp% 2.1% over 2012. So, it rounds out that Tannehill did improve in ALL areas numbers wise.

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