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This Dolphins situation belongs completely to Ross

It's on Stephen Ross. All of it.

He hired this coach. He has hired this general manager. He has hired the Dolphins new President and CEO. All that stuff about inheriting people like Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano is out the window now. For the first time since he's owned the Dolphins, Ross actually owns the team of people that will take the Dolphins to heights or keep them at their current level of mediocrity and NFL irrelevance.

It is all on him.

And Ross is apparently quite comfortable with that because he obviously believes he's got the right people on the job. As I write in my column in The Herald today, Ross had plenty of chances to get rid of Jeff Ireland after 2011 when he jettisoned Sparano.

He didn't.

And at least one candidate for the general manager vacancy asked Ross to remake the team as a condition of being hired over the weekend. And Ross remained oddly loyal to his people, most notably Joe Philbin.

Do I agree with that loyalty?


I think the owner's loyalty must be to the brand and his fans first and foremost and his coach and employees after that. And if someone isn't helping that brand, he or she is hurting that brand. I guess I ascribe to the Genghis Kahn school of NFL ownership.

And having graduated from that school summa cum laude I would now be looking around the room if I were Ross and figuring out who is helping my brand and who is diminishing it. And whoever is diminishing it gets pushed into the shadows.

So let's go through the exercise.

Carl Peterson: He is a longtime Ross advisor and confidant. He led in identifying and pushing of many of these candidates. But I'm looking at him sideways now because while he convinced Ross and others that Ray Farmer and Lake Dawson were quality GM candidates, he didn't seem to have much pull with either man. Farmer, named a finalist, didn't even take a second interview. Dawson, another finalist, took the interview but, as I detail here, didn't take the job. Nice work, Carl! Unless Peterson identified Dennis Hickey and Hickey turns into a stud of a GM, fake owner Salguero isn't feeling all this love for this trusted advisor going forward.

President and CEO Tom Garfinkel: I get the feeling he's going to be wielding a lot more power within the organization going forward, and I'm not thinking it'll be limited to the business side of the organization. Unlike Mike Dee before him who was not included in interviews for coaching candidates and thus couldn't save the process, Garfinkel was intimately involved in the search for the GM. His was apparently a stabilizing voice in the room. Yes, he is a strong Ross advocate. Obviously. But I have a feeling he sees the process was not pristine by any measure. He recognizes need for improvement.

Executive VP of football administration Dawn Aponte: I'm told many of the candidates came into their interviews wary of Aponte. Understandably, I might add. She reportedly had her issues with a GM in Cleveland. She definitely had her issues with GM Jeff Ireland in Miami. But once the candidates got to understanding Aponte's role, she sunk into the background. She was not the reason, at least not the primary reason, either Nick Caserio or Dawson declined the job. Now, fake owner Salguero would not have included her in the interview process at all because, as the Dolphins describe it, she will be answering to the GM on salary cap matters going forward. If that is true, what kind of backward set-up allows a subordinate to interview a potential supervisor? Strange.

Head coach Joe Philbin: He should be feeling pretty good about himself right now. Ross stuck with him. Showed loyalty to him. Is convinced he's the right guy to coach the team. He emerges with the most valuable of endorsements -- one proven by actions. But it should be understood that during interviews when Ross was asked by at least one candidate what he (the candidate) would be able to do after the 2014 season if the Dolphins didn't play well, the answer was not, "Joe Philbin is staying no matter what." The answer was, "We'll handle that situation if and when it arrives." So loyalty from the owner has to continue to be earned.

Assistant GM Brian Gaine: This one has to hurt. Gaine was the only finalist who was not offered the job. I'm told he is considering his options and future, including leaving the organization. Hickey will make a call on trying to keep him or not. Look, would fake owner Salguero have hired Gaine as GM? No. He's been a leader in the personnel regime that was just fired. But does fake owner Salguero try to move heaven and Earth to try to keep Gaine? To make Gaine feel whole? To convince Hickey to keep Gaine? You betcha. Brian Gaine is a quality person. He's a good personnel man. He helps the brand. And that should keep him with the Dolphins if the owner is trying to keep good people.


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Can someone please address why the defense has not been included in these discussions? It just seems our coordinator is inept and perhaps we should go back to the 3-4 to at least get all our defensive talent on the field.

I call BS that any candidate thought before any interview that firing Philbin and hiring their 'own' coach would be an option at this point. Really? Does anyone really buy into the story Mando is trying to weave?

KIUllerFins, during this entire 'process", Salguero has been spot on about what's been going on INSIDE the walls of Dolphins HQ.
I believe his source has been high up enough, as all of this NONsense just makes too much SENSE, based on what has just transpired.
Ireland started the downslide with black candidates due to the Dez Bryant thing. His throwing Sparano under the bus further eroded the positive perception the Dolphins had a decade and more ago.

Barry jackson has basically corroborated much of what has been posted by Armando, with some additional, and welcome tidbits.
Don't blame the messenger, blame the boss. This blog is a definitive look at all the players, and rings true for me. Sadly.
And we've not had the official word from Wells regarding the so-called "Bully Gate."

Do not be surprised if Goodell doesn't drop the hammer. Loss of a high draft choice.
If this happens, I believe it will come out that there was a leak.

Hi Mando and compadres

This situation is beyond ridiculous - no clear lines of authority, disputes to be cleared through reporting directly to Ross for all 3 key decision makers (Philbin Aponte and the new GM). When Ross is based in NY - how in the world a world class business leader like Ross signed off on this is beyond belief. At least with Parcells Ireland and Sparano the roles were clear and the decision making protocol obvious. The confusion over responsibilities and structure cannot possibly bode well. I would rather have had Ireland for 12 months more then clean house rather than this mess. We have gone backwards after losing 2 games to fall out of the playoffs - I never could have imagined after we beat the Pats this could happen - oh dear...

Hi Mando and compadres

This situation is beyond ridiculous - no clear lines of authority, disputes to be cleared through reporting directly to Ross for all 3 key decision makers (Philbin Aponte and the new GM). When Ross is based in NY - how in the world a world class business leader like Ross signed off on this is beyond belief. At least with Parcells Ireland and Sparano the roles were clear and the decision making protocol obvious. The confusion over responsibilities and structure cannot possibly bode well. I would rather have had Ireland for 12 months more then clean house rather than this mess. We have gone backwards after losing 2 games to fall out of the playoffs - I never could have imagined after we beat the Pats this could happen - oh dear...

What has Philbin done to earn all this?

Never been a HC before and has shown me nothing. Why does Ross like him? After bully gate, wanting to keep Sherman and the collapse at the end of the season - he should have been gone.

I hope you beat writers keep the heat on. No doubt Ross and his cronies can see, read and hear what a debacle this has become/ they'll get no benefit of the doubt from me any longer.

Congratulations, Mr. Ross. Look what you've done. In the past, I've stood up for you and stated many times my respect. I can honestly say, I cannot respect a man who intentionally goes against the tried and true proven principals and philosophies of successful NFL owners.

You've achieved a new low of incompetence, subversion, grand standing, obstruction, and alienation. Your football business strategy is like a painter who paints a house, then applies primer, then tape & masks. In football business, you're a failure of historic proportion.
You have no one to blame but yourself. Yet maybe that blame is the ultimate success...for yourself.

In 2012 (13 numbers not in yet), the only team in the NFL to lose money was Detroit...naturally. But the Phins will continue to make money for years to come no matter the outcome. Isn't that right, Mr. Ro$$? Winning isn't everything, it's about the money.

I call it as I see it; Sabotage.

Enjoy your New York penthouse apartment, New York social clubs, your hob-nobbling with the New York liberal elite. But one day, the people of south Florida are going to want blood...and they'll get it.

I have truly come to despise Failbin. And Ross of course is mystifyingly obtusd.

What have they done to our team??!


Harbaugh, Fisher, Peyton Manning and all of the best qualified GM candidates wanted nothing to do with Ross and his team. They either laughed at him or told him flat out, "I won't even waste my time meeting with you."

Ross/Philbin/Aponte/Garfinkel. The four most worthless dregs in the NFL.

The Dolphins bumbling stopped being funny many years ago. Now, it's just annoying and pathetic.

Emo. It would be interesting (if I had the video) to RE-Watch the HBO series with the Dolphins, with special attention to Philbin. I realize much was spoken about his appearing to be Obsessive compulsive. However, his conversations with players disturbed me more. There was an obvious disconnect, as if he was watching himself while conversing. The players can't help but pick up on it. These players base much of their performance around emotion.
This disconnect was obviously no more apparent than the last 2 games of the season, and the collapses against the Bills and patriots. (First games). Add in the ugly loss at Tampa Bay, when the players had the chance to stand up against the media, the laughter. Didn't happen.

What makes anyone think this year will be any different? This can't help but hurt Tannehill's progress, even with Sherman gone.

Mando was correct. This is now TOTALLY on Steve Ross.

wowzers!! I beleive that I just hit a new low in trying to rationalize this choice. I was talking to a fellow Phin fan about the Hickster possibly being an acorn that ross found and my cat started snickeering at me. I can't confirm it but I do believe that my kitty has lost total respect for me..sad day..new low..:(

PT Barnum is in town. Congrats Miami.

Yesterday, Orlando Dolphin posted "We are going into uncharted waters. We are going to now feel the pain of the Lions, Bills, Browns, and Raider fans."
I don't disagree other than to point out we've ALREADY felt like the above teams at one time or another. we were 1-15 only 9 years ago, suffered with the Saban embarrassment, the orange carpet, Tim Tebow day, the Dez Brayant episode, the Ross/Ireland/Sparano Harbaugh debacle, the HBO series laugher, Bully-Gate, 58 sacks, 2 embarrassing late season losses, and now the GM situation. To coin a phrase, the Dolphins decent into irrelevancy has been steadily "excremental."

So, my conclusion is the Dolphin fans have already felt equal pain to those teams mentioned above.

Mando your work here following the hiring search and your insights have been quite exceptional. Continue the great work and keep fans updated.
I marveled watching Nick Foles in the Pro Bowl asking myself "when will the Dolphins have a top flight player at the QB position"?? I am not comfortable at all with ownership and his decisions.

I believe a real circus would cost less than this one.

I should have gone to the Genghis Khan school.

So Brian Gaine was the only candidate who was not offered a position and wasn't he the ONLY Dolphins representation at the senior bowl?! LMAO. I'm sure he will give the absent coaching staff the best intel ;)

Hickey was a dead man walking in Tampa. Jeez even when after all this rejection the right move would have been to hire Gaine for a very likely lame duck season for this entire team the Phins somehow managed to botch even that?!!!!

No hope ahead. With the Pats getting back a lot of key players that were hurt we have zero shot in the division. We know Buffalo will kill us and we'll be playing not to be at the cellar vs an actually improving Jets team.

The only thing I can think of Ross is rationally thinking about this route is him tying Philbin to Tannehill for either combined success or combined failure. If this season is an utter mess and Tannehill shows no the significant progress a three year starting QB must command then he has to clean house.

BUT I would not be surprised if he even then won't hit that damn reset button.

thanks for the hilarious references during this painful debacle.
"manchurian candidate"
"uncle joe--he's a moving kinda slow at the junction"

too much. keep it up please, it sure beats our football news

I have not seen a positive commentary here yet. How about moderating the negativity until things develop? In the end, none of us here are Football People.


Hickey and Lazor are upgrades. Aponte is a role player with the cap. Yet because of some of your articles many on this site see her as a problem. She was on the interview because if you have hired people yourself; you would realize that people who are to work closely together should meet during an interview process. It's that simple Armando!


Peterson has been away from NFL football and this showed with two candidates like Dawson and Farmer refusing to continue the process of being hired. Yes Ross is loyal to the people he knows and works with to a fault. He stayed with Ireland way to long and Ross has to accept some responsibility for the Dolphins failures to become an elite NFL team.

Three weeks since the end of the season to get his job done and the best Ross can do is this?

I thought the team would be Ok as well at the beginning of the season. Many were saying 4-12. I thought 10-6 and we easily could have been there. That is the failure. The team was there but failed. The coaching and top brass failed the team and most of all the fans.

We are in for another 4-12 series of seasons. And Hickey? Really? That is the guy we go with?

Lets see, tickets my friends and I were going to buy? No buying. Unless we get JLo up there doing a lap dance.

It certainly is all on Stephen Ross now. I have many things against him which he has permitted and thereby allowed insults on Us Dolphins Fans. However, I have to admire him for his position of the buck stops here now. Easier to pinpoint. He succeeds, it's all on him. He fails, it's all on him.

The real worry is: What now with Free Agents and getting guys to come here? Whatever is wrong with the Dolphins is all over the league.

Lets hope it is all media BS like Martin/Cogs.

Hickey will have to move smart and fast. Call every player on the team. Get the low down. And get guys signed that the team needs ASAP.

One question that still sticks in my mind regarding Carl Peterson. I am left womdering if Ross ever asked Peterson that if he were to be offered a GM job, would he want to be a share the power type or if he would want full control over players and coaches? I would bet Peterson would be the latter. So, given what did transpire and why other perhaps more qualified GM candidates bulked. Not saying anything we dont all already know. That said the question I posed leaves me scratching my head. So much for the close confidant and advisor love fest.

I could care less if the capologist reports directly to Ross. For what it is worth most signings, including rookies fall within the normal pay schedules established through the CBA and the exisiting market. When it comes to offering large FA comtracts, $60 mil for Wallace, $30 mil plus for each LB that is when the GM and capologist go to the owner and make their respective cases. Like Mando says if I were an owner (and yes I do believe I know more about football than Ross) before I sign off on these type of large contracts I would like to know what it is exactly I will be on the hook for. Thimgs like what is the future cap hits in sus sebsequent out years, what is my dead money agains the cap hit if any high end FA is a bust and so on.

What I wouldnt do is include the capologist in any GM interview or coach interview and would immediately break up any top maagement cliques immediately even if it meant firing skme people. Cliques are toxic to any organizational management structure.

Perhaps this is the lesson Ross has yet to learn about the NFL. So, for know lets let Hickey do his thing. He may do well, may not, and maybe come to the realization that unless Ross changes and gets control over his management team the problems will continue. At a minimum what Ross needs to get rid off is the aura of mistrust which this GM search has exposed.

Posted by: J T SANDER | January 27, 2014 at 06:12 AM
Wow J T SANDER, how many direct reports do you have in business. It is the norm in business to have two people who will be working together closely meet during the interview process. That is what Ross was doing but most guys on this site do not seem to understand normal business practice with hires.

it has become embarrassing to admit one is a dolphin fan. we need a new owner.

Kasey at 12:19am.
Fully agree with you. Defense started as bend but not break to bent and broke.
I too question the merits of Coyle and his defensive gameplan and schemes.
Just one example, wonder why Dansby and Burnett, particularly Dansby, went from pedestrian to very good on other teams and Ellerbe and Wheeler were below pedestrian and terrible, in that order.
The D, considered a strength prior to the season, couldn't stop such world-beaters such as Thad Lewis (twice) and Geno Smith when it mattered most.

Has Steve Ross, Dolphins fan, met Stephen Ross, Dolphins owner?

We know Steve, the Dolphins fan. Having grown up in the Miami area, the Dolphins have been his team since the team's expansion days. His great wealth allowed him the opportunity most only dream about- the ability to own and the ultimate right to call the shots for one's favorite sports franchise.

Fan Ross stated, right from the beginning, his desire and determination to return the Dolphins to their former glory. He has proved that over and over to fans by exposing the most protected part of all mankind- the checkbook.

It is Steven Ross, businessman-owner, who befuddles us, though. As each season ends, fans recount the details of scandals, missed opportunities and bungled corporate decisions. Fan Ross can't possibly be running the show because he would never expose his Dolphins to situations allowing the muckrakers to prevail.

The mud from the latest Dolphins mess is far from being washed away at this point. Critics will sustain their arguments well into 2014. Fans will need confirmation that the new GM can deliver above average talent and that the HC can actually guide a team through mediocrity to consistent above average performance.

Steven Ross, the businessman, has again bypassed best candidates for the job in favor of those who fit better in the organization. He has persistently favored those who's opinions and styles fit him rather than those with far better experience at football. He has placed himself in position to call the shots even as an absentee owner and we can only hope his business acumen produces results.



Is Brian Gaine my source for a;; my poop? You Becha!

Okay, all you Ireland haters, you got your man! Hickey it is!

What's that...you're not happy with the hire? How shocking!

Armando: loyalty can be another word for arrogance, or, in Ross' case, maybe even dementia too. Moguls can't be corrected, they transfer their success in making $$$ to success in all they see. Or so they think. Let's hypothesize the "psychology" here -- by keeping Philbin and his incompetent staff, all of them, Ross is now saying, "Oops, I should've axed Ireland back then." My bad. That is, nothing is Philbin's fault, he was saddled with terrible personnel. Previously, Ross promoted and retained Ireland because Ireland's hands were tied by Parcells. Ireland was gold waiting to be discovered. The bottom line is that Ross fears a 4-12 season, which is very possible, if he allowed a true GM to clean house. It would reflect poorly upon his considerable ego. This team is very close to a 4-12 team. The OL couldn't play in the SEC, the front seven, w/ the possible exception of Wake and possibly Vernon, can be safely jettisoned. But wait, no, Ireland, Ross' retained choice, left the team w/o any backup depth anywhere. Oops. When Grimes resigns elsewhere this team is 4-12, hoping for 6-10. No wonder no one wants the GM job, a position any personnel man would crave. It's a grave.


Joe Philbin is a terrible coach and they stood by him. SMH.

How crappy would the upcoming year be if Philbin knew he was a lame duck coach? If you "mutually agreed" to part ways with Ireland and kept your coach because you believed the coach didn't have the right players to win, this was the only course of action, whether we fans agree or not. I cant pretend to know that Philbin sucks as a HC, but now he has no more excuses and we will see.

Mando you should be running the dolphins , if ross were smart he would be leaning on you. YOu've called all of the coaching and personel moves and called the wallace and tannehill dysfunction in training camp. You also pointed out how bad our oline would be in preseason, how much more obvious do your points have to be?
Is this just another 8-8 season in the waiting?
Your points about the brand are spot on and the business side needs to wake the F-- up

Armando Salguero... The new Skip Bayless... Can you write anymore garbage that is all speculation, and useless, just to stir up controversy... Give it a rest:) You DON'T run the franchise and whether you, or I, agree with their decisions, it really doesn't matter:) It is their team!! I'm sure the National Enquirer is looking for writers:)

ProMichael...direct reports are needed and the number depends on the size, scope, mission, and expected outcome of the organization. In my arguement I am simply stating and correct me if I have misunderstood your post, that yes they need to meet, but it doesnt translate to being part of the interview process. I have numerous direct reports and when I go through the hiring process I dont bring in others in on the hiring. I hire them based on what they bring to the table vis a vie what I require and what my organization requires. If Ms Aponte's role is that of accountant and capologist, why would I want and/or need her in any GM interview if the people I am interviewing will be focusing on player acquisition? She crunches numbers. That is what I would expect her to do. Yes, both the GM and accountant will work together, but I fully would expect and demand the accountant simply to provide emperical data, i.e. this player will cost X with a cap hit of Y in year one, and a cap hit of Z in years 2 and 4 of the contract. If cut after year one, the dead miloney hit X, year 2 it's Y, and beyond it Z Yes, there are numerous people that will work together, but not all are part of the hiring process.

So, the press conference for introducing Hickey isn't until Wed. Typical of the painfully slow and bumbling hiring process. I guess they need that much time to conjure up a fairy tale on how they got the man they wanted! They must think we're all stupid.

For all the Dolphin fans who hated Jeffy Poo's draft selections, apparently Joe Philbin felt the same. Every day it becomes a little clearer. Philbin and Ireland did not like each other at all. I wonder if this started from the beginning, we all know Ireland wanted to hire McCoy instead.

So when ya'll said it was a crappy draft class, the coach you hate agrees with you. My confidence in Philbin waned last year. I guess he felt Ireland didnt give him the players he wanted. He gave Philbin crappy LB's and paid them alot. He drafted 1 OL and looks to be a bust, that could change. The only FA lineman Ireland has brought in were all recovering from injuries Artis Hicks,Lance Louis. Ireland never brought in a high quality lineman in free agency, Clabo was mediocre at best.Not bringing OL through free agency isnt always a bad thing, but it is if you cant draft good ones.

This year becomes very interesting to me, so Philbin will have a GM who is grateful to be here and is willing to bring in players Joe wants. As far as I am concerned, Philbin can't fail this year and if he coaches well should be able to get us in the playoffs, no excuses!

I was kind of surprised Ross, didnt give Cesario what he wanted, just because he comes from the Pats. I think Ross was smart not to move mountains for any of these GM candidates, none of them were really worth it.

If you are Dolphin fans, can you at least try to find something good to think about, instead of thinking we will sink like a fuqqing brick.
Oh wait, that is impossible for some!

This was their 8th choice,the only candidate that would agree with such chaos.Reports are out saying TB Gm was going to can Hickey.Great choice.

Funny thing about this draft class that everybody says was so bad--they all made the team. None of them even spent any time on the PS.
They didn't play because Philbin wanted to make Ireland look bad. I think this year they will have magically become good players due to our incredible coaches.

Might not be the first choice, but he has drafted some really good players. I am confident that this guy can find us a good RB at least. He helped bring in Doug Martin and Legarrette Blount. You also saw in the TB game against us, even their 2nd,3rd String RB's ran pretty well.

Remember when the Bucs paid Carl Nicks OG all that money, I read he might get released. I think he missed most of this year, because of that staph infection. Maybe that connection can bring him here at a reasonable price. He is a little big for a zone blocking sheme, but he was one of the best. Bring in Alberts, sign Nicks and draft a OL in first or second round. You have an instantly good OL

Yes Armando,

Just like your crappy headline of the article 'belong' to you. (#Belongs?) . And way to go for pasting the entire Bucs media guide on Dennis Hickey into your announcement of his hiring.




You, the fish wrap you work for and the Dolphins all belong together in the same dumpster.

Pray for new ownership.

Hickey was getting fired! By the 4-12 Bucs! YIKES!

Can Hicks find us a franchise QB? Dunno


Can Hicks find us a franchise QB? Dunno
Posted by: NJPHIN | January 27, 2014 at 08:32 AM

He didnt find Tampa one....in 18 years!

Did Philbin help the brand by refusing to fire Sherman out of loyalty NO.Philbin with his loyalty to Sherman and his back stabbing of Ireland which I hate to tell you folks Ireland was right to complain about Shermans playcalling cost the Dolphins a playoff appearance and hope for the fans that shell out whatever it is for season tickets.

What blows my mind is offering a GM job to Caserio. Is it just because he comes from the Pats? Offering the job because of that alone is ludicrous! What is he anyway? A gopher?, a yes man to BB?, ....what authority or responsibilities has he actually handled? What a joke.

We already have a QB. We just need some fatties to keep him upright

So, the press conference for introducing Hickey isn't until Wed. Typical of the painfully slow and bumbling hiring process. I guess they need that much time to conjure up a fairy tale on how they got the man they wanted! They must think we're all stupid.
Posted by: Ed | January 27, 2014 at 08:02 AM

Nah, Dawn Aponte needs time to prepare the cue cards. She hardly knows this guy.

Think Im going to be a JET fan.

And Dawson? What has he done? Why offer him the job over Hickey?

Eh. Lets see what happens.

Be nice if they can retain Gaine and some of the scouts. Don't think you can axe everyone on that side and get immediate results.

Hickey was involved in some decent moves and drafts, along with some not so good ones. Sounds like every other GM that has ever been. Again, lets see what happens.

We can all complain about the organization all we want but Ross owns the team and can hire who he wants and structure it the way he wants. The end results will be the wins and losses on the field and no one really knows what will happen there. Those results will determine if I am buying or not buying. As of right now I am not buying until they make me think otherwise.


At least Hickey can draft good RB's and drafted a LB better thyan anyone we have had since Zach Thomas. 2 positions Ireland cant draft!

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