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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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We already have a QB. We just need some fatties to keep him upright
Posted by: Rdubs | January 27, 2014 at 08:41 AM

We need a franchise QB.

Tampa Bay fans are rejoicing because Hickey is gone. I wonder what that means? Maybe Ross will sell the team in a few years and we can really reach the heights we expect from this team.

I'm optimistic the next owner will do better.

Well it didn't take too long for the Fanboyz & Pollyanna's to reappear.
"Everything is fine. Nothing to see here. Move along."
I look forward to y'all after the presser:"Garsh,Mr Hickey sure is swell . And by golly Mr Ross wanted him no.1 all along."

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

Posted by: Phinmanski | January 27, 2014 at 08:41 AM


I guess it depends on your state of mind. When it comes to sports I only watch the Dolphins and will continue to do so. I dont see a point in anticipating the worst. Why would I spend my time mourning my team for 8 months, when I can spend 8 months being hopeful. I am just not EMO enough I guess LOL

I ain't gonna put
a noose 'round hix neck
just yet but he'd better b a
bat outta h3ll come fa and the draft

geez.....I cant believe, AGAIN, that we finished 3-13 and so far out of the playoff hunt.....picking 2nd in the draft....we're just awful.....I'm SO embarrassed.....the pain, humiliation--oh wait, we were 8-8.....forget it.

We Hired a Guy who has a worse Drafting Record then Ireland?

maybe zonk, who knows.....but what was the drafting record of the others? Did they even have one?--its a crapshoot with any of 'em....

Rdubs... You & I both love our team. When Camarillo caught that TD pass I screamed like a madman.
Maybe its an age thing... I became a fin fan in 69. Had season tix for apprx 30 yrd. MY MEMORIES OF FINS BEING TOP_SHELF--not necessarily Ws&Ls but well run and always in the mix, not a laughing stock--ARE TOO DAMN STRONG TO STOMACH THIS DECADE++ OF INEPTITUDE.
Too many "false dawns" for me to be positive, but I ain't jumping ship... Just super frustrated.
Plus, I'm a masochist, so the Fins fit right in my schedule!.

its not Hickey vs Ireland--Ireland's gone, as most fans wanted--its Hickey vs the other candidates....but considering all were B list guys, its probably splitting hairs....none were proven....crapshoot, with ANY of them

Of course a lot of people didn't want the job.

The coach just buried an entire quality draft and then blamed the Gm for poor talent. It was poor caoching, not poor talent that kept the Dolphins out of the playoffs. If this wasn't the case, someone other than one of the two left standing would've takent he job. Almost haflf of the gms in the NFL don't have say over their coach's status but nobody wanted to touch that here ... hmmm, could be your coach is a dufus? It was the coach's who failed to show even the slightest bit of ability to bring talent along - why even have a DB, LB coach if you can't get this year's draft ont eh field. Might as well fire them and save the money, they aren't doing anything. They also couldn't find a way of getting their best 11 on the field - particularly on defense all year - coaching fail.

It surely wasn't the talent that kept people away because they got a tonne of quality people wanting the job but not wanting the coach.

Peterson also botched things up here in a major way. he recruited Ross a bunch of people who didn;t want the job. You think in the initial discussions, structure wouldn't be part of teh discussion? Whenever I hear of a new consulting opportunity, I make sure I know exactly what will be expected of me before I open the door. Bringing a bunch of people in who are not happy with the job description is a major fail on the recruiter and makes the franchise look awful and embarassed.

If the team falls flat, get someone in from the ground up...

By the way, if you want to judge best gm candidates byt their team's recent draft history (I think roster management is waht makes a gm, draft is a small part of it), then Tampa has drafted a lot better than the other teams involved in this process - Detroit, Denver, Cleveland, kansas City, Tennessee, New England. They just had awful coaching and no qb - at least this year. Schiano managed to ruin Freeman who was good enough to win them 10 games two years ago.

To quote "Pogo": "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Take it for what it's worth gang.

I am completely confused to how this process works. Don't you ask a guy when the interview is complete if he still wants the job?? If he says yes, you negotiate a contract with his agent, if he says no, thank you come again! I don't understand how they don't have that clarity before offering a person the job.


excellent post @ 8:03am. I agree, let Philbin work the draft this year the way he wants it and maybe, just maybe he gets the right players to execute his style of play! Heck, uncle Joe is OUR coach so why not trust him and believe. This is his opportunity to show what he can do and if he fails then so be it, he's gone, on to the next coach.... It sounds like Hickey will co-operate and listen to Philbin as to what he wants to do but at the same time Hickey will bring his experience to the table and hopefully both can agree on things and move forward accordingly to build this team in the right direction.

Think Im going to be a JET fan.
Posted by: DragonFly34 | January 27, 2014 at 08:41 AM

don't let the door hit u on the way out my friend!

slam, the reason many people said no was over a basic public piece of information. They wanted control over the coach. That was never in the job description. Did they think they were going to win over a billionaire's wishes? Stupid. Stupid on peterson, stupid ont eh candidates, stupid on Ross for not just flattening the whoile thing and getting the ebst guy out there in Matt DeCosta to build this thing up in the Baltimore Raven image.

Let Philbin run the draft??? WTF?!?!? Let him first show he can run a team on the field. If he mismanages another draft, kick him the fukk out of town ...

I understand that but why don't the dolphins find this out BEFORE offering them the job. This way they wont turn it down. You don't offer people a job that don't want it.


I feel you. I said 8 months of optimism, that turns into 4 months of emotional letdowns. I honestly hate how obsessive I became over the weekend, constantly checking twitter, etc.

I dont understand how a non-sports fan like myself, becomes so wrapped up in this team. Considering how bad we have been.

I guess I just look at this as a new beginning and hope for the best. With that being said, it could also just be a pit stop that prolongs the rebuilding process.

I still dont think any of the candidates deserve to re-work the entire franchise. I believe if we suck this year, Ross will clean house. I hope that we succeed and Hickey/Philbin/Aponte/Lazor create a strong team.

None of us know, thats what makes it exciting!

Good point Mando, Ross's ONLY loyalty should be to the team and no one person. As bad as Ireland was, Philbin was and still is the major problem. Until he is removed, there will be no real progress.

Here is a scenerio I was thinking about after all this GM fiasco. We all know Ross made billions in real estate so he can't be all stupid, so what if Ross's real plan is to slowly implode the dolphins so he can move the team to L.A. with little resistance or fan anger. Here are my points.1. State legislature turn Ross down for more money to renovate the stadium.2. No future super bowls awarded to the city of Miami.3.Absent owmer-Ross lives primarily in New York,so no real ties to the city of Miami or surrounding communities.4. Minority owners are all celebs.who has more celebs than L.A. 5. Dwindling fan base I'm pretty sure this will continue this yr.6. Look who is running this team,a coach that should've been fired, a GM who was our 6th or 7th choice because all the really qualified people turned us down. 7. The majority of people in Miami thing this team has become totally irrelevant and could care less about them.and most people think Ross is a very bad owner.Ross has created the perfect storm for a move. Just a thought here that's all.

Honestly Ross is the problem. He has the right intentions but he is pretty naïve. NFL is a dog eat dog business and you have to be prepared to do whatever is necessary to succeed. THis guy is getting played at every stop. These NFL young bucks are running circles around him. Using him for raises and them publicly embarrassing him and the team. SMH Ross hire someone to do the job you are doing! You are not doing well at your job!

Aye Mark/Tronoto...you have made the correct call and one echoed by many. Hopefully and I say that while crossing my fingers, Philbin somehow wakes from his catatonic state and plays the players that have been drafted, if they are up to the task. I do not think he can go through another year of "sit rookies because they are rookies" mentality because that is how they did it in Green Bay.

As far as coaching, like I said before Philbin just doesnt appear to grasp his own philosphy and stamp the team with it. Too much wishy washiness with bad coaches on staff and repeated mistakes. Like you stated this is on the coaches.

Irrespective of GM all the holes wont get fixed in one year. It is a building process and the GM needs to be responsible for that. Last year the Fins thought they answered the WR issue, which they did, and the LBs. This was done at the expense of the o line, RB, and safety positions. I believe even today, that Ireland had a plan to do this. That doesnt make him a top notch talent evaluator, but any GM seeing a team with numerous holes has to fix in increments where the margin for error is small.

In the end when Philbin says, "we're close" I think he is just thinking round one of the playoffs which is job saving mentalilty. Oh well.


I see you are on a roll this morning. I cant say whether this was a good draft or not. I will say in Philbin's defense. ireland drafted way too many players this year that started camp injured or were coming off injuries. Jamar Taylor,Dallas Thomas,Dion Jordan,Jelani Jenkins.

I think Ireland probably got a little too clever, I am definitely not sold on Philbin. But he did get handed a crappy o-line and 2 WAY overpaid LB's.

We really need to draft an instinctive LB. We cant afford to pay one in FA. Due to the 2 horrible contracts from last year. I think Ellerbe can be good. I hold no hope in Wheeler.


If Philbin picks the right guys he wants and works out then controlling the team on the field won't matter. The right guys will speak for itself on the field. Maybe Philbin wanted to make a statement of how Ireland gave him sh**ty players to work with so he didn't bother running the team on field just to make a statement. Look, it's all he said she said at this point but seeing we now have a new GM, a new OC ( who philbin picked) hopefully there's light at the end of the tunnel where these guys are all on the same page with the same vision! God only knows......

I understand the "fire (or shouldve fired) Philbin" mindset....but what many are failing to grasp is that if Ross fires Philbin, after only 2 years and reasonable success (they were 8-8 folks), what message does that then send to other coaches around the league? What top coaches are going to want to come to a team that fires their HC after only 2 years (and not terrible years)?--loyatly might be to a fault, true, but consider the message it sends to other HC candidates, if they fired Philbin at this point

Posted by: J T SANDER | January 27, 2014 at 09:42 AM

Agree. I don't see any way to re-build 4/5 of the O-line much less other LBs, RB, TE etc....not in one year

Slam, I'm sure it turned out that way with Dawson and Caserio. But being asked "do you want the job" equates to ebing offered the job and then turning it down by the teim it hits the blog-o-sphre. I doubt they had typed up contracts and letters of emplyment before it got to that point.

recent articles and tv coverage have been crushing/mocking the Browns for firing Chudzinski after only 1 year, and since they've had like 3-4 coaches over the past 4-5 years--why hire Chudzinski (who was pretty well regarded) and then only give him 1 year to build/improve the team....with a crappy QB--thats a joke--so what "good" HC candidate wants to work their next?--uh....none of them

Philbin's co-ordinator on defense can't even pick the best players from his own roster - let a lone a draft.

I wouldn't give him anything more than what he has - it's already proven to be too much for him.

Neither Jeff Ireland, nor Mike Sherman have new jobs.

Does anyone think that Joe Philbin or Coyle would be employed if they were also canned?

Pray for another Hurricane Andrew

what kinda guys are these to go run to the media and say the fins offered them the job but they turned it down?? They are just trying to straight up disrespect the fins organization. Ross you need to get some dog in you. You're soft just like our team. Maybe your personality is rubbing off on them.

Sherman said he may retire but Philbin and Coyle would get coordinator jobs, or position coach jobs....yes, no doubt.....pro or college--Sparano has, Cameron has....these 2 would too (Ireland is in a different situation, as a FO guy...but he'll land sowewhere too).

rdubs, sure some of them were injured - but by week one Jordan was beating Joe Thomas one on one for a sack. By week three, he causes a game sealing INT on Matt Ryan, by week five, he makes the hit that causes a Reshad Jones pick 6. he made more plays per snap than any player on that defense. I understand Vernon and Wake are ahead of him starting, but the guy runs like a deer and covers Gronk down teh field - you can't sub him for more plays for Wheeler? You can't play him on specialty packages more often? he was almost used strictly as a rotational DE when he was capable of so much more. He should've been ar either OLB and/or DE on so many more plays. Guy would also make an awesome spy LB on running QBs....

Coyle drafted his defensive schemes in August and went fishing the rest of the year...

I don't know benz NFL is about connections and Ireland has burned a lot of bridges. He may get lucky to become a regional scout again.

The "L.A" thing is ludicrous on many levels.

First of all, Ross (and I am NOT a fan of his) actually does have deep South Florida roots. He is a graduate of Miami Beach High, he maintains a home in Palm Beach County, and he had Dolphins season tickets for a quarter century before buying the team.

That doesn't make him a good guy but those ARE the facts.

Secondly, if you have been following this process Los Angeles has yet to even figure out the financing for a new stadium---and until that happens, nobody is going there. If it DOES happen the likeliest candidates (by far) are the Chargers or the Rams, perhaps BOTH of them...which would be ironic as both once called LA home.

The Chargers have been unable to figure out a stadium solution in San Diego and the NFL would offer little resistance to them moving a hundred miles or so north and remaining in Southern California. The Rams are also in a bad stadium situation with scant hope of resolution and may also desire to relocate 'back home.'

Ross has no such intentions and the NFL would stand in the way of any move out of the fifth biggest media market in the country. The stadium? You can bet the league itself will eventually step in and help subsidize a modernization--just as they did in New Orleans. They have no intention of permanently keeping their marquee event out of South Florida.

So, no, the Miami Dolphins are not moving anywhere and the entire argument otherwise is laughable. If ROSS himself decided to go somewhere else and leave the team behind--that would be fine!

agree with a few others here....not sure what the issue was, but our rookies should've played alot more....dont care exactly what they were showing in practice, or who was ahead of them on the depth chart (Nolan Carroll?--seriously?)--the coaches should've forced them into more games, more plays....any way possible--they need to play.

loso, if I had a coach that would intentioally do that to make a point- he and all his coaches would've been fired way before the end of the year. I want a coach who's sole ambition is to use the 53 players to best of their abilities and nothing more. And if you thinkhe didn't have a hand in Ireland's last two drafts and free agency, you're not seeing the entire picture. Ireland's drafts made a complete 180 by the time Philbin came here - compare the average player drafted before and after Philbin and you see the focus is on an entirely different type of player.

Philbin has been a fail at every turn and franlkly I'm running out of patience.

Hey, Armando, go back and review "Subject-Verb Agreement." Your title is grammatically incorrect. The subject is "Situation". The verb should be "belongs". But you wrote "belong." "This Dolphins Situation Belongs completely to Ross," would be correct.

It's an ugly mistake.

benz, I agree they shouldn't have fired Philbin after two years but the types of candidates they were searching for was all wrong. They were searching for guys that were "A" listers - who wanted to call all the shots -when tehy should've been searching for solid company men like Hickey and Gaine.

I still ahve no idea why Farmer and Dawson were looking for full control. Who in their right mind are going to ever offer either of these two guys full control? Will never happen....


Jordan should have played more. I just included him because I said Ireland drafted too many injured players, wouldnt you agree? Jordan also got screwed because of Oregon's quarters system.
Jordan proved to be a good player and can make an impact. Jamar Taylor definitely wasnt ready, nor was Will Davis. Regarding Coyle, I was very disappointed with his defense this year, altohough the secondary was amazing. I like Ireland but he F'd Coyle with those LB's he brought in. main reason we couldnt stop the run or stop them on 3rd downs.

What I want from the new GM
-new LB's in draft
- a decent to good o-line
-Tre Mason LOL

I will be very curious to see how this guy drafts for us

Slam--agree about Ireland, he's in a tough spot, with a lousy reputation (supposedly, but we'd assume)....still think he'd land somewhere and yes, maybe in scouting....but remember that college ball is in play too here....alot of college teams would see his experience and connections as pretty valuable I would think--maybe not the top programs, but there are alot of college football teams....could see that option for philbin and coyle too

cocoajoe, Chicago rebuilt an entire crappy line last year. They won't need 4 players, three will suffice. Garner/Brenner/Thomas will be more than adequate to fill the other guard position if you surround them with quality, quality guys.

RB is an easy get.

OLB should be filled in house.

And just to add:

I saw a post in the previous blog that alluded to Ross hanging out with his "liberal elite" friends in New York.

Um, apparently this poster has no idea that Ross' political 'friends' would all be Republicans as he has been a HUGE financial donor to GOP causes and candidates for years.

The Dolphins owner who had 'liberal friends' would have been Joe Robbie, who was so involved in Democratic politics that he once ran for governor of South Dakota and helped organize Florida for George McGovern in his 1972 presidential campaign against Nixon.

Ross a "liberal?" LOL

Samurai GM, if Philbin really did not play the rooks to get Ireland in trouble that is the most pathetic excuse for a coach we have then.

4-12 book it.

I guess what amazes me is how this buffoon of an owner can get someone to come for him. This once proud organization used to have to turn numerous candidates away who wanted to coach and play for them. Now, we have been reduced to hiring "sloppy seconds" and I will be shocked if we can attract any quality free agents. Our defense is overrated with no playmakers and our offense can never get on track because our running backs are Division II caliber and our quarterback cannot throw a long ball or is always on his back. We will continue to be "mediocre" because we continue to hire "mediocre" GM's, head coaches, defensive/offensive coordinators etc. Makes me sad to see what this franchise has been reduced to.


Good stuff and so true about Ross. Someone here thought he was a liberal?? Both he and Huizenga are super conservative Republicans who have been throwing cash at that party for years.

As you said, it was Joe Robbie who was the liberal. And the one who was far more successful at running the team!

Alright, now on to the draft. Combine in about a month...

agree MIT.....look, clearly there are some issues and questions regarding Miami's FO structure, and Ross'/Fins reputation needs improving....but why should any of us be comfortable giving full/more control to totally unproven guys like Farmer, Cesario or Dawson? Geez, talk about a potential disaster (yes, maybe even bigger than the current one)--but if you give Farmer (for ex.) total control, and a 4-5 year contract.....and he sucks, or pisses people off, or cant draft/lead....then we have Ireland's situation all over again--hiring a proven, top tier guy and giving him control is one thing...but not for the guys they were interviewing

I honestly dont believe Philbin would not play rookies, just to spite Ireland. this is just my opinion. Philbin wouldnt do that, he is a coach and a coach wants to win. He would never do that to his players.I could be wrong, but I need some die hard proof, other than Jordan none of he rookies look like studs when they played. SOmetime they looked OK and other times horrible.

I am not saying they are bad players or it was a bad draft. I just think it can be looked at from different angles

The gong show continues to spiral out of control. You have the tail wagging the dog in philbin controlling Ross's decisions on the GM of this team.

Ross hasn't a clue on how to bring in his first choice for coach or GM. He's great at getting his 4th or 5th choice with either role.

Sadly enough. This team will never win a damn thing while Ross is the owner. Quality people will never come to the dolphins while he mans the ship. Ross may be loyal, but in a business like the NFL. That's the worst thing he can be.

So we should start looking at potential FA's from Tampa.

Excellent article Mando!! Thanks. Can you do an article on the organizational structure of some NFL teams; what works and what does not? Are there or have there been other teams structured like the Dolphins? Also Armando can you dig to find out why Coach Philbin did not play his rookies? Was it mere philosphy or did he NOT want those players? For if he did not want Ireland players why will he want Hickery's?

the issue is when is Ross willing going to give up more/complete control (and is he willing to do that at all?)--thats the whole deal....when he is, then he'll attract the top tier guys....but we'll be in this same position/FO structure until that happens--probem is that he hasnt shown the ability to run things well enough, or put together a high quality organization at the top--and thats a big problem

Dan Orlovsky, QB
Spencer Larsen, RB
Brian Leonard, RB
Erik Lorig, FB
Tiquan Underwood, WR
Kyle Adams, TE
Nate Byham, TE
Jamon Meredith, OL
Ted Larsen, OL
Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, DE
Gary Gibson, DT
Jonathan Casillas, LB
Adam Hayward, LB
Dekoda Watson, LB
Jacob Cutrera, LB
Michael Adams, CB
Danny Gorrer, CB
Rian Lindell, K

dont want to get into politics/liberal/conservative much because I really dont care....but Ross is a billionair businessman, in real estate....regardless of who he votes for, I guarantee he gives money to BOTH parties--as any smart guy in R/E would do

Ross has requested our help in identifying the people that are leaking all the bogus information to the press.

The compound is now swept regularly for any bugging devices and the culprits will be prosecuted to the extent of the law.

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