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The three structure possibilities for the Dolphins

When it comes to the Dolphins search to replace Jeff Ireland the "what" is initially more important than the "who."

I don't mean to diminish the identity of the person who will fill the job. The "who" is important. But what job is that person going to be doing? What role will that person have within the Dolphins football structure? Most importantly, what kind of power will that person have?

Once owner Stephen Ross, who plans to speak to the media at some point soon, makes clear what his vision for the job is, then we'll know who is best suited for the job.

Ross and the Dolphins have really only three choices for that open role because they have three directions they can go in establishing their club structure. Those are:

The strong general manager, the weak general manager and the talent evaluator. Allow me to show you what each role entails ...

The strong general manager: This person is hired with the autonomy (power) to make multiple key decisions. He can bring in his own personnel staff, including assistants and scouts. He does not answer to anyone else in the organization other than owner Stephen Ross. And he has the power to fire coach Joe Philbin -- if not immediately, then after one year of evaluation. 

I'm not a big fan of what Ross has done the last two change cycles he's put the Dolphins through. He fired Tony Sparano in 2011 but kept general manager Jeff Ireland. That forced him to miss out on proven coaches, including Jeff Fisher, because they wanted to bring their own GM they were comfortable working with them. This year, he fired Ireland but kept coach Joe Philbin. So, once again, it is possible Ross will miss out on the best or most proven strong GM candidates because they might like the option of hiring their own coach to work with.

Instead of sprinting into organizational changes the Dolphins have had to limp on one leg because Ross handicaps the process by limiting his field of interested candidates. Oh, the list of candidates may not seem limited initially, particularly in the GM search, because no one comes in with demands of full autonomy. But once the Dolphins show interest in a particular outstanding candidate, he might back out if he demands full autonomy and Ross isn't able to grant it.

The weak general manager: This person is titled as the GM but his power is limited. He may have final say over personnel in the draft and free agency but that is probably limited to him needing a consensus with his coaches, particularly Philbin. He has no authority over Philbin or executive vice president of football administration Dawn Aponte and therefore cannot keep or get rid of either one -- regardless of whether he'd like to do that upon his hiring or after one year. He probably wouldn't answer to either of them but instead answer directly to Ross just like they do.

Under this structure, Ross would have the weak GM running personnel and answering only to him. Philbin runs the coaching staff and answers only to him. And Aponte runs the remaining portion of football administration -- the player budgeting, contract negotiations, league matters, other legal matters like getting Richie Incognito off after he assaults a female golf course volunteer during a team event ... and the always important editing of the winning locker room video with the hopes of hiding the fact Philbin was reading from an index card.

(Not kidding).

I'd say the Dolphins had a weak general manager in Ireland. He didn't have the ability to hire or fire either Philbin or Aponte -- and that was proven when he unsuccessfully tried to have Aponte fired in 2012. But even Ireland had more power than probably an incoming weak GM would have in that he made the final call on not only the draft and free agency, but also the roster. I would not be suprised if Philbin gets final call on the roster going forward.

The talent evaluator: This person may or may not carry the title of general manager but it would be something of a misnomer. He'd be a glorified scout. He'd be only a talent evaluator and that's what I'm calling him going forward. He'd lead the setting up of the draft board. He'd make suggestions of which players to draft and which free agents to sign or discard. But he would have no final say on, well, anything. He wouldn't have the overriding final call on pulling the draft-day trigger. He wouldn't have the ability to hire or fire anyone, least of all DawnJoe. He'd have to get consensus to do practically everything outside of giving his opinion on talent.

In this scenario, the Dolphins might have Aponte as the GM with the ability to hire and fire this talent evaluator. Or they'd possibly have a football czar -- someone like Carl Peterson or Eric Mangini -- over the organization. Philbin, Aponte and the talent evaluator would be under the football czar who would be under Ross. Current assistant GM Brian Gaine has been mentioned as an internal candidate for the open position. He'd be a fit in this talent evaluator job.

By the way, if this is the one that is actually open, the Dolphins will have a difficult time attracting top-flight talent. The best and brightest simply want more power than this neutered version of a sort-of GM.

So which of these jobs is the one that should be open? I have an opinion. But as I've already thrown 935 words at you, I'll leave that for another post. 



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"That forced him to miss out on proven coaches, including Jeff Fisher"

Though I agree that Ross is handicapping his options,we missed out on nothing when we didn't get Fisher, who is just another mediocre coach.

The last two scenarios you describe are nightmares, especially the idea of Mangini or Peterson as "czars." The Dolphins need a strong GM who can rid us of the know-nothing Philbin when he proves, as he will, that he is in over his head. The LAST thing this team needs is Philbin making the personnel decisions. Based on his chasing away Marshall, Bush and Dansby, we'd have nothing left when he's done. And when have either Mangini or Peterson demonstrated the skills needed to win a championship? Aponte is a money person, like Ross, not a football person.

EFF jeff fisher...Armando....

WTH has he ever done to get your undying graditude...get over it all ready.....

Jeff Fisher as coach of the RAMS 14-17 and 1...

Philbin record is 15-17....semantics says he is the same....FACTS say he is 1 GAME better...and he didn't cost a GAZZILLION dollars.

get over Fisher....please.....1,000% chance Philbin builds a winner before Fisher...

"In addition, the Miami Herald reported this week the Dolphins are targeting Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo. Kyle Shanahan, most recently of the Redskins, and former Texans head coach Gary Kubiak also are possibilities".

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/01/08/3859020/miami-dolphins-expect-to-conduct.html#storylink=cpy

I like Young Shannahan the most out of all of these guys....but the Eagles offensive coordinator is in the mold of a post I talked about earlier....even tho I over looked it because of the year Foles was having....

Get a OC who is making LEMONADE out of lemons....IE Young Shannahan...who showed his system works....when the QB doesn't have a busted knee....

Larzo...made 2 QBs better....an aging vet in Mike Vick....and a young slinger in Foles....both 2 differnt styles of play...both getting about 30 Points per game when they played....the deciding factor was Vick's penchenat for turn-overs....while Foles had one of thos miricale years when he threw like 3 INTS....

I like the direction that Mr. Ross (Philbin)is looking....

Up and comers who made SH@T into shinola ....NOT OC's with PERRINIAL top 5 QBs who do it year in and year out beacuse of the QB....not in spite of....

Posted by: Kris (in Germany) | January 09, 2014 at 04:04 AM

Don't dlete my post herald staff....feel freeto insert above mine if you must....but you don't need to delete it....lets pretend were all adults...

I agree - Fischer is just a guy. What has he ever won? I'd rather have Philbin - at least he was on a coaching staff that recently won the Super Bowl. Battles between coaches and GMs have been going on forever. Cowher / Donohoe in Pitt - Parcells and the Pats GM when he was there - Fischer and the Titans GM when Vince Young was forced on him...and many more. Nothing new here Mando.

I would say the reasons for the failure of 2013 in order would have been: 1)Sherman 2)Ireland 3)Philbin 4)Coyle. Ross did well eliminating the top 2. Hope he doesn't make the mistake of Aponte being the reason they fail in 2014. I don't believe she has the team's best interest above her own career pursuits. Strong GM is my vote. Philbin has done or said anything noteworthy to earn any additional say so.

The latter structure will probably prevail. There just can be no more power plays within the organization nor can there be scandals of any type. A strong Czar, which probably his only responsibility will be to prevent that and set order, is needed. Ross will sleep better, We will sleep better, Everybody will sleep better.

"Last off season, coach Joe Philbin wasn't sold Martin was a capable left tackle and wanted a backup plan, two team sources said. Ireland thought the second-year player would develop and didn't make an expensive move for Kansas City veteran Branden Albert."
---January 8, 2014|Dave Hyde, Sun Sentinel Columnist

I know this won't settle the discussion of whether Ireland was getting Philbin his players or not- he wasn't as far as I can tell. But at least it shows:
1. The Brandon Albert decision was on Ireland;
2. Ireland had no problem doing things his way and ignoring his HCs advice/requests;
3. Armando's timeline for the rift between Philbin and Ireland is way off;
4. Aponte was doing nothing more than stirring the already boiling pot.

I don't know if it's happened yet or not but this Phins organization is severely in need of an agency similar to Deloitte to come in to make a full assessment of the entire organizational structure in order to make recommendations based upon sound business practices to clean up this mess.

Ross needs someone without any horses in the race to make a thorough, objective evaluation of the organization, staffing and relationships in order to make this business become successful.

Where's Marty Kahn when you need him?

I liked Jeff Fisher, but not enough to give him full control over personnel and pay him $10 million a year. We didn't miss out on him. He missed out on Miami, which is a much better situation than St. Louis.

I like Philbin. I like Croyle. But I think both are probably gone in the next 2 weeks. Unless we get a GM who wants to build a team that works with the systems Philbin wants to use - and that can't be a criteria for the selection - then there really isn't any choice.

Most of our problems this year were because Ireland forced Philbin to try and run a zone blocking scheme with Richie Incognito, John Jerry, Tyson Clabo, and Jonathan Martin, and forced Croyle to run his defense with no run stopping linebackers. The GM and head coach have to be on the same page. The odds are against that happening unless the GM gets to hire his own head coach.

Ideally with so much at stake, cleaning house would have been the appropriate mive a d then hire from the GM down. Consenous is good but all have to be on the same page. It appears this is not the case in Davie.

One report I read said the new GM would have to be a team player. I sense this means a "weak GM" unable to fire joedawn and bring in his crew. This totally sets up another failure. Bring in a strong GM and let them hire a coach. Give them 3 years.

We are one of the poorest run sports franchises in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Hey deity, GROW UP! I don't like most of what Armando writes either but you're way out of bounds. Remember there are no more journalists, they are all entertainment writers right out of the Hollywood mode.
However, his scenarios are pretty accurate. I wish someone would start a "Mr Ross, please sell the team to a football person with passion " petition. He's a wishy washy guy because he's out of his element. If the Dolphins were a real estate deal, we would have been in the Super Bowl every year. I say we need a kick-ass GM and if we find one we need to give him (within reason) what he needs as long as the plan he presents is approved by a Bill POlian kind of guy that has nothing to gain by endorsing it.

Name 1 Great Coach that has a GM better than him.

Posted by: Dashi | January 08, 2014 at 11:03 PM



When you are wrong (95% of the time), responding with an attack that completely evades the point made doesn't fool anybody. It is nothing more than a weak attempt to convince yourself you are still right, when you are wrong.

The answer I gave you, that Bobby Beathard > Shula (as GM) is just as true today as it was yesterday as it was in 1971.

Truth has no expiration date.

It's Coyle not Croyle dumbass!Philbin isn't going anywhere at least not this upcoming season,according to Boss Ro$$ and it's a huge mistake,clean house already and don't waste Phinationz time,Our new OC and GM are gonna have to b on the same page as Philbin which blows Cuz we could miss out again on better candidates, Cuz I doubt Ross is gonna bring in a GM who is gonna want his own Coaching Staff and Personnel,so here's what Ross did with Sparano except backwards by Firing Fireland and retaining Philbin who I like but let's b honest he's not a playcaller,QB or Offensive Guru and didn't make any in-game or halftime adjustments and reading from an index que card after winning in the post game in our locker room was weak!He's too even kiel for my liking,we need a Leader not a 1st time Head Coach who isn't passionate enough to bring out the best in his players and Coaching Staff! So here's to another wasted season,Cuz we need a HC that the players will rally around,teams usually take on the personality of it's HC and we were to un-inspired and accenting,especially in the last 2 games where we showed no Heart and Passion and lost with the Playoffs their for the taking and worst of all lost to Division Rivals I despise the Jets that on really pissed me off,and the Fan base in Miami is an embarrassment that our home games are like home games for the opposition and Dolphanz are fair weather bandwagon fanz and I'm sick n tired of it,if Ross doesn't even live down here but up in NYC where his Businesses are and doesn't live in Miami or spend enough time n energy down here doing everything and anything in his power to turn this once proud Franchise around into a consistent contender year in and year out,then just sell the team to an owner who bleeds Aqua and Orange like me and the real Dolphanz around the country,Cuz theirs non out here in Miami that are proud of their home team and that's a travesty!

The NFL executive vice president of football operations is now open. I hope this gossiping woman will now leave this organization to the men.

The Rams future very very bright, the dolphins future bleak as it's been since 85 !! The Rams gaining respect nationally by the NFL nation, the dolphins the nfl's laughingstocks for years. Both qb's suck the rams by leaps&bounds defense is so much better. The coaching PLEASE !! Tthis a**clown (Philbin) needs a damn cue card to read a victory speech written by a woman are you serious dolphins fans. I don't care for either guy but Philhin is a clown PERIOD !! Enjoy mediocrity ignorant dolphins fans 41 years of ineptitude idiots !!

If Ross puts a Czar on her, she will probably leave...

I've been saying it since Ireland got fired, Gaine will get promoted. Would not surprise me one bit. Whoever ends up GM, Aponte is the new Sheriff in town. So right off the bat, you can discard Pioli. Like him or not, my point is someone with his resume is not going to come to Miami and bow to Aponte. Never. So it will be someone who's never been a GM before, someone that will be told right from the start that Aponte runs the show with Philbin. Do you still want the job? Yes? Sign here on the dotted line...What a strange way to do business...


Dawn Aponte was doing what anyone of us would do to protect our jobs. Ireland attempted to fire Aponte, the person who was responsible for helping the Dolphins get out of their cap mess. She reacted to Ireland trying to fire her the same way any of us macho guys would. In my opinion Ross does not want to give the final personnel decision to any one person. Ross will throw a lot of money at the top choice to evaluate talent and be a glorified scout. Pioli is out of a job. He might be willing to do it and hope that his work will warrant more power.

Of course the Ireland/Philbin rift comes from way back.

Mace Taggert - Totally agree. The JoeDawn has to go.

And they really fuc-ed us up with their scheming and sh-t. We could have easily been 10-6 and perhaps challenge NE for the Division. Nevermore.

If Ross is really going to get a "czar", I really hope he considers Tony Dungy. That would really give Miami instant credibility in the league. Not sure Dungy would accept the job, but you never know. Money talks and BS walks they say, so maybe we'd have chance. Worth a try...

Are we really going to bring in Kyle shaman an or kubiak to run that system with some blocking oline with no athletes except pouncy???

No chance

We need a better play caller and oline, sign grimes, and hope defensive scheme goes to a 3-4.

Bane, those "blocking oline with no athletes" are all going to be gone...Pouncey will be the only one returning...So don't worry about that. Everybody knows Miami has to rebuild the entire oline. So that shouldn't stop the team from getting Shanahan or Kubiak if that's who they want. But I think it's highly unlikely they do. Philbin wouldn't approve.

I think eric Mangini would be a good candidate for the weak GM position.... And probably the only One willing to take a limited GM role.... This is not going to be good. Ross as usual is doing it backwards

Ericat, that would really suck...Mangini...Good God...

no way on dungy. he would just up and leave in few years

Yeah bill connors, cause you know the future so well...In that case, why are you always wrong? Bizarre...

One can pretty easily guess what your opinion is, and that it has a lot to do with DAWN APONTE? I would have liked to be a fly on that wall...
Anyway, your respect and undying love of Jeff Fisher is a bit creepy now, he's really not much better than Philbin at 5X the salary. Remember that Ross is also trying to run a business. Option #1 or #2 should be the only ones on the board. The team can get a Young up and comer, as a "weak" GM who can grow into a larger role. The problem with Ireland is that he STUNK as a talent evaluator, c'mon Armando face it...he wasn't good.

I agree, promichael, it does sound like the Dolphins are more or less looking for a "glorified scout":

“In my conversations with [Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, we’re looking for] someone with a proven track record of evaluating talent, a football person,” said (Tom) Garfinkel (Dolphins Pres & CEO), who will have a role in the search. “That’s going to be the first criteria. Someone with a lot of intellect. A collaborative team player. Someone who’s creative and open-minded.”

That's NOT a description of Jeff Ireland, Garfinkle gave- nor an outline for a person about to get the powers Ireland used to have.

I agree about Aponte, too. Ambitious women in the corporate world work their magic differently from men but no ambitious man would pass up a good opportunity to trash his competition.

ADB, exactly. Amen.

Although I am pleased that Ross finally got rid of Ireland, he really should have canned him along with Sparano back then. That will make it tough to fill the GM position now so Gaine is a strong possibility.
I am just so glad that Ireland is finally gone.

Ross did not get this rich by accident. He must have great talent around his real estate/developement company or he would not be so successful,plus he has had many years to fine tune that orginization. Now,as far as an NFL team owner,he is still new and learning on the fly. I am sure he has experienced this back stabbing scenario in the past and dealt with it. He must know by now that he needs strong leadership in his Dolphin orginization,and the only way to get the right person is to give that person full control over everyone. Too evaluate coach's,scouts, front office,etc.,and hire or fire without Ross' interference.

montreal hey least u finally have an opinion, lol good start for u. welcome to the club

billcale lets hope like crazy that isnt the case. need a strong no bs guy in here

bill cale what can you possibly know about the timeline? you have no direct source of information. nothing but a couple of speculative media reports to go on.

isn't it funny how people are so ready to believe their imagination as fact?

I wonder what Don Shula would have to say about the current state of the franchise he built into the one with the best win-loss record in professional sports during his tenure.
One universally RESPECTED for the manor in which they conducted business.

The manor?

Ross knows how to run corporations.Does any outsider actually know enough about the relationships between all the people that have power in this organization to decide what is best, or even the best structure.I dont think so.
If Ross is going to make leave his mark on the NFL as a winner instead of just leaving with a bundle of money for him or his heirs,this offseason is the time for that.
I think there are more possibilities than three,but since this is a daily blog I know that Armando Salguero can leave this blog with an open ending so he will always be able to continue tommorrow or a future date.

what ever they do they will fk it up as always and this will be more comedy for me and the other rogues
to watch the sttttuuuuuuupppppppid homers reel and squeal season after season

whoever comes in please transfer this Dawn gal out of football operations. what the hell. send her to marketing, sales, whatever!! need football MEN making the important decisions for the team.

All signs point to Tom Gamble as the next GM. Guy is the real deal and well respected.
His body of work in both SF and Philly is impressive. Deal should be done by Friday evening and Gamble will bring his top two scouts as part of the deal. He'll be a strong GM with ability to fire Philbin, but only after the 2014 season.

boy what a mess

nh gamble would be hugeeeeeeeee

can someone please reach out to Pat Riley to give us a hand

you see for the heat Go means one hand dunk, GOGO a 2 hands dunk

to watch the sttttuuuuuuupppppppid homers reel and squeal season after season

Posted by: 2 watt | January 09, 2014 at 08:40 AM

While you reel and squeal over them.

NO GM should be given that much Power. A GM is a Glorified Scout. Why do you think Jerry Jones can call himself GM?

A GM should be under the coach. If the Coach is any good. Name 1 Great Coach that has a GM better than him. That could fire the Coach.

All we need is a Good Talent Evaluator that can Communicate with the Coach.

Ms. Aponte has done her job. If she is the one responsible for our Cap Situation, Ireland deserves little credit for the way this franchise is set up to succeed in the nearfuture. Just on that alone most teams will hire her for GM. $30+Mil in Cap Space.What GM wouldn't want that. If means dealing with Philbin and his new Staff for a Season. Or with Tannehill the Go-Go Nazi which was brought to us by Herr Sherman.

Posted by: Dashi | January 08, 2014 at 11:03 PM

You bloggers really don't understand that Armando has read the works of Machiavello, master of intrigues and negativism, and is applying it on all of us from his position in the media. Cubans used to read and quote Machiavello often. Armando is just applying the Machiavello doctrine to his job as a writer. Read the book, fellows. Quite interesting and entertaining. You will know Armando better.

@ Oscar C
Yes. Joe Robbie had a very fine home and that's where the important decisions were made.

A GM should be under the coach. If the Coach is any good. Name 1 Great Coach that has a GM better than him. That could fire the Coach

 Posted by: Dashi | January 08, 2014 at 11:03 PM


Miso Corny @12:45,

Clown, could Bobby Beathard FIRE SHULA?

Comprehension isn't your strong suit is it.

Just cause you are older doesn't mean you have more experience or knowledge, definitely doesn't mean you are smarter. IT JUST MEANS THAT YOU ARE OLDER.YOU WERE AN IDIOT IN YOUR TWENTIES YOU ARE STILL AN IDIOT IN YOUR 60s.Your quest to always believe that only your answer is correct is Nauseating.

I'm tired of your Master Baiting Tactics.

Yes, I am still learning and will do so to the day I die(you can learn something new everyday if you put your mind to it). You have already started to forget the little you do know.(Reason you repeat stuff every 2 Hours)

Posted by: Dashi | January 09, 2014 at 02:23 AM

If Ross really wants to win Philben has to go along with his weak staff . ya'll are right , no in game adjustments & que cards PLEASE !! think Shula ever used one ? fist pumping Tony
had way more hart than this clown but never had a QB . we got out coached in at least 6 games this year . the fact the team layed down the last two game speaks volumes . players don't respect the coaching staff , it's showed when they didn't have any hart in those pitiful games at the end . clean house and bring in a strong GM & lets get back to Miami Dolphins football ! remember when we were in the playoffs every year and getting to Supper Bowl was are only worry !

shula used a golf cart and no headset. would just point to marino every once in awhile

The manor?

Posted by: oscar canosa | January 09, 2014 at 08:32 AM

As in Wayne Manor! To the Bat Cave!

It wasn't 2 Hours. But as soon as you woke up you just had to repeat the ignorant chit you say. Not realizing how WRONG you are.

Name the 5 Greatest Coaches in the NFL, Now name their GM. My point exactly.

Aponte, Gaine & Philbin that's your "three structure" Armando..
Money, Talent & Coaching of talent = The New Beast of the AFC EAST....

Ok Mando

Home gets it

I don't like the dame either

She is suppose to be a capologist not a brown nosing snitch that pushes the team to divide and infight

DawnJoe sounds like a bad hillbilly name. When you don't have the talent to give people nicknames you shouldn't try. Joe-Dawn makes more sense or JoeDee. I prefer JoeDee cause they just took Ireland's baby right from under him like only a JoeDee could.

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