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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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..Dashi..Also. The way we used the tight ends made Fasano expendable here. Our tight ends weren't really used as blockers enough to keep Fasano around..

Now in hindsight. It would have been nice to have a blocking tight end. But we didn't use those formations much. I wish we would have. It wasn't in the cards for the style of offense we wanted to play. Right or wrong.


Since I am a selfish A-hole and want him so badly on my team. I would take him at #19. I dont usually get excited about college players. But this kid is a perennial pro bowler. I like him better than Lacy, who will always be injured in some capacity for his entire career

...this is not the way to build a winner.

Where's Chud Bumphis?

...this is not the way to build a winner.

If they were getting rid of Irleland they should have dumped the entire staff including Philbin and Aponte. If it is true that the GM that comes in will have to keep Philbin then you better expect a mere puppet. I think that we can expect Gaines as a talent evaluator and Aponte ast the real GM. Yikes!

No way a strong GM is going to allow Philbin to be forced on him.

So we're going to have Philbin, Dawn as GM and a yes-man talent evaluator.

My question: Who's going to motivate the team next?

Posted by: Dawn eats Jeffery | January 09, 2014 at 11:47 AM
dawns got it
the motivation is the players r gonna have 1 of these
at every locker so they will have the cleanest axxholes in the league.

A bidet is a plumbing fixture or type of sink intended for washing the genitalia, inner buttocks, and aniis. Bidet is French

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/dolphins_in_depth/2014/01/when-it-comes-to-the-dolphins-search-to-replace-jeff-ireland-the-what-is-initially-more-important-than-the-who-i-dont-mean/comments/page/4/#comments#storylink=cpy

I'm on the Kubiak train too. We know we can pass well enough and Kubiak is from the same tree with specializations in areas that are of our greatest needs on offense. Also would be a guy that wouldn't necessarily have to tie his reputation to his performance here. Everyone already knows who he is so if the coaching crew gets the boot after this year - nobody will think less of him - but on the other hand if he boosts everything up offensively he's in play for another coaching shot.

Seems like the perfect storm to me...

I agree Mark I like Kubiak also.

A bidet would remove some of the stink surrounding this franchise.

Darryl--I know you weren't the one who brought up Cowher. Sorry if the response made it appear as if I did.

If Armando is correct in this description then Ross has to dump both Aponte and Philbin - the sooner the better. You cannot have a winning organization when you have staff concentrating on manipulating their boss and conspiring against another executive rather than pulling together to make the organization successful. Aponte may well be talented - it does not matter though if she employs her talent on office politics rather than creating a winning organization.
Philbin is not cut out to be a head coach. He is not inspirational, not innovative, not a great teacher, not a great tactician, not a guy with a superior system. He is a weak leader who drives out talented players like Long, Marshall, Dansby and Bush because he cannot handle outspoken people and consequently generates a team with no leaders, no internal drive to excellence and no heart that collapses in their final two games. That Aponte aligned with Philbin is a mark of her focus on politics not performance.
Ireland may well have been a slimy office politician as well - I don't know. He gives more the feel of an arrogant but straightforward guy than a politician but as a fan you only see a slice. I think Ireland was average all in all and I want better than average so I am okay with him leaving. But exiting Ireland is not the core of the solution. Exiting Philbin and getting a great coach who picks great assistants and builds a team based on ability and performance not compliance is the core of the solution.

Pioli's record as a GM 21-43 and no playoffs. Ireland's record as a GM 46-50 and one playoff appearance.

Pioli made one of the dumbest trades in NFL history. He gave up the 34th pick in the draft and a 6 year 62.8 million dollar contract for Matt Cassel. Talk about setting a franchise back. Talk about poor talent evaluation. BTW his last year in KC 2-14.

Can you imagine if Ireland had performed that poorly. Ireland blows away Pioli in terms of success as a GM.

But two years into the program, which is not enough time, we scrap the plan and change courses yet again, insuring a continued lack stability.

Posted by: Dawn eats Jeffery | January 09, 2014 at 12:09 PM


That's just it.

The Dolphins could do what many want to see--"Fire Everybody"--and you can bet in two years they'll be demanding the same thing yet again if the team doesn't have instant success.

People can deny that but their own words show it to be true.

Stability DOES mean sticking with a plan, folks, and often entails some down times as well. There is no "alternative" version of the word that allows you to constantly change course yet still claim to be in favor of stability.

I blame this whole dominant GM over Dominant Coach thing on the 90s. Specifically Jimmy Johnson. Jimmy was the first one that tried to make the GMs job obsolete by getting full control of the personnel dept..

Posted by: Dashi | January 09, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Dashi is wrong again. What a surprise. Once again he doesn't pay attention or do any research before pooping his baby boy ideas all over the place.

JJ wasn't first, the first was many years before JJ. I'll leave it to you to figure it out. Your will never learn anything if I do all your homework for you.

I had a bidet in my old house. I miss it - very handy.


oavery at 12:21

I agree. The main job of a regime is to come up with a style and a plan. The GM and coaching staff have to have the same plan and philosophy to build a football team. That is of the utmost importance in constructing a team.

Armando is absolutely right. They should have cleaned house and hand the keys to someone with a proven track record and allowed him to bring a vision that is in sink with the new HC.

This is a lousy way of doing business. Expect an abismal season next year.

I know I sound like a damn broken record. Why the hell isnt anyone talking about Charlie Casserly for the GM job. Could some enlighten me

I see that at least one of our trolls stayed home from school today.

I'm on the Kubiak train too. We know we can pass well enough and Kubiak is from the same tree with specializations in areas that are of our greatest needs on offense. Also would be a guy that wouldn't necessarily have to tie his reputation to his performance here. Everyone already knows who he is so if the coaching crew gets the boot after this year - nobody will think less of him - but on the other hand if he boosts everything up offensively he's in play for another coaching shot.

Seems like the perfect storm to me...

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | January 09, 2014 at 12:15 PM

+1 for Kubiak but I wonder how much stroke Philbin has in the decision? Can't see Philbin going for it.

Ireland was the worst employee that ever worked for the Dolphins. Anyone will be a huge upgrade.

Under normal circumstances the GM gig here in Miami is a coveted position. Great location, that alone could attract FAs, no state tax, the glam and all that crap BUT with this drama a proven, experienced and qualified candidate may now not be attracted to walk into a situation like this one especially because of all the Jets ties to this besides all the high school drama.

Why? Look at the Jets GM, basically the same scenario: lame duck coach, one year trial, yada, yada, yada. Rex does an ok job (still has not being able to develop a QB) and gets one more year if not more (plus requires a new long term contract). That is NOT an attractive situation for someone like Gamble, or Pioli who you bet your arse will be calling Ireland and if any of this reported drama is true they will not be coming here.

So what to do? They will probably settle for a candidate with some personnel experience that they think they can manipulate. My hope is they do land someone young that fools them back and takes advantage of the opportunity and within a year gains the owner's ear and cleans house, because let's face it, do you really think Philbin can lead this team to the promised land? At best he will make the playoffs and be one and done.

My candidate would be Louis Riddick, currently at ESPN Insiders, former personnel guy for the Eagles. The guy sounds incredibly smart, it would be a good hire IMO.

Orlando Dolphan = Out of touch out of towner = Clueless troll

@ darryldunphy : I agree with you that Miami must go away from the projection read offense back to a standard offense that required balance & going after the weaker pass defenders. That's why I said that best case scenario is Miami hires Tom Gamble or the best possible talent evaluator & adapts the offense away from what they are doing now. If Joe Philbin is indeed retained, he needs to go away from this west coast offense, because it's becoming extinct in the NFL more & more these days. It still works very good if you have a offensive line that allows plenty of time to go through all the reads, but if it doesn't this offense won't work.

re: replacing dansby, burnett, long, bush, fasano....in the last 10-12 years, the nfl has become a REALLY young mans game, much more than in the past (obviously with some exceptions and excluding QB, who dont take as much of a pounding.....unless he's Miami's QB)--point is that trying to get younger is not an option but a necessity....obviously you need to choose good players, but the IDEA of getting younger is good, and necessary-RBs used to be effective into their 30s....now they break down and their best days are over by 27, 28 (for the most part)--LBs in the past didnt need the speed they do today, to keep up with freak TEs & slot WRs....30 yr old LBs dont have that speed, for the most part--same with TEs, who now need to be very athletic, fast, skilled....those things fade after 30--not sure the players we picked were right, but the idea was right

Kubiak is boring and conservative. Exactly what we don't need. We need someone imaginative and innovative. Kubiak hadn't shown it before so we can't expect him to show it now.

Lets hope the new GM can pick us a QB.

Yeh, MIT....all in on Kubiak but it would be tough to hire your potential replacement. Philbin might see him as the new Miami Head Coach 'in waiting'! And he might not be far of.

I had the hope early on that we could snag Gary and Wade. But that wouldn't have made any sense for Philbin. (Talking 'bout office politics!)

Orlando Dolphan = Silly boy who thinks a troll is anyone that disagrees with any of his silly diaper mouth playmates.

aldon smith, willis, bowman....kuechly, clay matthews, cushing, mayo, von miller....gronk, hernandez, graham, v davis.....etc, etc--we could all add a few more, but these guys were all studs immediately, at age 22, 23

Orlando Dolphan = Irescum Lover = Village Idiot

Kubiak conservative? Look at what he had to work with at QB in Houston! Oh, and he had a good running game and still his QB's didn't produce. None of the 3 or 4 that had to be used the last 2 years will be a starter for anybody this coming year. Had nothing to do with him not coaching them up. They just couldn't cut it. That why Houston will try to draft a QB with their first in this year's draft!

It seems to me that the only one who had a plan to improve the Dolphins was Jeff Ireland. Younger, faster, more athletic, more playmakers.

Why was it that almost none of the players acquired last off-season, either through free agency or the draft, were neglected and not utilized by the coaching staff? Was it an intentional move? Perhaps- this is dirty politics, folks. Did it cost us wins and ultimately the playoffs?

cocoajoe, considering the first two names we heard from the organizations are QB coaches - I think Philbin is thinking of going in a different direction. I'm encouraged that McAdoo and Lozar (sp?) are qb coaches from teams with nice Qb production and systems - just don't know much about them - that's all.

The Dolphins are a very popular NFL brand in the UK. Why? Dan Marino- and absolutely nothing since then.

Matt You have it all wrong. They are using Phibin's zone blocking system he brought over from GB. The previous system was a power blocking system both Ireland and Parcells preferred. The linebackers were cut because Philbin didn't like the leadership and following Dansby and Burnett provided. Ireland got the worstof the best LBer's available. The defense was changed from a 3-4 to a 4-3 because that's what Philbin wanted to run. Let's not reinvent history.

I know I sound like a damn broken record. Why the hell isnt anyone talking about Charlie Casserly for the GM job. Could some enlighten me

Posted by: Rdubs | January 09, 2014 at 12:25 PM


Possibly because he recently celebrated his 119th Birthday.

Jeff Ireland has NEVER in his career drafted ONE good playmaker. LOL

DD.....so what does the insistence by Philbn to stick to his envisioned offense, despite the inability of his inexperienced QB to facilitate it? That he is rigid, limited and out of touch, all at the same time.

So, certainly Philbin is doomed to failure if he cannot adjust this profile. But it seems like owner Ross is willing to give him one more season to show whether he can adjust. My personal observation, after 2 seasons, is that the complexity of the HC's responsibilities is beyond his capacity to oversee all that is occurring on game day. He has another season to dispel this notion.

I think it was foolhardy for Sherman to place his young QB in the hands of unqualified family and friends, but I think he overestimated how much he could contribute to the process. Apparently the full-time demand of OC absorbed every hour of every work day.

Changes will have to be made at QB coach, his assistant. T-Hill needs to be in the hands of competent tutors who will be hands-on, both at practice and on gameday, showing him his mistakes and making corrections.

And the new GM has to be familiar with the type scheme that the team is attempting to implement, in all 3 phases of the game. This requires someone with NFL experience, either as a former GM, or in some assistant capacity.

Finally, we come to the owner, who may finally be getting it. Understanding realty holdings, and understanding the intricacies of an NFL franchise are apples and oranges from where I sit. Maybe he finally has a clue..For everyone involved, including we, the fans, I certainly hope so.

I want to correct what He Hate Me said @11:32 am,

'eagles and Niners have been perennial playoff teams for over a decade'.

Have you been living under a rock or something? Tom Gamble worked for the Niners for 7 years. From 2002-2010 they never had a record better than 8-8. Lots of 4-12s, 6-10s, 7-9s, even a 2-14. Understand, I'm not saying that's on Gamble. Just trying to clarify this notion that they were somehow good in the last decade. In 2011 they FINALLY went 13-3 and they've been good ever since.

Gamble was hired a year ago by the Eagles. So PLEASE don't try to make out he's the reason for their success when Andy Reid was there.

Bottom line on Gamble, he MAY or MAY not be good. Myself, I prefer to hand things over to a guy who's done the job before and been around Bellichick and even Parcells ( yes, even Parcells) on how to build a team. Hes done the job before.more of a proven commodity.

No more with guys 'learning on the job'.

@ AtlFin : Miami has no need to draft a QB. Ryan Tannehill's numbers improved last year despite no offensive line or running game, but he does need to improve his long ball accuracy though. Miami is going to go into this draft looking to rebuild the offensive line. Then they will look for RB (3rd down back specialist with good hands, Power & blitz pick up capabilities) & LB That is great at reading defense's, a good tackler & always around the ball (A Zach Thomas / Luke Keukely type player. The RB they will probably take in the later rounds. Miami has a lot of talent, we just need 4 or 5 key players to pull it all together.

FYI.....and thats the reason he had to reach for ellerbe and wheeler....and hoped miller could truly replace bush--and thought martin was up to the task at either tackle--nice idea but total miss with egnew--reality is that irelands poor/mediocre drafts put him in a desperate position where he was forced to reach, and hope--his idea of getting younger and more athletic was fine, but he wouldnt have been in that position if he drafted better--thats, uh....how you get young and more athletic.


Agreed Fasano didn't fit the scheme anymore. We have discussed at length what this teams offensive philosophy is. And this year Philbin proved what kind of players and schemes he wants to run.

Another reason too like Kubiak, he uses the TEs like Philbin wants to use them.

Look at Craig giving some perspective

We all get caught up with people we barely know

We could all either be really excited about whoever Ross picks or really be upset about his pick

But either way we wont know till this time next year or at least have a better idea.

There is no denying, that none of us on this blog can accurately pick the new GM or the "RIGHT" GM. We have no idea about how much input or impact any of these guys have had on over the years, for their previous teams

I hear Redskins are set to name Jay Gruden as hc. I have a strange feeling Gruden could become this year's Chip Kelly.

While John Gruden's name's recycled for every hc opening, Jay may be the one potentially having the winning fit. The entire league will be keeping close eye on Jay's success with the skins, and so will I.

Could he be this year's Chip Kelly? We'll all just have to wait and see.


There was a bidet in every house in Cuba. It was mainly designed for women to clean their c-ocha although men can clean their a-shole there also. I never saw one of those in Dominican Republic when I studied there, but of course, we are not Dashi.

Chip Kelly did a great job, awesome coach....but it will be interesting to see how year 2 and 3 play out, after teams study film and make adjustments--i think he's a winner but it will be more challenging for him going forward....

Whomever the new GM is or isn't, I expect at least a menial overhaul of the current roster.

Remember guys, Bellichick was a TOTAL flop in Cleveland. pete Carrol was a flop in New England and the Jets. not everyone gets it right all the time. I believe Scott Pioli would be a very good hire in Miami.

Craig, Pioli won half as many games as Ireland ... Gamble may or may not be ggod but we know Pioli is not. And 9ers were bad for a while - you like your six chiefs pro bowlers - then you should love the 10-12 pro bowl worthy players that are on the 9ers.

Philbin has had 2 full years of complete freedom that Tony Sparano never had. Philbin has a losing record. Get rid of him. I am sick of tired of his same excuse after every single loss: "Well, our opponent was well-coached." Yes the opponents are well coached tand the Dolphins are not. check out www.dolphinstruth.com


Tannehill ranked 37th in passing yards per attempt. He also dissapeared in the 4th quarters. Even adding 60 million dollar Wallace didnt help him. He makes everyone around him worse, the sign of a poor QB. There is no doubt the team needs a much better QB although it may take one more season for these coaches to realize it. It took them 4 years to realize Henne stunk.

oldschollfinfan is 100% correct.

Sam @ 12:56

The Redskins are a mess.
Do they keep Cousins and trade RG3 to try and get a pick back or vice-versa? If so then they have to trade before the draft and hope that the one they trade away has less success than the one they keep.

No problem then - just find Pioli a Tom Brady clone and he will eb able to fraud everyone into thinking he's some genius like Belicheck and his 26th ranked defense does.

This is a ideal location for any GM to come to & hopefully Stephen Ross will hire Tom Gamble (with total control)and bring him & his parents here. This team is much closer than most people think they are. We are only a few upgraded players & schematic tweaks from becoming a Super Bowl caliber team. Another words this team has a very good young talent base (Although they need to develop better leadership from the players)& get the few key players they need & we will be ready.

Miso wrong,

Again your comprehension skills are second to none.

Let me guess your answer is going to be some guy from the 70s (Apparently you stopped watching Football after the 70s) Probably Shula since you can't keep his name out your mouth more than you can keep Dashi's name In Ur Mouth.

FOOL!! My point was that JJ started the trend. Meaning he was the first of many to come.

While you want to bring up 1 coach who did it 30 years before it became a trend.

GMs didn't start getting recognition until the Cap era when coaches needed someone to start to handle that side of the business.

And you still haven't answered my first question. Name 1 Great Coach that took orders from a GM. Not a president, a GM. No Great Coach takes orders from someone else.

Is this Marc Ross being considered for GM here a relative of Ross the owner? Is he Jewish? If he is, good, Jewish People seem to do rather well in Business.

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