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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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There are numerous highly qualified general manager candidates preparing for a possible interview with the Miami Dolphins, and it could be one of the more coveted openings in a while, but with a major caveat being whether the job will entail final say on player transactions.

Jeff Ireland, Dolphins mutually agree to part ways
Numerous executives from other teams, including many who have spoken to Dolphins team officials, believe that owner Stephen Ross, whose regime has been characterized by failure and some bizarre decision-making, could be swayed from conducting a full-scale search for a new GM.

Several league sources say Ross, who relies heavily on business-side execs Dawn Aponte and Matt Higgins, is contemplating a restructuring where a new general manager would report to Aponte, and not the owner, and thus she would truly head football operations. Furthermore, sources said Aponte would strongly consider candidates she worked with previously with the Jets, like former GMs Mike Tannenbaum and Scott Pioli, who, frankly, would not end up on many other lists right now given how their previous regimes ended.

If that is the case, then many of the well qualified candidates from other organizations would not participate in the process, sources said, with them having great trepidation about that structure and their ability to do their job. How transparent this search is, and how much power the GM titles truly wields, will go a long way to determining if Ross has learned from his other many public missteps (trying to hire a coach before he'd fired his existing one, for instance), or whether the Dolphins are in for more of the same.

Dashi....he throws better on the run because heruns on his toes, as the expression goes. When a player runs on his heels, his vision joggles with each step, and it affects his depth perception...you've got the right idea there, he needs to be balanced, and sometimes does not set his front leg , which hitting heel first will cause....

..so we basically agree....

so then it begs the question...who picked the QB coach and asst ...my guess is Sherman suggested his son-in -law, and Philbin said..."uhhhh, yeah sure"


There is no war. We all know who would win.

Again, Dashi has family that is Cuban. I also have friends that are Cuban. Even have had a couple Cuban Girlfriends. (Notice Dashi has never insulted Cuban Women)

The problem is that little group of Cubans in Miami who Swear they are just better than everyone. My question is what makes them feel superior? Unless it is some sort of defense mechanism. Either Or if you were raised in Miami you know they are two types of Cuban people. The problem is that one group gives a bad name to the rest of them.

Knut (cant believe I just typed that)....yeah, that all sounds great but the Pats are the exception, and more importantly, times have changed....teams dont stay together like they did in the early '70s because of free agency, bro!--those Miami teams, and Pittsburgh/Oakland/Skins/Vikes were dominant for awhile because players couldnt/didnt move around, no free agencty....total stability, for the most part--that aint the case anymore, obviously--we could never replicate that period--the Pats have stayed at the top because of Belichik and a home run/HOF QB named Brady, maybe the best QB ever, or close--so theres not much to study about the Pats, and there is no comparison to Shula's era/70's.....different times/circumstances.

Dashi as someone that has been to both south Florida and the real Cuba many times ... there is no commonality other than the language spoken. real Cubans are beyond kick arse. Too bad not enough of you have been there. If you did, places like Las Vegas and other overpriced ripoff destinations for parties would go out of business.

South beach clubs ... bankrupt too...

havana is an amazing place to blow your dough and get a crazy return on the money spent...

..I would like to see someone come in here that can actually help with T-hill's development.

dont like the lake dawson interview

people do realize that some of Tannehill's hiccups and problems at this point are just a matter of being inexperienced right? None of the best QBs in the league are in their first three years. Qbs get better with age and many great ones now had rough beginnings and most couldn't touch our qb's 2nd year #s. Look at Drew Brees if you think I'm lying for example. he will be fine. patience is a virtue and if a young qb keeps you competitive while going through this stage, smart money says to stick with him because he's only going to get better. how much better? I don't know, but I'd like to find out ...

In America, you can't have 90% of the girls you see out and about for $50.00. In DR, you can. Take your pick, they all make eye contact to let you know they are available. You just have to look hard to find one worth $50.00.

We've got a lot of problems. T-hill isn't one of them.

For example, the Qb who won last year's super bowl has not come even close to throwing for the same yards or tds as ours. Sure he's thrown for fewer INts but if oyu think the difference between 5-6 INts and 4 or 5 fewer tds and 3-400 fewer yards is worth a $16M incremental cap hit ....

Is this how the Roony's run The Steelers.

I couldn't be happier to be a disgruntled former fan at this point.

It has become abundantly clear that The Dolphins are even more dysfunctional than anyone had thought.

Ireland deserved to be fired, but it's not fair at this point to attribute the mess on the field completely to him anymore.

When you add all of this up.

The Dolphins are staring at 1-15 again.

Touching on Ireland's good points Omar Kelley pointed out the positives from the Ireland era. Ireland had built a decent O-Line and Defense in 2010 and 2011. Poor quarterback play and the strike kept those teams from competing for the playoffs. The team has gotten worse under Philbin, as their two philosophies had clashed.

Dave Hyde is reporting on 640AM that Dawn Aponte will be appointed Head of Football Operations and any new GM will answer to her.

Lmao The Dolphins are in good hands.

yeah, sherman got the wrath but the QB coach taylor was brutal....inexperienced, little/no past success, first coaching job (I think)--thats who we entrusted our huge investment/raw/rookie/young QB of the future to....some 28 yr old dude who played in that very dynamic Nebraska offense--always known for its cutting edge creativity (and, uh....corn).

Armando, a lifeguard just texted me and said that jeff Ireland just had a banner plane fly over Miami beach to tell the fans and media to gfu'rselves

I can't digest corn.

yeah mark
tpuke is gonna reel off 8 str8 sb mvp's


Like you said, All Tannehill needs is a little tweak in his motion. Nothing a good QB coach can't fix. I would even blame his inconsistency with the Deep ball on Sloppy footwork.

It isn't like they have to redo his whole Motion like Tebow. Which I don't understand why someone would even try. After a certain age you can't revamp a persons throwing motion. It becomes muscle memory.

Throwing Fundamentals should be taught at a young age to build good throwing habits. The latest you should do any drastic changes to a throwing motion should be in college.

Notice guys that were Bred to be Pro QBs have flawless throwing motions growing up. Luck, The Manning's.

Tom Brady every off season would go back to the same guy who taught him how to throw because he understands the importance of discipline in your throwing motion.

In Baseball 1 player personifies the importance of consistent fundamental throwing motion. Greg Maddux. The man landed the same way after every pitch. Allowing him to be the most accurate pitcher of all time.




I know Dawn....sort of re-defines "digest", doesnt it?--like, what does that actually mean? although I've never examined closely, kernels look remarkably intact, dont they?

If Dawn Aponte becomes head of football operations, then Lauren Tannehill should be named GM.

Posted by: Buster | January 09, 2014 at 02:04 PM

agree, i hope the new OC changes QB coach. I realy like Chad Pennington for that job. He had good mechanics and was deadly accurate even without great arm strength which Tannehill has.

and hopefully better blocking will help to.

Dawn Aponte...head of football Ops..

And the new GM would answer to her.....really ??!!!

So much for attracting a top of the line GM if that is true....

..sorry, I'm a lover of women, but the NFL is a boy's club and always will be....

...sorry, girls, but that's just the way it is...and always will be for 99% of the League....

I said before and I agree with some others here....TH is way down the list, as far as issues/problems go--I'm not sold on him completely and I'd draft a QB for competition, but he's talented enough to continue to work with for another 2-3 years, hope he develops....getting a real QB coach might be a good first step.

Dashi @ 2:39

The manliest pitcher of all time was Andy Pettitte that is why he holds the record for most postseason wins with 19.

2 watt:

That banner you saw was only a warm up for the barrage of banners that Jeffery is planning to fly over Dolphins Stadium at all home games next year.

Dawn.....so then maybe your name should changed to "Dawn eats....nah, forget it


What are you insinuating?

Where is Fake Cuba? If Havana is real Q'uba?

I believe in your assessment of real Cuba. People close to me have told me the same thing.

And it all makes sense. Fidel got rid of the Peter Pan Fairies and the Degenerate Marielitos. Leaving Cuba with only the nice smart Cubans.

Or Jeffery ate... Yeah, can't go there.

lol oh yeah dawn e j

I believe no matter what the cost Tony Dungy should be brought to make any and all decisions. Give him any title he sees fit. He should have total authority over EVERYONE and the only person he should report to is Ross


smoltz destroyed andy andy was 19-11 3.81 era smoltzie 15-4 2.67 era

What happens when Dawn decides she wants to be head coach?

I'm sorry Pettite isn't my cup of tea. He is a poor mans Kevin Brown to me.

And Being a Yankee for 15+ Years, 19 Wins seem a bit low to me. What he averaged 1.something wins every year. Yankees were in the postseason every year.

The Manliest Pitcher the Yankees have ever produced is named Mariano Rivera,and he cried like a B,tch in his final game.



Would Tony in his advanced age allow a GM to be above him?

Doubt it. No Great Coach takes orders from anybody.

Dashi... no comment (hint it rhymes with South Floreeda)


Smoltz also has a couple postseason saves.

yup dashi 4 of them what makes anyone think pennington even wants to be qb coach, stop the nonsense

so our owner picked the coach for our future GM? ross is behaving like woody Johnson/jets. both are clueless in football matters and both fired their GM's but kept their coaches.


I SAID I said I think he should run everything. Hire someone for talent and let Dungy clean up the rest of this mess. Again EVERYONE no matter who they are would answer to him. Let him decide who and what personnel he needs. Forget titles call everyone anything they want to be called but make all decisions Dungys.

My ideal scenario would have been Dungy running the show and Lovie as coach. Now Tampa has Lovie and just look at who he has brought in as coaches and assistants thus far.


dungy has zero interest

Dusty Bottoms

Blank checks can get you anything you want



I know that is what you were insinuating. The County that rhymes with Wade. I just felt that comment might've gone over some peoples head.

You know what they say Sfla=N.Cuba


In that scenario Dungy would definately need a personnel man. He knows nothing about drafting and his offensive strategy is pedestrian at best.

He is a well respected dude though no doubt. I don't really think he has any interest in doing anything other than what he's doing now though.

dusty @ 2:53

Didn't Andy beat Smoltz 1-0 in game 5 of the 1996 world series?

Didn't Andy then beat him again in the 1998 world series?

Didn't Andy beat them again in the NLCS when he was with Houston?

You can't compare the ERA's of pitchers when 1 pitches to a DH every game and 1 pitches to the pitcher.

then your name changes to "Dawn gives coach....nah, forget it

Pettite was a Yankee. Enough reason not speak of him any more.

Andy Pettitte = Manhood



What Dashi is saying is simple "Will T.Dungy take orders from a GM?"


No Coach who has some clout will take orders from a GM.

That has been my point.

Some of you might say whatever you want about Philbin. But from Day 1 Philbin showed Ireland that he wasn't his Boss.

Now some might say then Philbin has to go. But the only way Philbin goes is if they hire a Overlord and he wants Philbin out. Not cause the Head Scout(GM) wants him gone.



Man Lake Dawson, Ray Farmer, Marc Ross. They are going to have to interview a white dude just to satisfy the redneck rule.

I can't believe Ross has not contacted me about the GM position. What do I bring to the table, you might ask?
I work very well within any power structure.
I would never ask a potention draftee if his mother was a hooka.
I would never call a fan an ***hole.
I would never tell an agent to tell his client to punch another player.
I could buy a draft publication 3 days before the draft and still draft better than Ireland did.

I thought it was the right move to move Ireland out due to his record as GM.

HOWEVER, if DawnJoe is the new power couple in the organization, and if they only want a puppet to evaluate talent, then this team is probably going to struggle going forward.

The best GM prospects do not want to be a puppet of DawnJoe (a corporate climber and failing head coach). The same is true for potential OC prospects.

DawnJoe are focused on PR not football. This is why DawnJoe paid of Cogs' victim at the golf event.

DawnJoe will spend more time going over note cards than reviewing team needs or game planning.

DawnJoe will try to survive by throwing everyone under the bus.

Those that were critical of Ireland (and I was one) may miss him yet. Lol.

Second, DawnJoe will stick with Tannehill regardless.

Third, DawnJoe will not inspire any team to put forth effort to become champions.

Fourth, the writing of index and note cards will substitute for actual game planning and winning.

Don't know about you guys, I potentially see another trainwreck season, both up and downstairs coming down the pike.

1. A new OC is forced on Philbin. He did not want to can Sherman.

2. Obviously the new gm also inherits a new OC he has no input on hiring.

3. New gm will be a weak gm. All of his [personnel decisions has to be approved by DawnJO.

I expect this to be one helluva dysfunctional offseason. I would not be surprised at a 6-10 2014 finish. Courtesy of the DawnJo Ross express.

Sigh great minds think alike. I see you're braced for a train wreck of a 2014 season too.

I missed up my last post. Bad editing. Lol.

To continue, DawnJoe will not inspire the team to win or put forth needed effort. Philbin is weak at game planning, end game adjustments, developing talent, leading the team, and inspiring the players. In fact, it is difficult to find anything he is good at.

In Green Bay his responsibility was 'passer quality control' - a very easy job when one has Rogers. He did not call plays. He still doesn't.

The staff Philbin has put together so far does not inspire confidence. Sherman and Coyle did not do well. Nor did Turner and Taylor.

Philbin has not developed Tannehill very well so far. Tannehill is the FIFTH rated QB of the 2012 draft, so he's done nothing special yet. The other four QBs of that draft (Luck, Wilson, Foles, and RGIII) have all been to the playoffs. Tannehill goes to Dick Sports to play trick shot games.

Ireland has a LOT of misses in the draft (especially in the first three rounds. He did much better in the acorn rounds. If the Dolphins just hire a puppet, then one can expect the drafts to get worse, not better.

DawnJoe will be the NFL' biggest joke if they rule this team in 2014.

I submit that DawnJoe is even creepier than Jeff Ireland.

Sam I Am,

Yes, we are thinking alike. Lol.

I want the Dolphins to do well, but the last 15 years or so have tested my patience. Lol.

Totally agree than 2014 could be a train wreck.

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