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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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Brace yourself.

What Ross GROSSLY FAILS to calculate is that his players are watching this train wreck of a mess too.

Do we really think our players watching this catastrophe in the making are feeling more or less about the team's prospects in 2014?

After watching this mess current mess, if I were a Dolphins player, my only 2014 concern would be making sure that my paycheck has been deposited each weak. After this mess, I would have long given up on having a winning season.

I wish we were interviewing Highsmith, Gamble, DeCosta, Kahn, and those connected with the Seahawks, Colts and 49ers.

Is still beginning to feel like another Ross PR move?

Female director of football ops. Black GM. I'm as open minded as the next guy but how about finding the best person for the job period.

Having said that all three of those GM candidates look to have potential. Not sure about the Aponte thing though.

Teams are now telling their prospective candidates to "STEER CLEAR" of the Dolphins train wreck of a "POWER STRUCTURE" in the making.

Everyone on the outside of the Dolphins organization looking in, knows what Ross may be attempting is "DOOMED" to fail. What the hell is wrong with Ross?

Typical Daytona, based on what are teams telling people to steer clear?

As the late Gorilla Monsoon would say ... "Fountain of Misinformation"

ross is erecting 100 nooses in the upper deck at the joe for the home fans to hang themselves every game

Grier, seems to me the only one with an agenda here is you. You spout off like you know things. You don't know anything.

By the way, if you don't like the information on this blog written by Salguero, as you refer to him, why do you come here and read and comment on the material.

You're just a hypocrite know nothing.

Posted by: FLPD | January 09, 2014 at 09:33 AM

I love you too. Kisses, Kisses, big hugs and kisses.

1st rd Taylor Lewan OT Michigan / Cyrus Kouandjio OT Alabama
2nd rd Kelvin Benjamin WR FSU / Jordan Matthews WR Vanderbilt
3rd rd Carlos Hyde RB OSU / Andre Williams RB BC
4th rd CJ Fiedorowicz TE Iowa / Arthur Lynch TE Georgia
5th rd Brandon Linder OG The University of Miami / Jon Halapio OG Florida
6th rd Stanley Jean-Baptiste DB Nebraska / Ricardo Allen CB Purdue
7th rd Cornellius Lucas OT Kansas State / Trey Millard FB Oklahoma

The Miami Cluster F...s

This is a sinking ship. Anyone could see that.

Sam....its hard to even respont to how stupid your comments are

Do us all a favour 2 watt and use at least one.

Sam....its hard to even respont to how stupid your comments are

Posted by: benz | January 09, 2014 at 04:09 PM

This team has 2 playoff appearances in 15yrs, both blowouts, yet my comments are stupid. No sweet, no butter, just plain old rotten to the core sour milk.

You geniuses just keep right on believing. I promise, I'll neither snicker nor, or insult your intellectual levels as you childishly choose to do with me.

yeah Sam.....like I said

A dysfunctional season, now followed by an equally if not more dysfunctional offseason. Yet my comments are stupid.

I,......... did not create these stupid situations. Stephen Ross did.

I like the nickname of "Mighty Joe Dawn" myself.

fix OL w FA

1st rd Mike Evans WR Texas A&M / Kelvin Benjamin WR FSU
2nd Carlos Hyde RB OSU / Andre Williams RB BC
3rd rd CJ Fiedorowicz TE Iowa / Arthur Lynch TE Georgia
4th rd Jon Halapio OG UF / Jay Prosch FB Auburn
5th rd Stanley Jean-Baptiste DB Nebraska / Brandon Linder OG The University of Miami
6th rd Cornellius Lucas OT Kansas State / Hakeem Smith SS Louisville
7th rd DeAndre Coleman DT Cal / Trey Millard FB Oklahoma

Ross is completely lost as football is concerned. Whaterver can happen under his command. Don't expect a genius GM, for sure.
Rather a puppet that can be manipulated by Ross et al.
Hope I'm wrong.

Ross just can't seem to do anything right, even when he finally fires Ireland, he is managing to screw things up before a successor is even named.

Sam I Am,
I won't criticize your post. For chrissakes it could be true. If I were a player or coach looking for a winning atmosphere I would steer clear of the Fins too. And I am sure conversations about the state of the Fins has come up in alot of organizations.

Beerphin, I like your draft picks! Not sure if Hyde will last to the 3rd and Benjamin in the second!! Only can hope

It pains me as much, if not more, as any dolfan to see our once proud franchise mired in such perpetual mediocrity as we've been stuck in for going on 2 decades now. Now see Ross make another in a long series of "clown moves" that seems to have been his trademark since becoming owner of our once prestigious franchise.

Now teams are advising their staff who are current candidates for Fins gm to steer clear. I'm not making this stuff up. "Steer clear" of this blog for 30 minutes, then maybe you catch up on some of the developing news that now swirling around out in the real world.

Yo...let's not jump the gun....let's see what the guy does first !!!! Geez....

I think they should have cleaned house and normally i wouldn't say that after 2 years and 15-17 record , but it is true Philbin could not get his players to play hard in the last two games with the playoffs on the line, I don't think it will be any different next year do you?

He was really the one to blame for the last two games, I am not an Ireland fan and I am glad he is gone but it was not his fault we lost the last two games against scrubs of the league, we had the same players when we won the previous three game in a row to get to 8-6. Philbin could have done a lot of things to change the outcome he could have taken away the paly calling from Sherman, and in the Jets game he could huddle his men as great leaders do and challenge them and willed them victory but know he just stood there with no emotion and what irks me the most is when he won't answer a striaght, we know the Jets out played you coach but why did they outplay you and stop giving the other team credit all the time
and give us some answers cut somebody GET IN SOMEBODY'S FACE MAKE A DIFFERENCE, this is why he should GO!!!!

my name has She in it.

Posted by: Dashe | January 09, 2014 at 01:33 PM

dashe nice to see you finally own up to this.

are you still here or are you on your night (low paying) job now?

You guys do realize that mando doesn't know how sure footed Aponte and Philbin are in the organization right? He is just hypothesizing. He doesn't know how much power the next GM will have.

he doesn't know if Philbin will insist the new GM keep Joe or Dawn

He doesn't know if there will be a "czar" or not.

he knows nothing - as much as us as to what will happen next and he says so in this blog.

Yet all of you automatically jump to worst possible conclusions.

Can we at least see what happens next before we start crapping all over it.

Then again I'm sure even if they hire the best available candidate and give him control of the football side of things there will be some of you that will complain and whine about Dawn Aponte not being here anymore or having significant say in football ops.

As far as Miami not being a suitable destination? They have a capable young Qb that may grow even better, they have an owner that writes blank cheques, they have a wad of cap space envied by most teams, they have a lot of pieces in place, and they have an owner that does not mettle in the football side of things but merely waits until the season is over to grade things out. And the fanbase is so starved for sucess that merely getting the team into a wildcard game will send the fanbase into a frenzy.

Plus, did I mention that this job was in a sunny destination for a football organization with a great heritage?

Uhm, yeah, I'm sure nobody wants this job.

Plenty of coaches and GM's are coming from places with just as much if not more drama,

MIT, so why do so many coaches and players avoid coming to Miami? Harbaugh, Fisher, Manning. I am sure I missed some. Maybe if you had contacted them with your reasons why Miami is a great team to play for they would have come.

Last playoff win

Well said Mark. However, I am hoping Ross gives the GM full power to make a decision on Philbin. I don't agree with making Aponte the GM or firing one of the GM/coach and keeping the other one.

Let's just wait and see what happens though and that is just my opinion.

Fisher, Manning. I am sure I missed some. Maybe if you had contacted them with your reasons why Miami is a great team to play for they would have come.

Posted by: MassDolphan | January 09, 2014 at 04:49 PM

Fisher has proven nothing. Still a career 8-8 coach.

Harbaugh was going to SF no matter what. He didn't go interview anywhere else. Ross had to fly out to him. No other team did.

Peyton said he did not know our staff and needed to be around someone he was comfortable with - like John Elway.

The same thing was said before yet Wallace and Grimes and Keller came here. Opportunities are few in the NFL, people will come.

Think, you are right.

If people are offered the most money, combined with no state income tax, and the climate they will come.

This fascination with Jeff Fisher is nothing more than the fans continually thinking another teams trash will turn to gold here. He has had a ton of high picks and still hasn't had a winning season on his new team.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | January 09, 2014 at 04:42 PM

If you believe Armando truly doesn't know, then fine and well. However, it isn't only Armando saying these things, it's the ENTIRE So FLA media, radio talk shows, ESPN, and ALL of the National Football Media outlets are parroting the exact same things.

I mean, can EVERBODY be wrong about this? As a DOLFAN, I certainly hope so. But, as a realist and Ross' track record since owner, it's EXTREMELY possible EVERYONE else is right.

As a DOLFAN, that's a very bitter pill to swallow. Yet, it's no different from bitter pills we've been forced to swallow over the past 15yrs. Believe me, I so HATE it too.

Don't know how many of you read other area papers. PB Post occasionally has something worth a read....

More Miami Dolphins GM candidates emerging but there’s some confusion over process

by Andrew Abramson
Cleveland Browns assistant GM Ray Farmer and Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson emerged today as new candidates for the Miami GM job, but there’s also apparent confusion in the process to select someone to run the Dolphins.

The Dolphins sought permission to interview Farmer today, according to the National Football Post. But Fritz Pollard Alliance chairman John Wooten told the web site that he is he doesn’t understand how the Dolphins want to structure their front office, even after Farmer spoke to Dolphins officials and relayed the info back to Wooten.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance works with minority candidates.

“I want to talk to the Dolphins,” Wooten said. “I talked to Jeff Pash from the NFL. I didn’t quite understand what they were saying about how everything is going to work.”

There are still a ton of questions over whether owner Stephen Ross plans to install a GM with full control or if that person will answer to someone who runs operations? How will Miami’s vice president of football administration Dawn Aponte fit in? Aponte appears to have won a power struggle with former GM Jeff Ireland. Will it be a three- or even four-person show with Coach Joe Philbin, Aponte, a new GM and a personnel boss? Will she be the personnel boss?

Apparently the Dolphins are having trouble explaining this to potential candidates, at least by phone. Ross might not even know yet how it will be structured.

ESPN reported Miami’s interest in Dawson and said the Dolphins have received permission to interview him. New York Giants vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross is the only other candidate to have reportedly received permission to interview with Miami".

Not good

Had Fisher come here and brought his same St. Louis record, you would all be chanting bust, move on.

MassD, harbaugh wanted the 9ers from the start

Fisher didn't want ireland or any other Gm forced upon him.

Manning is obvious, we had a new coach, change in leadership, other playoff teams wanted his services. Frankly I'm still surrised he picked Denver. Thought the 9ers were his best fit but peyton loves the money too and the 9ers didn't have the cap space.

But also look at how many high profile players did coem to Miami. Three years ago both Marshall and Dansby gave Miami a chance when they were the highest profile offensive and defensive player available. Last year Walalce was the biggest fish in free agency. They ahd choices. They chose to come here. THat is a decent track record.

I know Marshall was a trade but he had to sign a contract wherever he went.

Posted by: Dashi | January 09, 2014 at 02:58 PM

that's what Parcell's thought in New England, remember how that worked out. It worked out great for the Patriots they ended up with Bellichek and Brady, but he still had a GM to answer too.

haha, the entire south florida media is hypothesizing so mando at least has the brains to say he's speculating and considering all options but now we have to be subjected to the genius of Omar Kelly as bible?

As far as coming to Miami, when hook is $millions baited, what fish doesn't eventually bite. Just because you get a bite does not mean it isn't a dog fish.

We've become very familiar with dog fish on hook the past 15yrs.

Sam, what don't you get? manod doesn't know what the new structure will be. That's why it says above...

"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 ..."

What a mess...really Mr Ross? This was the plan to confuse the heck out of everyone? Leadership structure in a business is everything. What a debacle.

It appears as though the Phins are looking for a yes man for both Aponte and Philbin...applicants beware!

Posted by: cocoajoe | January 09, 2014 at 04:59 PM

MIT should read this. That's the vibe the entire league and potential gm candidates all have right now. Without Ross CLARIFYING anything, to any potential candidates its looks like a clusterfvck they could be walking into for sure.

"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.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | January 09, 2014 at 05:06 PM

That's the primary problem. Right now nobody knows. Even worse, right now Ross himself seems INDECISIVE about what to actually do.

Ross is indecisive because he wants to protect DawnJo. I'm really beginning to believe Stephen Ross may have SEVERE abandonment issues. Which make its highly difficult to break personnel relationships with people.

It's a sign he's a very nice guy, but his personnel relationships spill to far over into his "BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS". This is why I believe it's so difficult to fire, even when the evidence overwhelmingly confirms it.

Sam, supposedly the quotes were accurate, can't imagine they weren't. I don't understand how Ross can attract any quality people when nobody knows what's going on.

There was no plan moving forward when the firings started.

I posted it yesterday and will now repeat it! Jason LaCanfora was on the Coop-n-Crowder (560 AM) show yesterday and said that the buzz around the League was that Steve Ross would indeed Empower Dawn Aponte and it would not just hinder the search for a G.M. but cripple it! He had spoken to Owners and F.O. people around the NFL who were scratching there heads at the running joke that Ross was overseeing in Miami! He said that you couldn't overstate the mistake this hire would be and that the dysfunction we the fans are just now hearing about has been common knowledge since the firing of Sparano and the real reason nobody wanted to work with the F.O. we had in place!

Do all of you honestly believe that Lake Dawson a Titans Scout whose been Assistant G.M. for 2 Yrs. was at the top of any list when Ross hit Ireland with an altimatum he knew was going to lead to his resignation or for that matter a member of the dysfunction that is Cleveland since coming back in 99? If anything we now know how Ross operates (looking to replace people within his Org. before firing them) and can assume while not public he reached out to the likes of a John Savage or a Pioli only to be given a "HELL NO!" This group of front runners for the G.M. job (who may also balk given the power structure within the team) is a 2nd tier grouping of lower level Administrators around the League.

It was reported that the team had permission to speak with Art Rooney Jr.'s (Pitt.) team Adm. in Omar Khan (who happens to be the one hire I felt the strongest about given that teams ability to always build from within) And the report seems to have evaporated today? The team made public the people that will actually interview for this job not make any news about the folks who categorically turned down the interview and don't care for position! Very sad that this team which after JJ would have had people lining up to take over if Huzienga would have bothered to looked is now interviewing lowly Assistants from perenial losing Franchises to see if any will "grace us with their presence" and just how far out of touch is Ross that the entire Football Universe is laughing at him for his course without him pausing to ask himself why!

Fin4, skimmed your post when I should have read it yesterday. When I read the article from the Post, my thinking was Ross was aiming at somebody who would fit Mando's #2 organization chart. But now, it's even worse than I thought

There is not a team in the NFL with "The strong general manager" as described by Armando.

I've come to the conclusion mando writes his articles on drugs.

What is this Power Crap? To me the GM needs to worry about bringing in talented players through draft and free agency that will fit the system he and the coach agree upon. The only personel that he should be over is his team of evaluator's/scouts. He need not worry about Philbin or Aponte or any other person. Once player is in the building, he belongs to coach. GM needs to work with coach to determine team weakness by position and with Aponte on money situation and go from there. That's it!!!

If there are no suitable candidates for GM now they might have to wait until after the Playoffs and maybe the SB.

I don't like the idea of a GM at all - never have. Just get rid of the position. The head coach should have final say on the draft, the personnel, and all things related. The coach is the guy on the hot seat if the team isn't winning, and gets the credit when the team is winning, so the coach should be allowed to choose which players are going to play for him.

As for the Aponte/Philbin thing....who cares?!! Ireland should have never been hired in the first place, so who cares if he was neutered before he left. It is possible that Aponte/Philbin understood that Ireland was holding the team back by his multitude of bad decisions.

Please do not ask me where I got this information because I will not say. It is the TRUTH. However if some sports writer would do his due diligence he would find out I am correct. Stephen Ross has not paid one dime to Mr Huizenga for the team.........as of now. There is a possibility his SON could take the team back. If that would happen it would be great. Huizenga would at least bring in people to run the team and know what needs done..........unlike Ross. What amazes me about Ross is how he can be such a genius in business and such a dummy with the fins


Dang ! You're reading along here and accepting of the warped insight we all write when the grammatical errors, convoluted logic, and racist or demeaning crap starts. I have no problem when someone challenges Armando, Omar, or anyone else that has to come up with a column day after day, but this nit-sh*t, picky junk needs to stop. I have no idea if the actions taken by Mr. Ross & advisors will work - and neither do you. As loyal Dolfans we should offer thought-out opinions and, dare I say it, optimism for the 2014 season. With our schedule, this team needs all the backing they can get. Go Dolphiins !

We need a Head Talent Evaluator, if one doesn't already exist. Then we need a Strong GM that oversees Philbin, Aponte and the Head Talent Evaluator, but accepts input from them. Then since Ross knows nothing about football operations, maybe he needs to hire a Weak Czar; really a consultant who Ross consults with to get a clue about owning a football team. The Weak Czar would make sure Ross knows how to keep the GM in line and that the GM listens to Philbin, Aponte and the Head Talent Evaluator.

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