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Fins lose out on another target Wednesday; Buoniconti gives scathing assessment

 

Quick Wednesday afternoon FYI: Former Patriots linebacker/outside linebacker Mark Anderson agreed to a four-year deal with Buffalo, meaning the Dolphins will not be able to fill their need for a pass-rusher in free agency unless they bid for 32-year-old Andre Carter. There's no other real accomplished pass rusher left in free agent.

Miami never pursued Kamerion Wimbley, who signed with Tennessee. The Dolphins talked about how important it was to find pass rushers but haven't done anything in that regard beyond adding Jamaal Westerman, who has 4.5 sacks in three years as a Jets reserve. They still must replace Jason Taylor's seven sacks. They'll likely look in the draft, with Melvin Ingram a possibility with the eighth pick.

On to Wednesday's buzz column:

 

As one of the most distinguished, respected and accomplished Dolphins alums, Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti should be taken very seriously when he speaks. And to say he is troubled by the team’s management would be an understatement.

“There is a monumental weakness in the organization,” he said Tuesday. “You can’t possibly lose out on every single individual, whether management or player or coach, without there being consequences to pay for it. They obviously don’t understand free agency. I guess the most meaningful statement was made by [Pittsburgh safety] Ryan Clark” – that nobody wants to play for the Dolphins. “That sums it up. Fans have every right to be totally disappointed.”

In evaluating a general manager, “you base it on results. And so far the results have been dismal,” Buoniconti said of Jeff Ireland. “I represented athletes for a living [as a former practicing attorney], and I’m not sure Jeff Ireland understands free agency, in terms of creating a scenario for a player that says, ‘We can really do something special with you plugged into this hole, and here’s how it would work.’

“I’m not sure that message is getting across. It’s obviously not just money. It’s the perception of a team that is in a downward spiral. This is what people don’t want to attach their future to.”

What irritates Buoniconti about the Dolphins’ personnel decisions is “there is no boldness here. They are always trying to play it safe. By playing it safe, they have lost out on how many free agents? They are not creative. The message promulgated by management has no innovation to it, no creativity to it.

“It has left the players coming in here with the feeling of, ‘Wow? This is the organization they want me to sign with?’ That’s a problem. You think [recently signed offensive lineman Artis Hicks] is going to turn around a 6-10 team? They could have targeted Vincent Jackson, and they let him slip away. They let Chad Henne go for nothing, and I would rather have Henne than David Garrard by a long shot. They let the guy go a year too soon.” 

He praises Ireland for re-signing Paul Soliai, saying that's one thing he did right, but cannot understand how the Dolphins could ship away Brandon Marshall without a plan to acquire a top veteran to replace him. (All the top free agent receivers are gone.)

Buoniconti believes the organization’s attempt to lure free agents is being damaged by several players’ very public criticism of Ireland. “You may be better off without a general manager,” Buoniconti said “facetiously.”

He said “the thing that bothers me so much is they have a valuable asset in the organization in [vice president/senior advisor] Nat Moore that for some reason, beyond my understanding, has not been put to use except on a marginal basis. He should be on the pro personnel side, as executive vice president of football operations. Don’t have [him] reporting to someone who has failed so far.

“They’re using a guy, Carl Peterson, who took a playoff team and left it in shambles in Kansas City. You combine that with Ireland and Steve Ross, who is a new owner… You have an organization in disarray. I would have surrounded myself with winners if I was Steve Ross. I’m not lumping Joe Philbin in because he doesn’t deserve to be.

“For an ex-player who knew success with Don Shula and Joe Thomas and Bobby Beathard, it’s hard for me to just sit there and say, ‘Things aren’t going in the right direction.’ They obviously aren’t.

“I’m sure Steve is now scratching his head saying, ‘Why the hell did I do this?’ You think he isn’t having buyer’s remorse?”

CHATTER

An NFL person in contact with the Dolphins said the reason Miami didn’t make a bigger offer for Matt Flynn is that Philbin and Ireland were not entirely convinced he would beat out Matt Moore, and they weren’t going to pay him more than double what Moore is due ($2.5 million). Also, the person said Ross is not inclined to order his front office to trade for Tim Tebow. The Dolphins football people do not believe he is a starting quarterback in their offense.

### Asked why he chose Seattle over Miami, Flynn said, "I felt more comfortable in Seattle. They're doing things the right way, being led by the right type of people." (And being offered more money assuredly was a big factor that he didn't mention.) 

### Several hundred people bought season tickets believing Miami would sign Peyton Manning. Oops. A bunch of them have been calling the past few days, asking for a refund. But the team said no.

### Considering Joel Anthony is a good enough athlete to block shots and defend effectively, it puzzles and frustrates the Heat that he’s not a better rebounder. Among 35 qualifying centers, Anthony ranks last in rebounds per 48 minutes (8.9).

### Among players bought out, Ronnie Turiaf is considering the Heat, Boston and others (a decision is expected shortly); Derek Fisher reportedly is working on a deal with Oklahoma City after receiving overtures from Miami; and J.J. Hickson reportedly leans toward Golden State. (WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Turiaf is close to finalizing a deal with Miami.)

### Besides offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, UM coach Al Golden said linebacker Raphael Kirby and cornerback Ladarius Gunter are the other early arrivals making a big impression this spring. The hope is that Kirby can make the type of impact as a freshman that Denzel Perryman did last year.

### Good to see Lake Mary Prep's Ray Lewis III, son of the former Canes icon, orally commit to UM on Tuesday. Lewis, who will join UM's Class of 2013, ran for 2312 yards and scored 29 touchdowns last season. But UM hasn't decided whether he will play running back or safety. "It will be an honor to be there," Lewis told CaneSport. "I will be there to finish off what [my father] started."

### UM badly needs a breakout from Shayon Green, the early front runner to start at one defensive end spot, opposite Anthony Chickillo. Green, ESPN's 102nd ranked defensive end coming out of a Georgia high school, has played in just six games in three years at Miami (no sacks, eight tackles) but is back from two ACL injuries to the same knee, in 2009 and 2011. “People haven’t seen the best of me,” he said, describing his UM career as "rocky and frustrating." Golden calls Green “strong and powerful” but said he needs to develop more speed as a pass-rusher. Ricardo Williams and early arrival Dwayne Hoilett are second team at defensive end.

### MLB Network will air a 60-minute special on the Marlins at 8 p.m. Wednesday... Among the five contenders competing for two backup Marlins outfield jobs, Austin Kearns (.364, six RBI) has been by far the best, ahead of Bryan Peterson (.267), Chris Coghlan (.238), Scott Cousins (.172) and Aaron Rowand (.100, 3 for 30). Donovan Solano (.391) has a chance to beat out Donnie Murphy (.174) for the backup infield job.

Comments

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Larry

Nat Moore as GM ? What's that guy smoking ? Keep Chad Henne ? Please keep your mouth shut Buoniconti, old fool.

sdobcane

Welcome to the U Ray Lewis 3rd. Keep this man at running back, the numbers are very impresive.

sdobcane

Nick sees what we all see , that Ross and Ireland are a fungus to this team.

FormFactor

The problem with Buonoconti's statement about their losing out on every free agent player and coach is that he's completely and demonstrably wrong. Paul Solai, Karlos Dansby, Richie Incognito, Richard Marshall and Matt Moore are but a few names that prove him wrong.

He complains about Carl Peterson not getting results and forgets that Jeff Fisher left Tennessee in ruins too. Is that the free agent coach he wanted?

And unless he can tell us decisively that Ireland was making personnel decisions while Parcells was here, unless he can tell us what players Parcells picked and which ones Ireland picked then he needs to remain silent on the matter.

He claims Ireland and Ross play it safe. How is hiring Joe Philbin playing it safe? How is not spending money on Matt Flynn playing it safe? If they wanted to play it safe they would have spent whatever it took to get Flynn. Instead, they didn't. They're going to rely on the draft which is always risky, no?

Strangely, he prefers Chad Henne, who hasn't had any success in the league over David Garrard who has. Perhaps he should take a minute to compare numbers, wins and intangibles between the two.

As for Nat Moore, I love him. Nothing I've heard from him leads me to believe he should be involved to the degree Buonoconti wants.

As a lawyer he should know to better than to go to trial unprepared without facts to back his case up.

TinSouthMiami

The Dolphins telling ticket speculators to kick rocks is the first good thing they have done since the fired Captain FG.

smathers

Decent point, FormFactor, but Buoniconti was obviously talking about not signing a single TOP player, coach, etc. Not just any player. Dansby signed here 2 years ago, before Ireland was in charge. Ireland hasn't signed a single player this offseason who was a full-time starter for another team last year (Westerman, Hicks, Marshall). Garrard was a starter two years ago but was cut, 34, and coming off injury, and nobody was banging down his door. So Ireland signs only backups this offseason - when he said he would be bold - but trades Marshall, cuts Bell, loses Langford for nothing (he could have gotten a draft pick last year). He hasn't found a starting RT, lead receiver, upgrade at quarterback or a pass-rusher. And he has no safeties who are established NFL starters. Other than that, he's doing great.

remi

Henne does have a better arm than moore or gerrard, fact.....heene needed the coaching, that's for sure, philbin would of mad him great and one of the best....and if this guy is saying this stuff ...ROSS FIRE IRELAND AND , GRAB A TOWEL, N CLEAN YOUR ACT UP .....wtf

remi

Fire ireland and get shula to be gm or marino or even big bad JT TO BE GM I BET HE WOULD DO GREAT

Ragnor Relay

Well, not bad after reading this blog. It keeps me interested with it. Thanks!

TheSergeantMajor

Good to see Nick had the balls to talk about it. Who's next though? Where's Bob Griese? Ross won't listen until he has a full and complete mutiny on his hands.

Mutiny!! Fire Jeff Ireland. Former Dolphins need to stand up and be counted here. Speak what's on your mind, or withhold your outrage and carry it to your graves as cowards. You don't want that. Your fans stuck by you. Now it's time for you to stick by your fans and speak out. We need your clout to ensure change in that inept front office.

Matt Poore

Preach Nick! Looks like I'll be starting at QB this year, from Peyton Manning to good ol' mediocre me!

Vann

With the plan to do nothing in place( by that I mean not making any top free agent signings), I would have liked to have seen Miami resign Henne for a cheap contract. I remember last year, before he got hurt, that he was paying much better. I am certain that he wasn't coached up at all, Philbin could have helped. Maybe they get Weeden in a later round and some of this crap cloud that's been building will go away...somebody shoot me.

JS2250

Ireland wants to be more open with the media? How about being more open with the owner. You're in over you head with this job. Marino needs to get permission to access the building? You lightweight.

AnonymousCane

Bottom Line.....fans buy tickets, extremely high prices for beer, hotdogs, nachos, and other Dolphin merchandise!

Most reasonable people would not pay such prices for such a poor product and poor quality as we see during football season and our once proud Dolphins are becoming the Cleveland Browns, lol! Fans drive the engine ultimately and where are they, certainly not in the seats at game time!

As GM Ireland has not delivered and Ross is more concerned about pregame entertainment than he appears to be about the product that puts fans in the seats!

This is pathetic when so many people on the "inside" of the business have the opinions they do about Ireland and the Fins! When will Ross wake up to this? Maybe in Bankruptcy court! or when the NFL says enough and moves to take the franchise away from him. Wishful thinking I know!

 AnonymousCane

I'm in Business Development and Marketing....if I did the poor job FIRELAND is doing I would be in the unemployment line. Many say..."perception is reality." In the NFL much of that is true, especially the way owners and GMs treat players and coaches and the reputation they have for being truthful with them.

Perception of Ireland is well..... read what fans, players, the media and others in the business are saying!

There is very little support for this man to continue in this position. It is incredible with all the talent in front offices all over the league that the Fins can't or won't try to do any better than this.

FartLadySinging

For those that are in love with Ireland (some of you continue to defend him for some reason), wake up and smell my yummy odoriferous gas.

When you have players and national media guys actually talking about how crappy Ireland and company are, I'd pay attention. I can't remember any organization being slammed as badly as the Fins are being slammed. There must be something to it.

As far as Nick B's comments, I think he is in a much better position to make an assessment than most if not all of us putting our two cents in here. He was a great player, who played for a great coach, in a once great organization. So don't be foolish and doubt the words of those that have been there and done that and know a hell of a lot more than we do. As a matter of fact, ask Shula what he thinks; if not for the fact that Shula is not one to shake the bee hive, he'd probably say the same thing Nick and the rest of the critics are saying.

Jeffrey Sodusta

This is not safe. ayayay. I rather have Pat Riley Manage our NFL team. Please bring someone else for GM.

Miami boycott Miami Dolphins home games !!!!

Penguin

Good for Buoniconti for providing open and constructive criticism. Fans can complain on an emotional level. Agents (Rosenhaus!) can be sycophants for the sake of their clients. But what Ross really needs are credible persons to help him take his first steps towards changing the environment and structure of the team. Let's hope other retired players chime in.

TOM BRADY

david garrard? GO slow my beating heart. Looks like I only have to put up 21pts a game, to sweep the Dolphins this year. Moore and Garrard,hahahaha.

RudeDog68

One could argue pros and cons about all the coaches/players that have been lost. The most disturbing thing to me is that they go out of their way to pursue them and come up empty handed. Part of the problem is that they have no Plan.

surfninja

Dump Ireland and replace him with Nick Buoniconti. Buoniconti is a winner and a very smart guy.

MojoMark

This is huge! Buoniconti is the most qualified, intelligent and experienced person of note coming out with direct criticism of Ireland. In the court of public opinion he just gave the prosecution's opening statement. If this is not enough to sway Ross that Ireland should be fired, nothing is. Is there any way that it would be assured that Ross will see this? Can Buoniconti be placed front and center in the movement to fire Ireland. Not sure if he wants to spend the time and effort, but he would be perfect as the public spokesmen in the effort to force a change in Dolphin management.

Bring in Gruden

Kudos to Nick for speaking up.

SOD

Opinions are like a-holes, everybody has one. Is anyone that spews this garbage realize that next year we have davis, long, smith, moore(if he plays well) and probably others i missed as free agents so if we go on a drunken spending spree this year we will lose some of them? Let's see how Philbin does this year before without throwing him under the bus before so much as an OTA. Geez.

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