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Fins hire Hickey as GM; Mike Wallace says things must change; Dolphins, Heat, UM, Marlins chatter

11 a.m. update: The Dolphins have hired Tampa Bay personnel director Dennis Hickey as their new general manager, ending a search in which at least seven people either declined to be interviewed or turned down the job.

Tennessee's Lake Dawson turned the job down today, a day after New England's Nick Caserio did the same. "Details of the offer didn't align with my vision," Dawson said in a statement, adding it wasn't "an ideal fit."

Tampa Bay did not consider Hickey for their GM opening, even though he had been with the organization for 18 years. Hickey spent the past three years as the team's director of player personnel, after serving six years as their director of college scouting.

The Buccaneers had several regrettable draft picks (Josh Freeman, receiver Dexter Jackson and others) during his tenure as director of college scouting, though it's important to note that Hickey wasn't making the final decision.

Hickey is given credit for advocating the signing of undrafted running back LeGarrette Blount after Tennessee cut him. But the Bucs later traded Blount to New England, where he had a big role in the Patriots' 2013 season.

Now last night's post....

 

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SUNDAY BUZZ COLUMN (We interrupt this underwhelming Dolphins GM search --- and Saturday night's rejection from the Patriots' Nick Caserio --- for some on-field chatter and thoughts from the Dolphins' highest-paid player):

The Super Bowl features the quarterbacks who were the most accurate on deep balls this season: Russell Wilson (48.3 percent) and Peyton Manning (48.2 percent) --- yet another illustration of the importance of explosive passing plays.

On the other end of the spectrum? Miami’s Ryan Tannehill.

Even if you give him credit for his five deep balls that were dropped, which Pro Football Focus does, he was accurate on just 32.8 percent of passes thrown 20 yards or more and completed 25 percent of them (16 for 64) – better than only Joe Flacco among qualifiers.

Mike Wallace knows this lack of chemistry simply cannot happen again in 2014.

And Wallace also knows this: They need to get together in February. And March. And every month before training camp. And Tannehill needs to throw deep balls and Wallace needs to catch them. Hundreds of them.

Rinse.

Repeat.

"We have to,” Wallace said. “Definitely have got to get the deep ball going. That’s the difference between winning and losing a couple games. I should have had 15 or 20 more touchdowns. And that’s being modest. If you press me, you have no shot to cover me. Once I get you to stop your feet, it’s over.”

But if the deep ball isn’t thrown accurately, or caught, it’s moot.

Consider: Of balls in the air at least 20 yards, Tannehill threw 36 such passes to Wallace, and only six were completed --- the worst percentage of 22 deep-threat receivers ranked by PFF. Of those 36, only eight were deemed catchable and Wallace dropped two.

Conversely, DeSean Jackson caught 16 of 33, T.Y. Hilton 11 of 26, Josh Gordon 15 of 36 and AJ Green 15 of 38.

Overall, Wallace caught just 53 percent of all passes thrown to him, which ranks 88th of 111 receivers.

It’s also troubling that Tannehill’s deep ball accuracy regressed from his rookie season, when he completed 39 percent (20 of 51).

Wallace, whose 11 dropped passes tied for the NFL’s fourth-most (four fewer than Brandon Marshall), said he will spend only a month away before returning to South Florida in February. He will run on the UM track with Hurricanes track coach Amy Deen, in addition to working with Tannehill and new coordinator Bill Lazor.

CHATTER

### One person who interviewed for the Dolphins’ general manager job said Stephen Ross never clarified whether executive vice president/football administration Dawn Aponte would report to him or the owner, which has caused confusion. The Dolphins publicly remain non-committal about that, even though Aponte previously reported to Jeff Ireland. Ireland would have reported to Aponte if Ireland had agreed to the demotion that Ross pitched.

One former NFL general manager said having Aponte report to Ross, instead of the GM, potentially would cause problems: “If your general manager says he’s already drawn up a contract with Drew Rosenhaus, will Dawn then say, ‘We don’t have the money to do that?’ The GM typically would be over a football administrative person.”

One candidate said Aponte participated in his interview but that he also met alone with Ross and alone with Joe Philbin.

### Patriots personnel director Nick Caserio, who turned down an offer to be the Dolphins GM on Saturday night, is highly-regarded. But several NFL types (a candidate who declined to interview, a respected former GM and others) called the Dolphins’ other candidates unimpressive.

One source who has dealt with Tennessee's Lake Dawson said he simply isn't as knowledgable as many of the league's other personnel directors. Former Dolphins candidate Jason Licht, who was hired by Tampa Bay, “was the best candidate of all of them” before Caserio interviewed and turned down the job, the former GM said. But Licht wasn't about to turn down an offer from Buccaneers merely to be a finalist in Miami.

What a humbling, disappointing search --- with at least four candidates declining to be interviewed, at least one declining a follow-up interview, one rejecting an offer, and now three finalists from teams that have experienced far more failure than success in recent years. Sort of typical for these Dolphins. And doesn't Ross need to ask a bunch of smart NFL people why this job is so unappealing and attempt to fix it?

### The Marlins, who privately sense Giancarlo Stanton’s interest in playing in California someday, decided this wasn’t the right time to make a multiyear offer and are hesitant to broach the issue once the season starts. But the Marlins expect to make a multiyear offer before they consider trading him as early as next winter.

According to a close associate, Stanton is in a good spirits because he believes the Marlins have improved their roster and because they gave him a fair contract in his first year of arbitration eligibility ($6.5 million) after automatically renewing him in the past for less than what he believed he deserved.

### Negativity has swirled among some UM football fans, with many upset about defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio and the four blowout losses this past season. Associates say Al Golden has grown weary of some of the criticism.

“What the hell do people want?” one high ranking UM Board of Trustee member said. “Does anyone realize what the NCAA thing did to us? That team this year was an ordinary team, and we went 9-4. It will take three years to build this up, but this is the right guy to do it.”

### UM still hopes the NCAA will reduce its penalty of nine docked football scholarships because UM withheld some last year. But the NCAA hasn’t given UM an answer yet.

### UM continues to show a peculiar lack of interest in the highly-regarded sons of former Heat stars. Former coach Frank Haith never pursued former Michigan star Tim Hardaway Jr. (a first-round pick last June) and was late and lukewarm in recruiting former Georgia Tech standout Glen Rice Jr. (a second-round pick last June).

One UM source said the former staff had concerns their fathers might meddle, and UM had concerns about Rice's attitude; he was later dismissed from the Georgia Tech team as a junior.

Now, Ransom Everglades coach Claude Grubair said he’s surprised UM has not shown more interest in forward Alonzo Mourning III, Alonzo’s son.

 “I feel they’re not really interested,” Grubair said. “There are very few big men in the country that shoot like him. He’s still growing, and doctors say he’s going to be 7-foot, 7-1. Maybe he doesn’t fit what Miami wants to do. They haven’t offered him.”

UF and Duke have aggressively recruited Mourning, but Grubair said both schools told him that he needs to tell them he’s not going to go to Georgetown before they offer him officially.

“Other schools are saying he must be going to Georgetown like his father did, but I’m not sure about that,” Grubair said. Mourning, averaging 34.3 points and 10 rebounds, is graduating in May, according to his coach....

### Check out the Twitter feed of Herald colleague @Safid_Deen if you're interested in the names of the top Class of 2015 players visiting UM on Sunday.... As it turned out, UM had only two Class of 2014 official visits this weekend: Quarterback Malik Rosier (a strong UM oral commitment) and Georgia-based athlete Tavon Ross, a Missouri oral commitment. Ross told canesport.com that his visit went well but his decision will be based on how next weekend's Missouri visit goes. He's also considering Georgia and Auburn. UM wants him as a running back, though he can also play safety.

### Chris Bosh not only is in the midst of one of the best offensive stretches of his Heat career (58 percent shooting, 24 points per game in his past six, with Dwyane Wade missing four of them), but he has never felt more comfortable offensively here than the past month.

He admitted in a private moment recently that at times in the past, "I was thinking, ‘No play calls for me. I don’t feel comfortable doing this.’ Now, I just let it rip.

“Before, I was always just trying to figure it out. It was to the point where it frustrated me because I wasn’t in my comfort zone. I wasn’t getting on that right block and getting play calls. Now I’m a totally different player, where the defense never knows when I’m going to shoot it.”

Bosh, who has averaged 17.6 points in his Heat career, said Erik Spoelstra still doesn’t call plays for him but said some calls have built-in options that allow him to shoot.

### Wade, who blamed knee soreness on his four-game absence, practiced Saturday and hopes to play Sunday against San Antonio.

### Miami-Dade County deputy mayor Chip Iglesias said the county commission probably won’t vote until April or May on whether to approve a proposed MLS stadium at the Port Miami site. There is optimism it will be approved, but final resolution --- especially with Beckham’s group seeking state money --– is a ways off.

### Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

Comments

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joe r

why is it so obvious about the wallace situation, i posted about this back in september and wallace is just figuring it out..if we have to read about tannehill and Hartline playing picth and catch before and after practice coming up you know we have problems, throwing 10-20 yard patterns over and over is HS stuff

as far as ross goes, maybe getting advice from your friend peterson isnt such a hot idea, a guy that has the credentials for the job you are trying to fill, a guy you look to for advice but wont even hire even though he wants the job..something is dysfunctional there just like his organizational setup

im going to say it and its going to make people real uncomfortable just like the sherman interview but here goes...dawn aponte is a problem for two reasons, only because ross has made it a problem, these GM's want her reporting to them, they dont want the end around to ross..gm reports to ross, the others report to gm. And the 2nd problem, she is a woman and i guarantee you at least one and probably more have an issue with that...problem 1 can be fixed by ross and problem 2 cant be fixed other then we dont want those guys anyway

Dawn Aponte does a good job but Ross needs to get the organization right so she can thrive and make sure we dont end up with some sexist a-hole.

This can be a real good job and Ross has proven he will spend his money.

Harleyray

If Ross would have fired Philbin,and made it clear that Aponte's job is too police the cap (only),and she will answer to the GM,then and only then will we get a top notch GM who can hire a "real" head coach! Of all the bad moves Ireland made,hiring Philbin as our head coach was the absolute worst. Of course Philbin's resume looked great. He came from an offense that had Brett Favre and then Aaron Rodgers as it's quarterback's,no brainer. But on his own, Philbin is totally clueless.

Ship shape

The problem is Ross. He is a complete buffoon. He has no business being an NFL owner. He does not care one iota of the fan base. All he loves is money. He is an older version of that arrogant idiot Dan Snyder. I wonder what they have in common?

Mskfish

Barry, the UM people don' t get it. The issue isn't 4 losses it's the fact they were blown out in every game. I sure hope Al and the staff take these embarrassing losses as personal as the fans. The lack of change and events post the bowl game debacle have people deservedly uneasy. Go canes

Reality Bites

Agree Ross is the problem. This goes back several years ago when Sparano was fired and we had problem finding a new coach since Ireland was in place. Now Ireland is fired and Philbin is in place. On top of that there is the Aponte connection. He should have fired both Sparano and Ireland together back then. Then he should have learned form that mistake and fired Philbin too this time around while making sure everyone knew what Aponte's role is and that she would answer to the new GM.
The only organization worth a dang in this bandwagon town is the Heat. Thank God for the Heat, the only sports team in Miami that is not a loser and not run by the blind and the clueless.
Go Heat!

Mike

Golden should feel lucky that miami people havent run him out of town. he's no better than shannon. if he were black, um would have fired him.

Penguin

Why would anyone of high caliber take a job where there isn't even clarity about personnel structure?

407Cane

Barry, your reports are always succinct and informative.
Thank you

johnnie j

Of course Philbin should have been long gone.HE was the one individual MOST responsible for the Dolphins last 2 regular game losses.He did not deliver wins in what were basically 2 Playoff games to reach the real Playoffs.Ross finds an organized guy and falls in love with that skill alone.The heck if he comprehends leading a football team and motivating them to fight for victories.Ross just doesn t get how the football world works in the NFL.Period.His stumbling,bumbling approach attracts mediocre to bad candidates and then allows a capologist to NOT report to the GM.Doesn t Ross know or believe that not ever GM candidate is not necessarrily Jeff Ireland?Ross chain of command is made of clay and that s self-defeating and it s astonishing Ross is so clueless about the importance of a strict chain of command.It starts with a weak owner and it ends there because Ross thinking/strategy is not related to or pertains to NFL football intellect.

ignorance is bliss

Hey Mike.....I agree with half of your statement, the 2nd part, c'mon man, its not about race. Im white and at this point I'd take a pink alien to coach this team with an ideal defensive scheme. We're supposed to be a private school, that means you have to have a higher degree of education to enroll, sooo I guess we have the dumbest smart kids because I never heard the word freelance on defense so many time this year then in my entire life. I might put it on my grave. HERE LIES STEVE ......I FREELANCED TO THIS HOLE IN THE GROUND

Gary

To Mike- Whatever Al Golden is he is. We will see. RS was not fired because he is black. He was fired because he's a bad coach, strike that atrocious without a HINT of a DC job or HC job since, a poor recruiter without being on probation or under investigation and an idiot. He didn't even recruit Jacoby Brissett whose mom wanted him to go to UM.Taking the name off the players jersey were more a priority than recruiting. Let's see 1 more year with Golden.

Ship shape

Yawn
Ross is the problem. Boycott until he sells.

Lt. Lois Einhorn

I always thought any old a**hole could do a better job than Jeff Ireland.

So I guess we'll find that out.

Russell

Barry,
Have any of the former Heat kids shown interest in UM? If an established program like Michigan/UF or a blueblood program like Duke and Georgetown want a kid I have to believe they get him 9/10 times where Miami would stand little to no chance.

Example, did the Canes really ever have a chance with John Wall who went to Kentucky or the kid from Pinecrest that went to UF?

This season though expected has shown how difficult it is to get the talented kids to come in. I really like how under Larranaga the kids don't quit and scrap until the end, unlike the Clark and Haith years. They should have no business hanging with Syracuse late. I still think they rely way too much on the 3pt but I guess with a lousy offense its hard to get the ball inside-out or attack the rim with a scorer like Scott or Larkin.

mayberd

Dennis Hickey is as good as the other mediocre candidates the Dolphins had for the GM job.Stephen Ross is the Charlie Brown of NFL owners as he seems to not get anything right.Ross has screwed up GM,Head Coaching searches and attempts to improve Joe Robbie Stadium and get a Super Bowl to be played in that Stadium.The Dolphins Front Office will continue to be a clown act until the Dolphins get a new young aggressive Owner.

morbidlyobese danlebetard mustdie

The UM trustee : what we want is a competitive football team that plays defense. Not the trainwreck we've had the last 2 yrs.
The ncaa investigation --al has won 1 more game the last 2 yrs than bill O'brien at ped state, ped st with crushing sanctions not a threat of sanctions. Their players were allowed to transfer without restrictions. We didn't have any 'ship reductions the last 3 yrs. The apologists will cry about the threat and cloud and no talent would come here..duke coley Howard did, to name a few.

General Zod, Ruler of the Universe

Nearly 20 years have passed since the Fins played in an AFC Championship game ... pathetic.

AnonymousCane

There is nothing that can be reasonably discussed with Golden's critics outside of the defensive woes from the past two years. This guy took a mediocre team and won 9 games his third year still under the NCAA gun and the negativity toward the program it created, especially on the recruiting trail. Going 6-6 7-5 and 9-4 shows good progression under normal circumstances.
There should be no argument that the roster and depth are vastly improved under Golden. This years recruiting class is better than last year in total, 2015 is building rapidly with highly touted players on the radar and some already committing.

The critics (experts all,lol) are going to be over-ruled by reasonable Board Members and AD Blake James who know and see the real progress that is being made. Both on and off the field. Coach Golden has never said the team is where they want it to be or a finished product by any means!

Do some things need to be worked on, yes, and guess what? Golden by all remarks will agree! This jumping on every little thing is getting tiresome and boring.

With so many teams needing help it is amazing all the talent on Canesport, CanesInsight and the Herald have all the answers but sit on the sidelines bitching and moaning. If they/you are so damned smart go get a college job. They are fans of "winning," not fans of the U! JMO

Come'on Al

### Negativity has swirled among some UM football fans, with many upset about defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio and the four blowout losses this past season. Associates say Al Golden has grown weary of some of the criticism.

“What the hell do people want?” one high ranking UM Board of Trustee member said. “Does anyone realize what the NCAA thing did to us? That team this year was an ordinary team, and we went 9-4. It will take three years to build this up, but this is the right guy to do it.”

.

More excuses and now it'll be another 3 years? Al Golden has grown weary of some of the criticism? We Cane fans are waaaayyy past weary watching that horrible Defense get rolled for 400-500 yards and 35-40 points in more than half the games the last 3 seasons. Get rid of your boy, play the old U scheme defensively and grow some thicker skin Al. Your Penn. St. bend and break defense isn't making us "weary", it's already and will continue to make us sick.

AnonymousCane

Totally agree with the concerns about the defense. It is not all on Coach D though(jmo). Outside of that what you got?

Folks tend to forget the 2011 defense that was more than decent. A ranked Georgia Tech team comes in rolling on offense avg, 517 yards per game and 40 plus points and is held to 305 yards less than their average (212) and to 7 points. Didn't hear any complaints then!

Same defense as 2012 and 2013! Just saying outside of the defense complaints, all legit, what you got?

morbidlyobese danlebetard mustdie

Anon cane ---besides #116 total defense in 2012 and last in the acc in 2013 I guess I have no complaints.
Well besides using the ncaa cloud as an excuse for piss poor defense being put on the field. Why does al have 1 more win than a program with real, damaging penalties? Our recruiting classes were top 20 nationally and our defense is last in the acc?
Al goes on Joe's show with some stats and a lot of excuses.
I hope we get TV at dt next month but the excuse from ag and the No'D deniers will be "we're too young, give it 2 more years"
question for you--when is al off scholarship and need to beat a ranked team at the end of year or a bowl game?
For me it was last year.

Tom Olivadotti

Congratulations Mr. Ross! Every hot chick at the dance turned you down and you still end the night with a Hickey. Well played sir! What number will Josh Freeman be wearing next season? Btw, my season tix are now listed on craigslist.

johnnie j

So many Cane fans are not pleased with Golden because he does not show that he is willing to make ANY changes.Continuity is better than finding better ideas,better people,better positions for different coaches and so on is his calling card.His motivating is suspect at times.Was Louiseville a Denver or Seattle of the NFL?Miami s play against them made it appear that way.Golden stuck with Morris too long the last few games when he was very inconsistent or in pain from his not yet healed ankle.The 1 game it seemed the Canes were improving was against the Gators but then we found out how mediocre they were to become this year.At least the defense played with passion.Since then,,,the D has been discombobulated and loose.I d agree the talent was average to decent but if a team is playing together,,,it s because of like mind.The Coaches implied these Canes were not able to pick things up good enough and so many excuses to cover up the DC and his lack of teaching his players.I m no more an expert than annonymous cane but neither do I necessarily have a man crush on Golden.Just can t pay my respect to the Cane Coaches without detailing clear evidence of a less than stellar coaching job that the Coaches just have not delivered yet.Get in the Top 15 and stay there consistently as you work on improving.Yes the NCAA sanctions were tough but TOO much is being made of it after EVERY Cane loss.Stop the excuses and do a better job of Coaching up the players.

Jakester

Forget Aponte, Philbin and new hire Dennis Hickey-problem is a four letter word....R-O-S-S.
We need a new owner. Period. Until that happens, select your alternate football team to give your fandom to and be done with this.

g8rseetmya55

You all forget that you cant make a pig look like a beauty queen no matter how much make up you slap on it- Miami's defensive players were average at best with 1-2 exceptions in thelast 3-4 years. Alonzo Highsmith? Are you kidding? Chikillo has been a big bust. The D line is a sieve that may granma can run through. Seriously. We can have Vince Lombardi Don Shula or Nick Saban coaching these kids and they wouldnt have finished better than 9-4 last year.

Blow outs yea but many here dismiss the Duke loss like it was all Miami being bad. Duke came within a hair of beating Texas A&M and probably one of the top 3 drafts in Jonny Manziel. Miami had Morris as QB- who threw two ints in the senior bowl!

Without good players, good talent, this team will continue to be 9-4 8-5. The difference is recruiting and we will have to see what Golden does with his recruits. And if Golden is getting weary- I can say this- Al, anywhere you go there will be pressure to win. How much pressure depends on where you end up.

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