Dolphins owner Stephen Ross made clear Tuesday that finding a GM who would have harmony with his coach was the most important element he was seeking and he has found that (even though other candidates turned the job down).
Highlights from Ross’ remarks at Tuesday’s news conference introducing new Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey:
### Ross: “Looking for a general manager is one of the toughest jobs I’ve had. It’s kind of hard to prepare yourself. You’re interviewing people who haven’t had the responsibility you’re asking them to have.”
“I spoke to some of the most successful general managers about what characteristics you really look for a in a general manager. [He wouldn’t say who.] How do you find the right person? The words that came out of their mouth is you have to find someone that will be joined at the hip with your head coach and put the team and organization first and be totally compatible with the head coach and that the head coach be the representative of the team to the public.
“Trying to determine if he will have that compatibility with a coach --- that was the most important thing.”
### He said the reason he parted ways with Jeff Ireland “wasn’t because I didn’t think highly of Jeff. He’s a good friend. We needed to have harmony in the organization and think as one organization where everyone has respect for each other and operate of the same mindset in all situations.”
He said Hickey’s “knowledge and dedication was a perfect fit for the Dolphins.”
### Ross said Hickey will be responsible for the 53-man roster. Dawn Aponte, who handles the salary cap among other responsibilities, will report to Hickey.
### Ross doesn't understand why some people were confused about the organization's structure: “I set out the characteristics that were looking for. I was pretty clear in the structure. Not an unusual structure. General manager reports to me. Coach reports to me. I can’t answer the question for [why so many people turned it down]. They might have had other reasons. We’re one organization. Unless you have a common goal, you’re not going to succeed. We have the right fit."
### He made clear to candidates that Philbin had to be the head coach. “We’re not playing fantasy football,” Ross said. “With the great organizations, there’s consistency. You don’t change every time something goes wrong, or if you don’t win a game, you don’t replace everybody. We were in it this season. I feel as bad as anybody we didn’t make the playoffs.
“We were competitive. There’s such a fine line between winning and losing. You just don’t start all over again. Talking to outsiders, we’re not that far away. I have a lot of faith and confidence in coach Philbin and his staff and the direction we’re headed. So there was no reason to make wholesale changes.”
### Asked how the organization is perceived, Ross said: “The organization is perceived by the won/loss records. You are what your record says you are [8-8 last season]. People believe we have a lot of talent on the team. We’ve moving in the right direction. How we handled what took place here says an awful lot about this organization. I feel comfortable we’re headed in the right direction.”
### He liked “the compatibility between” Philbin and Hickey.
### Ross: "I was aware of disharmony [between Ireland and Philbin]. It was something I knew I had to address at the end of the season. You have to have one organization with one mindset where everyone is working together.”
### Why does Ross insist on controlling the fate of coach? “I own the team. Let’s start there.... I want to know what’s going on. I do have an interest. I have ideas. I told Dennis: If I tell you to draft a player or play a player, you don’t have to listen to me.”
### Ross said bringing in a big-name coach or GM won't necessarily result in winning: "You bring in the best people and let them do their job.”
### He said he doubted Richie Incognito or Jonathan Martin would play again for the Dolphins but then said he wanted to retract that statement.
### Hickey, by the way, said: "I always believed I was the right person for this job" but said he wasn't ready to address multiple issues, including team needs and the future of assistant GM Brian Gaine. He said he likes the nucleus of players and believed with some additions, this could be a championship-caliber roster.