Dennis Hickey is a realist.
He knows there is a narrative out there, somewhere, that this Miami Dolphins braintrust (except for newly hired executive VP Mike Tannenbaum) has had a chance to shine in the past and may get only one more chance to win in 2015.
He knows coach Joe Philbin, entering his fourth season, may get only one more chance to get the Dolphins in the playoffs and if the Dolphins don't get in Philbin might be swept out after 2015. And Hickey knows despite the fact he's only been the general manager one year so far, he might not last past two years if Philbin fails because he might get swept out with the coach.
So does Hickey feel 2015 is make or break for him and Philbin?
"That’s how I approach every season I’ve ever been a part of," Hickey said this week. "All of the work that’s put in by so many different people, the goal is to win. That’s what everyone in our organization is about, that’s the great thing about adding Mike (Tannenbaum) to the mix, because he’s of the same philosophy, we’re about winning.
"That’s the way I approach every season."
Most general managers get a chance to hire at least one head coach and often two. Hickey hasn't gotten a chance to hire any and in fact woke up one morning three weeks ago and had a new boss -- Tannenbaum -- over him that he didn't have the day before.
And if the Dolphins fail in 2015, Tannenbaum will likely survive based on how owner Stephen Ross has done business so far during his tenure.
Remember that when Ross took over, he got rid of coach Tony Sparano but kept GM Jeff Ireland. Ireland was the man for Ross even when most people believed the general manager had done enough (or failed enough) to be fired.
Then Ross hired Philbin to team with Ireland. And when those two had a falling out, Ross picked his newer hire over the older hire even when a logical argument could have been made for sweeping them both out together.
Well, the advent of Tannenbaum makes him the most recent hire -- the new fair haired boy, so to speak.
And the folks who would be left on the outside looking in if the Dolphins do not succeed in 2015? Philbin and Hickey together, league insiders believe.
The obvious way to avoid such a housecleaning is to win in 2015.
It is indeed make or break.