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Why the Miami Dolphins waited on DeVante Parker while some in organization wanted him playing

The age-old difference of opinion between NFL front offices and coaching staffs has affected the Dolphins multiple times.

It reared its head in 2013 when general manager Jeff Ireland wanted Joe Philbin to play Dion Jordan and Dion Sims. It got so bad that year that the difference of opinion on several issues, the quick development and use of talent being one of them, affected the relationship between coach and GM.

That wasn't new in Miami then. Ireland and Tony Sparano disagreed in 2011 on what players should be cut and which should not. The GM, having security from ownership, seemed to make his decisions with an eye on the future. The coach, who was fighting to stay in his job, wanted decisions made with a focus on the present.

Well, a difference existed to a much, much lesser degree weeks ago when some in the Dolphins front office were waiting, hoping, still waiting, and really wanting the coaching staff to start using first-round pick DeVante Parker more.

And Parker was not playing a lot.

That is happening now. Finally.

Through sheer circumstance -- much like the one that thrust linebacker Jelani Jenkins from special teams player to solid starter when other linebackers got hurt and there was no one left -- Parker is playing now because Rishard Matthews suffered cracked ribs against the Jets two weeks ago.

So Parker has been pressed into service -- something the front office, many fans, and, yes, this reporter have been thinking should happen for some time.

And you know what?

I believe the front office, the fans, and I will be proven right. That receiver should be out there because, as I write in my column in The Herald today, DeVante Parker is about to do outstanding things for the Miami Dolphins.

He is the future. And the future is bright if he can avoid injuries.

That's not just me saying this. Parker, a quiet type, has some interesting things to say about what he is expecting in the coming weeks (left this season) and years.

So please, check out the column.

Now about that difference of opinion again...

When the Dolphins had Don Shula, Jimmy Johnson, even Nick Saban, there was no such difference of opinion because the coach was also the final football authority in the building and so people didn't often disagree with that.

But since the Dolphins have gone to the multi-layered approach, with a head coach, general manager and sometimes a so-called football czar answering separately to the owner, it seems everyone has opinions. And differences of opinion.

(The Dolphins are not unique in this regard, by the way).

The head coach typically has final say on the lineup once we get into the season and the way those guys seem to handle it universally is they don't play new guys unless they see evidence in practice that the new guy should play. Unfortunately, when you're preparing in-season for the next game, you concentrate on giving practice repetitions to the players in the game plan.

So it is hard for backups, particularly young backups who are ascending, to show a lot in practice because their reps are limited. And so new guys don't get into the game very fast unless injuries occur or the guy already playing seriously struggles.

Yes, it is a Catch 22 of sorts.

The personnel department, meanwhile, is tasked with projecting what players can do for the team. That's their mindset. And having picked their players with that mindset, it is hard to simply detach from that way of thinking once the season begins. But because the personnel department does not have authority over the lineup, it sometimes sits in the corner steaming about why a player it projects can help the team isn't playing a lot.

This can become acute when the team is losing -- as it became with Ireland and Sparano and Ireland and Philbin.

The current situation -- where everyone in the personnel department seems to have more discipline about staying in their lane -- did not boil over into shouting matches or other drama, that I know of. But did they want Parker in there while the coaching staff held him back?


Now, it is interesting perhaps only to me that the Dolphins have a football czar in Mike Tannenbaum and had one before that in Bill Parcells. And both these men, given authority to basically force lineup changes if they really want, have taken the road of not getting involved.

Let me tweak that: Both men have taken the road of not forcing the issue. They're involved. They may suggest a course of action, but both Tannenbaum and Parcells have been sensitive about stepping on anyone's toes. This despite the fact Parcells was on his way to the Hall of Fame and his underlings were not. Despite the fact Tannenbaum is empowered and definitely going to be around going forward while the current coach is on the job now as an interim.

Both men holding the hammer have so far decided not to use to this degree.

And so that's why it took fate to get Jelani Jenkins in the lineup. That's why nobody ever figured out what to do with Dion Jordan the last two years. That's why, to a lesser degree, it took a while to get Jamar Taylor to the bench and Bobby McCain on the field. That's why it took fate to get DeVante Parker in the lineup.