What a week for the Miami Dolphins, they finally took action and did it in dramatic fashion. The team, who was silent on Black Monday, was loud this week, as they removed Mike Sherman from his Offensive Coordinator post. That wasn’t the only management move of the early off-season, the Fins said adios to its front office stalwart, Jeff Ireland. Ireland who had been with the organization for 6 long years, had worn thin in South Florida after not making the progress expected this season. The Fins spent more money than any team in the NFL last off-season; they also had a multitude of draft picks. The free agent acquisitions flamed out, the draft picks rarely saw the light of day. Both of these led the Fins, to an 8-8 record. Most importantly the Fins lost their last two games in a pathetic manner. They fell to the Jets and Bills, 2 non-playoff teams, in dominant fashion, on both sides of the ball. Sherman and Ireland were not all to blame Head Coach Joe Philbin seemed to not have his team prepared the final weeks. Considering the Dolphins had a 3 game win streak coming down the stretch, its 3rd win over the now #2 seeded New England Patriots. The Fins were only able to muster 7 points in its final two defeats, a major drop off in play, placing a great deal of the blame squarely on the shoulders of the surviving Head Coach, Joe Philbin.
The departure of Sherman and Ireland speaks to the fact owner Stephen Ross is not settling for mediocrity, as many proclaimed. Ross, a real estate mogul in both New York and Palm Beach, has been made to look like a fool by the events surrounding his organization the last few years, both on and off the field. This season a scandal in the locker room rocked the franchise. Ross left Ireland and Philbin as the two men in charge of said locker room, and they were unable to maintain control. Jeff Ireland at one point telling former offensive lineman, Jonathan Martin’s agent, that Martin should physically stand up for himself when teased. This being ridiculous advice for a boss to his employee in a place of business. On the field the Dolphins haven’t made the post-season since 2008. A stretch, Ross’ fan-base will not let him forget any time soon. A move had to be made, considering the Dolphins offense sputtered this season, only exceeding 30 points once in a week 14 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is a NFL that has put a strong emphasis on the offensive side of the ball, and that was a major shortcoming for the Fins this season. The list of possible future offensive coordinators has been released, the 4 top candidates thus far are former Houston Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak, former Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, current Eagles Qb Coach Bill Lazor, and current Packers Qb Coach Ben McAdoo. All 4 are highly qualified candidates; the Fins seem to be leaning toward McAdoo. Ben McAdoo coached under Joe Philbin, when Philbin was the Packers’ OC. He knows Philbin’s system, plus worked with both Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn. Whoever the final selection may be will have to revamp an offense that seemed full of talent, but executed poorly throughout the season.
The OC position is of vast importance, but as it stands the General Manager spot should be grabbing the headlines. Jeff Ireland did not leave the cupboard bare, but there are gaping holes throughout the Dolphins’ roster. Ireland was given full autonomy and still was unable to close the deal on a roster that was playoff capable. The names of interest for that position also have been released; it is a list that covers the spectrum of front office positions. The Dolphins have gotten permission to speak with Browns’ current assistant general manager Ray Farmer, Lake Dawson Titans’ VP of player personnel, Mark Ross an executive with the Giants is a person of interest, plus Alonzo Highsmith VP of Scouting for the Packers is on the Fins’ radar. Yes there are many Green Bay names coming to light, with the head coach coming from Green Bay, he has a connection with McAdoo and Highsmith. Also the Packers have been a highly successful organization that has built through the draft. Leading you to believe those in the organization, have a strong idea how to put a roster together. Also the Dolphins have been a fractured organization in recent years; putting pieces together that previously fit to the tune of a Super Bowl victory, may be just what this franchise needs.
Change for change sake is never a good thing, however that’s not what is the case here in Miami. The Dolphins gave Jeff Ireland 6 seasons to demonstrate his ability at putting together a playoff roster. He was unable to do that, and his time has expired. Mike Sherman may only have had two seasons, but the lack of growth from his sophomore quarterback was apparent. The ineptitude on the offensive side of the ball left owner Stephen Ross without much choice. The future for the Fins is unknown literally, as both the GM and OC positions are left open. In most occasions uncertainty is seen as a negative; however in this case the uncertainty is a welcomed change to the accepted mediocrity over the past 6 seasons.