Two weeks ago, with little fanfare, the Dolphins announced several promotions within the Personnel Department. General Manager Jeff Ireland named Anthony Hunt Director of Pro Scouting, Joe Schoen Assistant Director of College Scouting, Adam Engroff National Scout, and Cody Rager West Coast Area Scout. All well deserved promotions. So it got me to thinking - Is Jeff Ireland’s contract extension up next?
I realize to many fans, I am jumping the gun. I also realize to some I am speaking pure blasphemy. However, it is the most logical step for Steve Ross and the organization. I only grade Ireland from when he actually took over the team, when Bill Parcells stepped away in September 2010. Before that he was GM in name only, did not have final say and had an imposing figure over top of him. He was saddled with a head coach in Tony Sparano that he did not want and a Parcells player blueprint that many feel cannot work in today’s NFL. Ireland took over a team that was moving in the wrong direction, but has gotten that ship turned around. The “FIreland” crowd loves to point to player mistakes or unfortunate comments, but there are plenty of positives on Ireland’s resume that warrant a contract extension.
The hiring of Joe Philbin as Head Coach. Philbin appears to be the right man for the job. Philbin was Ireland and Ross’s HC choice, a first for both of them. Philbin has quickly gained respect around the NFL, helping Ireland’s image and reputation. Though early, all signs point to Ryan Tannehill being the franchise quarterback the organization has sorely missed. Many of the “experts” called Tannehill a reach last year at #8 in the draft, and have since changed their tune. Ireland had an insane free agency period this year. The team got faster and younger and still has cap space. Miami was no longer a place that free agents shunned, it became the place to play – Ireland helped orchestrate that. On draft day, Ireland stole the third pick in the draft from the Oakland Raiders, and snatched Dion Jordan out of Chip Kelly’s and the Philadelphia Eagles hands. There have been earlier moves and non-moves that time have proven Ireland correct as well. Ireland’s first draft he selected Mike Pouncey. Pouncey should have been a Pro Bowler last year and has quickly become the best center in the AFC. Ireland did not panic and trade for Kyle Orton, nor was he willing to overpay for Matt Flynn. Both were originally labeled as Ireland failures by the media, however both “non” moves proved to be the correct moves.
Ireland is on a hot streak right now and that is no accident. He has had a direct hand in reshaping the Dolphins image. Yes there have been some growing pains, but that is to be expected in any job, GM is no exception. Ireland has the team moving in the right direction. The right Head Coach, a young franchise QB and an athletic team with stardom potential surrounding them. They have a good coaching staff and an experienced personnel department all locked up. The stadium issue is behind them. Why wait for the season? The season would need to be a total catastrophe for Ross to want to blow it all up and start over – and that’s what a new GM usually means. Ross should let the NFL know Ireland is his guy. The organization’s best move would be to get Ireland’s extension done next.
Carl C. Crowley