Sunday, January 26, 2014

Don’t Necessarily Believe the Media Meme

You will hear plenty about how the Miami Dolphins are a laughing stock, that there new GM Dennis Hickey was someone that no one else wanted or that nobody else was willing to take the job.  It is a constant drum beat from the local media that in turn is repeated by the national media. Before you go screaming about nobody knew Dennis Hickey, take a look at this article from Albert Beer of the NFL network from 2 years ago (January 4, 2012) entitled Opportunities present themselves forhot GM candidates.  Some of  the names on the list  were Nick Caserio, Eric DeCosta, Brian Gaine, Tom Gamble and Dennis Hickey.  Ring some bells? You know who was not on the list? Lake Dawson and Ray Farmer. And what did Breer have to say about Hickey 2 years ago:

“Dennis Hickey, Buccaneers director of player personnel: Promoted this year after serving for six years as the team's college scouting director, Hickey played a big part in turning Tampa Bay's roster over, from an aging group under Jon Gruden to its current state as the league's youngest team. Even though the Bucs are struggling now, there's still a strong base to build around.”

 And since that article the Bucaneers have acquired some talented players.  They drafted good players like running back Doug Martin and linebacker Lavonte David.  Signed free agent wide receiver Vincent Jackson and traded for corner back Darrelle Revis. 

 So before you start screaming about how inept the Fins are (swallowing the spoon fed media meme), remembered they interviewed several candidates, just like they said they would, they narrowed it down, just like they said they would. They got a guy that just 2 years ago was considered a “hot candidate” and seems to be a good evaluator of talent, exactly what owner Steve Ross said the Miami Dolphins were looking for.  I can’t say Hickey was my top choice, but I am willing to give him time to see what he can do.

Carl C. Crowley

The Fins Get Their Man!

Armando Salguero reports that the Dolphins have hired Tampa Bay director of player personnel Dennis Hickey to be Jeff Ireland's replacement as GM! Here's a guy that has been with the Tampa Bay organization for 18 years but wasn't offered an interview with the Bucs for their own vacant GM job. Sounds like Ross went with the cream of the crop here! Or maybe last resort because...ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Tennessee's Lake Dawson was offered the job but turned it down.

It makes you wonder what the Dolphins really think about Brian Gaine since Hickey is like their 6th or 7th choice.

Another Candidate Says Thanks But No Thanks

The Dolphins reportedly offered their highly uncoveted GM position to New England Patriots’ director of player personnel Nick Caserio, who decided to stay at his lesser position with the Patriots. That makes four men, by my count that were at lesser positions that said thanks, but no thanks. One, Jason Licht, decided the GM job in Tampa Bay was a better choice.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wanted: GM

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that Cleveland Browns assistant GM Ray Farmer, who was considered to be the front runner for the Dolphins GM job has withdrawn from consideration. No reason has been given but I can only assume it may be because the position will be nothing more than a glorified scouting job. The new GM won't have the power to fire coaching staff and will have executive vice president Dawn Aponte looking over his shoulders.

I was hoping that Farmer would be the choice. But who wants the job under those conditions. Up set Aponte and she'll run and tell Ross, and Philbin is her pal, so don't up set him either. It's a joke. The way it SHOULD be is you hire a man to do the job. He is the boss. Everyone reports to him and he has final say on coaching and personnel. If Philbin isn't his man, see ya. If Ms Aponte has a problem with him, go work for the NFL.

La Canfora tweeted that Farmer was urged by John Wooten of the Fritz Pollard Alliance to take that second interview. If I were Ross, and I got Farmer back in for another interview, I would tell him that YOU are boss here. Everyone reports to you and you report to me. You have final say. I would like to give Philbin one more year, but if it doesn't work out, you will be free to make any changes you see fit. But we all know that will not happen.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

For Me Today is About, What If?

As a Dolphin fan, for me this Divisional Sunday is about “What if?”

Besides the fact that the divisional round is great football, I find myself mired in “what if’s”, starting with the 2011 NFL Draft.

What if the Miami Dolphins had selected Colin Kaepernick instead of Mike Pouncey? There’s no doubt Mike Pouncey is the best center in the game and has been one of Miami’s most consistent players. But centers don’t score points. A first round pick on a raw talent like Kaepernick, coming out of Nevada with that pistol offense, would have been a risk. But I remember watching highlights on him leading up to the draft and couldn’t help noticing how long his strides are while on the run and his cannon for an arm.

I was convinced at that point that Chad Henne wasn’t the answer at quarterback, having witnessed his inability to take the starting job from "past his prime" Pennington. 

So…what if Kaepernick became a Miami Dolphin as the 15th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft?

Well, you would have one of the most dynamic players in the NFL at the quarterback position and a superstar in the making. And you possibly still could have picked up Pouncey in the second round.

Kaepernick is arguably the same player that Cam Newton is without the National Championship or the immaturity. (Newton 2011 1st overall pick, Kaepernick selected in the 2nd round)

If Kaepernick is the QB, Stephen Ross doesn’t get dissed by Peyton Manning in favor of John Elway and the Denver Broncos the following year.

What if…

...the Dolphins drafted ILB NaVorro Bowman instead of Jared Oderick, or Koa Misi, or John Jerry? All three players were selected ahead of Bowman in the 2010 draft. Odrick has turned into a nice player but Bowman leads the 49ers with 120 solo tackles, has 5 sacks, and 2 interceptions this year. He also earned his third consecutive AP 1st Team All-Pro honors in 2013. (Odrick and Bowman both out of Penn State)

...Joe Philbin falls short of the playoffs next year? All indications are Philbin will remain has the Dolphins head coach. But with a new GM coming to town the leash on Philbin is short, and failure to make the playoffs in 2014 will most certainly cost him his job. By that time Mike Shula, the Panthers OC, will be ready to take over this team and bring some of that Shula “mojo” back to the franchise.

...the Dolphins would have won their last two games? The Dolphins beat three of the four remaining AFC Playoff teams in the regular season. They could have been a dangerous team. Instead we’re left with a fired GM, a coach fighting for his job, and a capologist possibly making personnel decisions. Such is the power of the “W”.

Source stats:

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Jeff Ireland has been FIRED!!

It has happened. Jeff Ireland and the Miami Dolphins have agreed to part ways. That is a nice way of saying Jeff was fired! Early Speculation according to ESPN and NFL Network is that Dawn Aponte will be named President of Football Operations and make herself as the GM or hand pick the next GM in Miami.

Monday, January 6, 2014

BREAKING: OC Sherman fired

As several news outlets have reported, The Miami Dolphins have removed Offensive Coordinator Mike Sherman of his duties.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Defending The Fins Brass

Just like Steven Ross wanted to wait and think about everything before making decisions, I wanted to wait a couple days before posting. I knew the first reaction from the fans would be to “clean house” and “start again.”  (Realize fan is short for fanatic.)  I understand being disappointed, again, but turning over your coaching staff and or your scouting department every 2 years is a recipe for disaster. And it is one that the Dolphins have continued since Don Shula retired. The NFL is pretty simple. A Coach and a General manager need a franchise QB, and then you build from there. That is what the Dolphins are doing. Good or bad, The QB, the coach and the GM are tied together.

Joe Philbin had a tough second season as a Head Coach. Nobody knows how the Martin / Incognito saga will turn out, but there is no training for that and he kept the team together. Not an easy task.  His 2-year record as Head Coach is 15-17. And 2 weeks ago, people were talking about him as Coach of the Year material. Philbin’s record compares favorably to other coaches that were hired in 2012. Jeff Fisher, the coach that many Dolfans wanted and the media claimed rejected the Fins, is 14-17-1 with the Rams. Fisher has also had three 1st round picks and four 2nd round picks during his tenure. (Why isn’t he on the hot seat?) Dennis Allen of the Oakland Raiders is 8-24 over those 2 seasons, and he has yet to be fired. Only Chuck Pagano of the Colts has a better record over those 2 seasons, 14-7. Now I could bore you with crazy facts like Seattle’s Pete Carroll was 14-18 after 2 seasons with the Seahawks, or how Ron Rivera was given a 3rd season coaching the Panthers after going 13-19 his first 2 seasons. Both coaches have now have first round bye’s in the playoffs, forget those facts. If you fire Philbin, then who is available that would “excite” the local media and fan base. Seahawks DC Dan Quinn? Recently fired Mike Shanahan? Josh McDaniel? Lovie Smith and Bill O’ Brien are already off the board. I can’t think of too many candidates that excite me. What about keeping Philbin but getting rid of General Manager Jeff Ireland?

I have a confession to make; I am a Jeff Ireland supporter.  I base this on believing that he took over as General Manager in September of 2010 when Bill Parcells stepped down. I think Ireland has done a decent job at assembling talent since then, either through the draft – Ryan Tannehill, Mike Pouncey, Charles Clay, Olivier Vernon, or through free agency - Mike Wallace, Brandon Gibson, and Brent Grimes. Just like all General Managers, not all of his moves have worked, but the team is young, has talent, is improving and still has a nice amount of cap space. And just like with Philbin, what name out there excites you as a probable GM? Scott Pioli? He was fired for failing to get a franchise QB or a good coach while at Kansas City.  His excuse was there were too many non-football distractions. Bill Polian? He is 71. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald floated the name Eric Mangini, does that excite anyone? Usually if you get rid of the GM, you get rid of the coach, and in a lot of cases you get rid of the quarterback. And I am not ready to do that.
Changes can and should be made. Offensive Mike Sherman should be let go on his play calling alone.
Offensive line coach Jim Turner should go as well.  However, the constant turnover at the top needs to stop. The Fins are moving in the right direction, albeit slower than any fan would like. I believe that bringing the wrecking ball to the upper brass now would do more harm than good.  I know it is not the popular with the fan base or the local media but I think you need to give Philbin & Ireland more time, at least one more season.

Carl C. Crowley