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Jeff Ireland doesn’t think it was a mistake to take Jake Long over Matt Ryan

Former Dolphins V.P. of football operations Bill Parcells recently conceded to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald that the team “maybe” should have taken quarterback Matt Ryan instead of tackle Jake Long with the first pick in the 2008 draft.

Current Dolphins G.M. Jeff Ireland disagrees.  And he said so earlier today on ProFootballTalk Live.

Of course, it’s not as if Ireland is in a position to be candid.  Since he still works for the team, he has to be sensitive to the potential impact of such a comment upon Long.

The full interview with Ireland, and a separate interview with Bills G.M. Buddy Nix, can be seen at the PFT Live home page, or downloaded in podcast form via iTunes.

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59 Responses to “Jeff Ireland doesn’t think it was a mistake to take Jake Long over Matt Ryan”
  1. chc4 says: Apr 21, 2011 7:46 PM

    Hmmm, Jake Long is a good but not great LT. Ryan is a very good but not yet great QB. And the Dolphins have bad QBs. Yeah, I think Parcells is right.

  2. dwight123 says: Apr 21, 2011 7:50 PM

    Im a Dolphins Fan,and honestly I don’t hold anything towards Jeff or the big tuna,it wasn’t guaranteed that Matt Ryan would be the QB he is today.Jake thanks for being such a great LT!

  3. nyjalleffingday says: Apr 21, 2011 7:58 PM

    …because the Dolphins front office has no idea what they’re doing.

  4. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Apr 21, 2011 8:12 PM

    He’s in a tough spot. He doesn’t want to throw one player under the bus while praising the guy he didn’t take. But he also looks like an idiot for not seeing (so he’s either a liar or an idiot, neither is good) the better choice in hindsight.

  5. bfridley says: Apr 21, 2011 8:14 PM

    It’s as simple as this… Ireland is still in Miami, and Parcells isn’t. End of story.

  6. canetic says: Apr 21, 2011 8:17 PM

    A solid left tackle is not a bad thing. They could have picked up any number of free agent QB’s and are too lazy/cheap to make that move.

  7. northeastern31 says: Apr 21, 2011 8:18 PM

    ” Jake, we are going to draft you first because we need you to protect a no-name , mediocre qb , named Chad Henne.”


    When they could have said this:
    ” Ryan, youre our guy! We are going to do the best we can to pick a good tackle for you next round.”

  8. skins359 says: Apr 21, 2011 8:18 PM

    I’ll have what he’s having.

  9. point947 says: Apr 21, 2011 8:28 PM

    3 Pro Bowls in 3 Seasons. I said thats about as close to great as you can get from a LT. Matt Ryan could have easily turned into the next David Carr without any protection, and the Miami O-Line in 2007 was horrid.

    When you take over a situation like Parcells and Ireland did in Miami its crucial you build from the inside-out. Just as any knowledgeable football person.

  10. firstroyal says: Apr 21, 2011 8:32 PM

    He shouldn’t, regardless of the fact that qbs win championships, there are far fewer great LTs than there are qb’s. Long is a multi-year probowler and with the stats pointing to Ryan being most responsible for Atlantas INTs (line holding up longer than 3 seconds) I can see exactly why he does not regret taking long.

  11. lifetimeskinsfan739 says: Apr 21, 2011 8:38 PM

    The jets really knock it out of the park with their high draft picks though…

  12. FinFan68 says: Apr 21, 2011 8:39 PM

    Long is a top 3 tackle and will likely stay that way. Is Ryan a top 5 QB? Not yet.

  13. liltifer says: Apr 21, 2011 8:43 PM

    “Hmmm, Jake Long is a good but not great LT.”

    What? When it’s all said and done, he’ll be considered one of the greats.

  14. hobartbaker says: Apr 21, 2011 8:56 PM

    Just to be on the safe side, they went Long.

  15. bigtrav425 says: Apr 21, 2011 9:02 PM

    While not great you cannot pass up a good LT.Its what you need to protect your QB…If Matty Ice was drafted my the ‘fins there would be no promise he would be what he is w/o a Offensive line

  16. p4ck3r5 says: Apr 21, 2011 9:12 PM

    Not a mistake but he sure wished he had Matt Ryan

  17. skoobyfl says: Apr 21, 2011 9:17 PM


  18. kelvinmchale says: Apr 21, 2011 9:18 PM

    Thank God the Dolphins have Jake Long to protect that parade of awful quarterbacks in Miami! It’s like Buffalo South down there.

  19. philyeagles5 says: Apr 21, 2011 9:21 PM

    a quarterback is nothing without a good line. i agree with Ireland. LT is one of the most important positions in football.

  20. jc1958cool says: Apr 21, 2011 9:26 PM

    guess it doesn’t matter without a league! yea no team no league idiots!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. doob187 says: Apr 21, 2011 9:31 PM

    Actually “chc4” Jake Long is a great LT but that’s not the point. The point is Jeff Ireland is a joke. Miami’s front office is full of people who don’t seem to know their ass from a hole in the ground, but I still love the team.

  22. beefsbrother says: Apr 21, 2011 9:42 PM

    You are better off just not saying anything rather than lying. Now looks like an imbecile.

  23. j0esixpack says: Apr 21, 2011 9:43 PM

    Parcells was talking in hindsight.

    The choice at the time was one of low risk or high risk.

    The Fins took the low risk choice and got a quality tackle – not the best LT in the game to be sure – but a decent tackle.

    I’d side with Ireland on this one. If you had to do it all over again – not knowing what you know today, as no one could, I’d probably do just what they did.

  24. Canyonero says: Apr 21, 2011 9:53 PM

    Getting a top lineman is always a good thing.

    Who’s to say Matt Ryan would have been as successful in Miami anyway? It’s been the Bermuda Triangle for quarterbacks since Marino retired.

  25. dogluverssuck says: Apr 21, 2011 9:55 PM

    Lets see…………….

    Long 3 seasons……. 3 pro bowls.

    Ryan 3 seasons……. 0 pro bowls.

    Ryan 3 seasons……. 0 playoff wins.

    Falcons haven’t won a playoff game since Vick was there.

    I think Miami made the right choice.

  26. phintasm says: Apr 21, 2011 9:56 PM


    Please think before you type. Jake Long was part of the same draft as Vernon Gholston. Which front office did a better job there? Hmmmmm.

  27. jetswin says: Apr 21, 2011 9:58 PM

    What else would you expect him to say. By the way has he found a sucker to take the coaching job

  28. profootballwalk says: Apr 21, 2011 10:00 PM

    Sometimes, when your boss is looking over your shoulder, you have to say incredibly stupid things to keep your job.

  29. burntorangehorn says: Apr 21, 2011 10:02 PM

    Let’s not pretend Ryan was a slam-dunk success waiting to happen at QB. The guy simply wasn’t as safe of a pick as Long, and Long was an excellent prospect.

  30. phintasm says: Apr 21, 2011 10:08 PM

    Matt Ryan would’ve gotten killed if he was drafted by Miami. Their O-Line was terrible before Long was drafted.

    Ryan fell into a perfect situation in ATL. He walked in and immediately had a strong running game, and a great WR. He simply wouldn’t have had that type of success in Miami.

    And, by the way, Jake Long was easily the best LT in the league last year before he got injured in Week 11.

  31. txchief says: Apr 21, 2011 10:09 PM

    As a Chiefs fan, I’d trade Brandon Albert, Thomas Jones and Tyson Jackson for the Fin’s first round pick and Jake Long.

  32. snowpea84 says: Apr 21, 2011 10:14 PM

    Who’s to say how Ryan would be doing now if the Dolphins roster had gone in that direction. It takes more than one guy to have success.

  33. duanethomas says: Apr 21, 2011 10:33 PM

    Doesn’t matter, Carl Peterson will be the G.M. next year.

  34. huskersrock1 says: Apr 21, 2011 10:36 PM

    Jake Long is just fine. How many playoff games has Matty choke won again?

  35. rolltide510 says: Apr 21, 2011 10:41 PM

    Matt Ryan got to be plugged into a much better offense in Atlanta then he would have in Miami. Atlanta had back to back first round receivers waiting for the day they’d get a QB who could hit the broad side of a barn.

  36. henrypuppyhead says: Apr 21, 2011 10:42 PM

    Parcells is suffering from Ron Wolf disease. At least Wolf readily admitted the football business end had passed him by.

    Parcells would have draft Matt Ryan and he would have become the Alex Smith.

    You have to build the trenches before you try to build a explosive offense or defense.

  37. klock77 says: Apr 21, 2011 10:58 PM

    I am so tired of hearing about this…. Hindsight is 20/20… obviously a great QB is more valuable than any position on the field ,but how in can you fault anyone for drafting a pro bowl stud LT? So anytime you don’t pick a franchise QB your draft was failure? Just stop, Jake Long is a stud at a VERY important position .

  38. rcunningham says: Apr 21, 2011 10:58 PM

    dogluverssuck says: Apr 21, 2011 9:55 PM

    Lets see…………….

    Long 3 seasons……. 3 pro bowls.

    Ryan 3 seasons……. 0 pro bowls.

    Ryan 3 seasons……. 0 playoff wins.

    Falcons haven’t won a playoff game since Vick was there.

    I think Miami made the right choice.

    Ryan made the Pro Bowl this year.

  39. stealthjunk says: Apr 21, 2011 11:03 PM

    I think even Jake Long would pick Matt Ryan in hindsight. What’s the big deal with saying it?

  40. nyjalleffingday says: Apr 21, 2011 11:18 PM


    Au contraire good sir, check the records, who drafts better?

    First round selections by Miami since 05:
    Ronnie Brown (Average)
    Jason Allen (BUST)
    Ted Ginn Jr. (BUST)
    Jake Long (Pro-Bowler)
    Vontae Davis (Above Average)
    Jared Odrick (1 tackle in 2010, broke foot)

    First Round selections by Jets since 05:
    D’Brickshaw Ferguson (Pro-Bowler)
    Nick Mangold (Pro-Bowler)
    Darrelle Revis (Pro-Bowler)
    Vernon Gholston (BUST)
    Dustin Keller (Average)
    Mark Sanchez (Average)
    Kyle Wilson (too early to tell)

    Who’s record would you rather have in the draft? There’s a reason the NYJ win games and see playoff action and the Dolphins go 7-9 every year.

  41. jjrs89 says: Apr 21, 2011 11:24 PM

    Go Titans!

  42. speedel says: Apr 22, 2011 12:18 AM

    how many playoff games has Jake Long won?

    Atlanta’s Oline in 2007 was equally as bad as Miami’s. Miami had a better defense and their running backs dominated 2008 also.

    Atlanta had one better receiver, if you think that jenkins is a good WR, you dont watch football. Atlanta had no TE and didnt use them in the passing game in 2008 at all.

    again? how many playoff games has jake long won?

  43. cappa662 says: Apr 22, 2011 12:32 AM

    Matt Ryan is so overrated. Take Roddy White away and Matt Ryan is Joe Flacco.

  44. shaggytoodle says: Apr 22, 2011 12:41 AM

    If the Dolphins took Ryan first overall consder the contract that they would have had to fork over to him, just think about the contracts handed out to the other QBs taken first over the past handful of drafts.

    They signed Long for less than the first overall pick the previous season and I think that was one of thier goals.

  45. henrypuppyhead says: Apr 22, 2011 12:43 AM

    rcunningham says: Apr 21, 2011 10:58 PM

    Ryan made the Pro Bowl this year.


    Only two more to go. They better build a fortress around Matty Melt. I smell David Carr in his future.

  46. scoob766 says: Apr 22, 2011 1:10 AM

    Who cares when is the last time the Dolphins actually had a chance to win anything (the playoff run a season ago doesn’t count they weren’t winning anything)?

  47. CKL says: Apr 22, 2011 1:16 AM

    Hmm let me see… elite player at his position (Long) on a team with a shocking lack of draft picks from past years still on their roster meaning they NEEDED a sure thing to build their team with or a QB who didn’t have a very good final year in college and still isn’t close to elite at his position (Ryan)? TOUGH CHOICE…not.

  48. skleech22 says: Apr 22, 2011 1:27 AM

    I just think this is such BS!!! Matt Ryan had just as many red flags on him 3 years ago like all the QB’s coming out this year!! Matt Ryan was not the next Peyton Manning coming out that year,and if you say he was in hindsight, you’re just a Jet fan! Jake Long was the surefire SAFE pick that year like Patrick Peterson is this year. Long played the last 4 games of the season with a dislocated shoulder and still dominated! This discussion is ridiculous!

  49. 305phinphan says: Apr 22, 2011 1:56 AM

    Of coarse the right decision was Long over Matt Ryan. If Matt Ryan had Dan Henning as his offensive coordinator he would probably be considered a bust right now.

    Dan Henning really screwed up Henne and I can only imagine that he would have done the same exact thing to Matt if the Dolphins would have drafted him.

  50. ronmexico4life says: Apr 22, 2011 2:18 AM

    When you have the number 1 pick, its so easy to pick someone who is average/bust. dolphins picked a franchise left tackle….doesnt come every draft. ryan plays in same league as rodgers and brees so i dont expect too many pro bowls. Henne is an average qb at best…might take you to a wc game but aint gonna lead you to prime time. nothing against him (besides his gay tribal band tatoo) but Miami needs a new qb. you have brandon marshall for fu%k sake!

  51. ronmexico4life says: Apr 22, 2011 2:19 AM

    most dominant receiver in a while……..paging Mr. Mallett

  52. chc4 says: Apr 22, 2011 7:40 AM

    Long is great? I’ve seen John Abraham and other speed rushers run around, over and thru Long for numerous sacks. Maybe he’s a great run blocker. Don’t watch Miami enough to know. But he’s not a great pass protector. And knowing what we know now about both players and Miami’s QB situation, there’s no way Ireland wouldn’t take Ryan regardless of what he says publicly. Of course hindsights 20/20.

  53. ruggerlad says: Apr 22, 2011 8:55 AM

    Jake Long has allowed very few sacks in 3 seasons. Has he allowed sacks yes what OT has never allowed a sack? He was also playing injured for much of last season. Has Matt Ryan ever thrown a pick? fumbled? missed an open WR? been sacked cuz he held onto the ball to long? Of course! Dumb comment. Jake Long 3 seasons and 3 pro bowls and is imo the best OT in the game. The only LT who anyone could make a case for being better is Joe Thomas who is the best pass blocker and a top 1o run blocker compared to Jake Long the best run blocking OT and a top 5 pass blocker. Ryan Clady could be considered in this conversation but I think he is on the next tier after Long and Thomas.
    Sacks allowed stats below
    Jake Long
    ……………2008-2.5, 09-5, 10-6
    Joe Thomas
    2007 4.25, 08-4.5, 09-6 , 10-4.5
    Ryan Clady
    ……………2008-0.5, 09-8, 10-7
    The Dolphins abandoned the run and passed a lot last season and he was injured yet only allowed 6 sacks all year. Too many people knock Jake Longs pass blocking but it is still elite – top 5 in the NFL to go with his elite run blocking abilities.
    Matt Ryan not even a top 7 QB.

  54. hnirobert3 says: Apr 22, 2011 8:59 AM


    Considering you admitted you don’t watch many Dolphins games (can’t blame you), I think your opinion of Long is off the small sample size of the games you’ve seen. I remember the Abraham/Long game from 2009. Abraham was a 10 year vet and Long was playing in his first game of his 2nd season. A 10 year veteran pass rusher should be able to get around a 2nd year LT.

    The only game I can remember Long getting dominated throughout was the Bears game from last year. He was going against Julius Peppers… with one arm.

  55. orangecisco says: Apr 22, 2011 10:20 AM

    Not for nothing but “Matty Ice” with a very good Atlanta team has been horrid in the playoffs…

  56. orangecisco says: Apr 22, 2011 10:23 AM

    Oh and Speedel, how many playoff games has Matty Ice won? loooolll

  57. axespray says: Apr 22, 2011 12:22 PM

    So there’s an ALL PRO Left Tackle or a QB that has accuracy issues, needs a big run the football and hide behind a giant o-line and check it down offense to cover up his unexperiance and weaknesses….
    considering the dolphins got the great left tackle and a qb that’s basically a diet pepsi version of joe flacco and matt ryan, i’d say they did the best they could.

  58. byrmcph says: Apr 22, 2011 2:35 PM

    Matt Ryan is the most overhyped overrated player in the NFL.

  59. dieharddolfan6493 says: Apr 23, 2011 10:08 AM

    If we were to pass up on Ryan im glad it was for long. Jake does his job better then Matt does his so we bailed out. But im not going to lie i wanted Ryan and i was upset when i found out we were going to draft Long but he turned out to be a great O-linemen. Hopefully the Dolphins will fix their QB problem soon so we can get some more action in the AFC east

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