As the Dolphins continue to try and fail to attract players to South Florida, more and more attention is being placed on G.M. Jeff Ireland as the reason for the current state of the roster.
On Monday, NFL Network’s Warren Sapp and guest analyst Joey Porter threw some more jet fuel onto the fire on the TV operation owned by the Dolphins and the 31 other NFL teams.
“Jeff Ireland has a big part to do with it,” Porter said. “I don’t think when you come in and you’re being recruited by him you really believe the things that are coming out of his mouth. He’s just a guy that is not trustworthy. He really doesn’t hold up to what a G.M. is supposed to be. You think that he has the right tools to lead that franchise in the right direction but obviously nobody is buying into it.”
“Ever since he made that comment to Dez Bryant about his mother,” Sapp said, “we’ve always questioned [Ireland]; like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me?’ [Asking that question] doesn’t happen in football environments.”
“When you look at a guy that hasn’t even been a G.M. for a long time and here he is asking this type of question to [Dez Bryant] who is looking to be a top-five, top-ten pick, and this is the question you are going to ask me about my mom in front of everybody?” Porter said. “Who wants to go up there and play for a guy that thinks like that?”
While lingering disdain for Ireland based on a pre-draft interview with Dez Bryant from two years ago may be a factor, the problems in Miami originate a level higher in the organization. Owner Stephen Ross, in an effort to legitimize his ownership, continues to create a sense of desperation when pursuing coaches like Jim Harbaugh and Jeff Fisher, and quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn. Going 0-4 creates the perception, right or wrong, that anyone with options won’t opt to join the team.
As to the most recent swing-and-a-miss, the Dolphins reportedly decided to aggressively pursue Flynn after Peyton passed. And yet they made Flynn a low-ball offer.
If a team is going to let it be known that it wants a given player, the team needs to then do anything in its power to get the player. And if the Dolphins knew that the Seahawks were offering more for Flynn, the Dolphins shouldn’t have brought him to town unless they were prepared to match or beat it.
And if they didn’t know what the Seahawks were offering Flynn, they should have found out.
Under Ross, the Dolphins seem like a team with no overriding plan. No strategy for managing fan expectations via well-timed media leaks. And zero self-awareness.
There’s a strong P.R. component to everything an NFL team does. Ross seems to still have no appreciation for or understanding of that basic reality.
Now, as the brand plunges to perhaps an all-time low, Ross will be even more desperate to make a big splash, whether by acquiring Tim Tebow or reaching for Ryan Tannehill with the No. 8 pick in the draft.
Ross needs to play it cool for a change, and quit trying so hard to cure the franchise’s problems in one fell swoop. With every unsuccessful attempt to do so, the team keeps sinking even deeper.