Dolphins’ dysfunction could undermine G.M. search

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As the Dolphins continue to struggle to become competitive, they continue to struggle with internal dysfunction.  Which could make the search for a new G.M. a struggle, too.

Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald outlines some of the circumstances creating a potentially challenging atmosphere for a new General Manager.

Per Salguero, former G.M. Jeff Ireland complained about the coaches during the final two games of the season.  Per Salguero, V.P. of football administration Dawn Aponte heard the complaints — and she shared them with coach Joe Philbin.

That created understandable tension between G.M. and coach, which often happens when the G.M. and coach operate on different levels of accountability.  In those situations, the human instinct of self-preservation takes over.  The General Manager will say that the team has talent that isn’t being utilized; the coach will say he’s doing as much as he can with the talent he’s been given.  Throw in a third person who funnels the information between the two, and the stage is set for a mess.

With owner Stephen Ross opting once again for half measures, the mess will continue.  A new G.M. will inevitably want his own coach.  A new G.M. will have concerns about whether Aponte is aligned with the coach against the G.M.

Inevitably, the best available candidate for the G.M. position won’t want the job, because the best available candidate will be smart enough to steer clear of a churning, toxic stew.

Instead of a cycle that consists of firing the coach one year and then firing the G.M. two years later and then firing the coach two years after that and so on, Ross at some point needs to press the reset button, fire everybody, start over, and stick with whatever alignment he puts in place for more than two or three years.

That doesn’t mean Philbin or Aponte should be fired per se.  It means that, if Ross wants to fire anyone right now, he should have fired everyone — and then he should have given his next structure time to work.The post-Ireland structure will struggle, because the new G.M. will have an agenda that consists of eventually hiring the coach the new G.M. would have hired in the first place.
Regardless of what Ross does from this point forward, he should make it clear to the coach and the G.M. that they have shared accountability.  If one fails, they both do.  Which will ensure that, in times of stress, they won’t try to save their jobs by pointing fingers at each other, but by working together to find a way to win enough football games to keep everyone employed.

50 responses to “Dolphins’ dysfunction could undermine G.M. search

  1. Clearly the owner doesn’t care about winning as evidenced by his decision to pay his pro bowl left guard to sit home during the home stretch of the season. Maybe if they had gotten better line play during that stretch they would be in the playoffs.

  2. Yeah… but…. with all available salary cap…. agents will make a deals with somebody in the Dolphins building.

    The Dolphins are moving up.

  3. Which is the complete opposite of what many are saying, including Daniel Jeremiah, who has more ties to front offices than Mr.Salguero.

  4. Meh… It all rolls down hill. Sooner or later the owner needs to step up and lead too. Lead by example, make your intentions known and let em roll.

  5. Jim Irsay just tweeted this: “Ur such a beautiful fish,floppin on the summer sand…lookin 4 the wave u missed…when another 1 was close at hand…ur such a stupid girl.”

    So, yeah. Sorry – carry on.

  6. I’ll always be the first to rip Ross and every decision he makes, but I don’t think this situation is that bad.

    The first call the Dolphins make to a prospective GM’s agent will outline the parameters of the job: 1) Do I get final word on personnel and 2) will I get to decide the fate of the head coach (even though I may be stuck with him for one year).

    If the answer to both of those questions is yes, then it’s a good gig. The Dolphins have salary cap space to fix the offensive line, find an actual running back and upgrade the linebackers. An actual talent evaluator can do that in a couple of years and the owner (while a dope) is not afraid to spend money.

    With the current situation there, I think finding a top shelf offensive coordinator is going to be more difficult than finding a quality GM.

  7. As much as it pains me to defend the Dolphins, how many “functional” teams are in the market for a GM? If a team is searching for a new GM, something has already gone horribly, horribly wrong.

  8. The phins have a respected head coach, young talented roster and a great cap situation. Great perspective florio. This place loses credibility every time you make blind, bias articles like this.

  9. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but if Joe Philbin and the rest of the coaching staff do their jobs as well as Ireland has done his than the Dolphins would be in the playoffs and they would have also had a good shot at winning the AFC East.

    If you read Armando’s article, Jeff Ireland is 100% right when talking about Philbin and Mike Sherman. Ireland is the scapegoat here. Really, it should have been Philbin getting fired.

    But instead Ireland is gone and the new Dolphins GM will only get the job if he retains Philbin. This team is a joke and will always be one until Stephen Ross sells the team. One step forward and two steps back… Rinse and repeat.

  10. Ross has deep pockets and Money talks. Miami was one game away from the playoffs they lost half of the O line in the Martin scandal and beat 3 of the AFC Div winners this year.

  11. Word is Tom Gamble is the lead guy to be GM, he is now on the Eagles staff and a hand in last years draft which consisted of Lane Johnson, Zack Ertz, Bennie Logan, Earl Wolff, all starters of big contributors, before that he was part of the team that assembled the 49ers team you see today, if they get this guy you can throw all that dysfunction talk out the window.

  12. There’s 31 teams that aren’t going to win the SB this year. And many of them are going to retain the GM that was responsible for their losing. Some of those teams didn’t even come remotely close. If there’s any team that didn’t win that does have hope for the future, it’s a team like Miami or Tampa that have been most aggressive about cutting out the bad leaders to make room for new leaders who can bring football greatness to them. These teams in Florida aren’t messing around and they seem to want to win more than anybody right now. Everybody else is complacent and repeating the same mistakes. But these two teams want to do things differently. They are in great shape now to heal and improve and I applaud them for TRYING.

  13. Tannehill is gonna be TOP 5 when Miami gets an offensive line that allows him not to be violated 5 times per game.

  14. Yes this new brain trust in the making or triad could spell trouble but that’s why they hold interviews. Moreover I believe that Ross does not want to give personnel power to only one person.

  15. What this narrative (thanks Salguero) is missing is that the catalyst for the apparent dysfunction has been *fired*. If Ireland doesn’t run his mouth about the coaching to other people, there is no dysfunction. Similarly, if Ireland doesn’t complain about Philbin’s coordinators while having no authority to fire them, there is no issue.

    Philbin is gone now… why are things dysfunctional for the next GM? Because the employees communicate with each other?

  16. cajunaise says:

    Jim Irsay just tweeted this: “Ur such a beautiful fish,floppin on the summer sand…lookin 4 the wave u missed…when another 1 was close at hand…ur such a stupid girl.”


    But Dolphins are mammals dammit !

  17. Everyone has been complaining the play calling is bad.Ireland points that out to the head coach before the last 2 games. Coach gets an earful from parcells chick friend Aponte and what Ireland said appears to be true. Whats left to do now. Ross again.

  18. I’m not sure. Are these Salguero’s words or Florio’s. I’m thinking the latter. Whomever it is, is a moron and needs to get their facts straight.

  19. It’s crazy how everyone in South Florida ignores Armando Salguero, yet the national guys listen to him just because he works for the Miami Herald.


  20. Face it , it is fashionable to beat up opn the Dolphins, this site included. The dolphins go 8-8 and fire OC and GM, the jets go 8-8 and the lockeroom erupts in cheers as the coach doesn’t get fired or anyone else. Rex takes Eric Manginis team to the playoffs in the first two years and than remakes it in his own image and they have fallen flat on their face, yet they keep him, and they say the Dolphins are dysfunctional. But you wont get that article here.

  21. NO IT WON’T!!!!

    Apparently Dave Caldwell and John Idzik turned down the jobs they took.

    Get an ex-Packer personnel guy and call it a day!!!

  22. Again, we have to play the game of “consider the source”.

    In Washington, where I work and spend alot of my time, if Sally Jenkins wrote something, you knew it came directly from Mike Shanahan’s camp. If Jason Reid writes something, you know it came directly from RGIII’s camp.

    I don’t live in Miami, but you link to enough Salguero pieces which I read to make it fairly obvious that he is a mouthpiece for Ireland, and this sounds like Ireland’s parting shots at the organization.

  23. If I were Ross, the first question I would ask any potential GM candidate during an interview is whether they think asking a potential draft pick if his mother is a prostitute is a good idea.

  24. I heard that Pioli was rumored for this job and I thought it was a horrible idea… until I read this article. With this level of disfunction in the organization, he would fit in perfectly to keep the chaos rolling.

  25. The problem was always Ireland. 6 years of poor drafting & spending millions on free agent busts is where the problem lies. While he kept bringing in the wrong players, he would deflect blame on the coaches. Look what he did to Sporano. Ireland was sneaky & nobody liked or trusted him, therefore causing dysfunction. A real, professional GM will communicate with Philbin & work with him.

  26. Some of you “not in the know” should maybe read the Miami Herald article and get the words form the horses mouth. Mando has been right most of the time and it fits with whats going on know,,,,its a mess. Who in their right mind would want a GM job with these morons. Philbin is not a respected coach,,,he’s just starting and can’t seem to get out of his own way and has to have alliances with the Blonde who also works for Ross.

  27. Mike Tannenbaum has been thrown as a potential candidate. While he did deserve to get canned by the Jets for two terrible moves (Tebow trade, Sanchez extension) his overall body of work with the Jets wasn’t all that bad. He drafted some good players like Revis, D. Harris and Mo Wilkerson. Might be willing to accept less power for a chance to call himself an NFL GM again.

  28. If you want to be seen as a no non sense owner then and fire the gm then you need to fire everyone including Aponte. Bringing in a new GM and not allowoing him to bring in his own people ties his hands and gives him a built in excuse for when it all goes bad again. Lets you also see who wants it the most…the hungriest candidates will show up knowing its on them and also tell the players its a new day and time to put out or be cut.

  29. I would think Aponte should be applauded for talking to Philbin. If Ireland has a problem with the coaching, he should be the one going to the coach, not talking about it behind his back.

    Do we all realize now that this is the same game he played with Sparano? The team needs to bring in a GM who will find the best player available FOR THE COACH’S SYSTEM, not BPA based on some outmoded profile of what an NFL player looks like. This is how we ended up with Michael Egnew instead of T.Y. Hilton.

    And what’s with all the sexism and vitriol towards Dawn Aponte? I can’t figure out what she did to anger the fan base so much. She’s a great numbers person, which comes in handy in free agency. Ask the Jets if they would like some more cap space…

  30. Ross is a lot like Woody Allen.

    He looks goofy and has no clue how to run an NFL organization.

    The downside is, he’s not funny at all. Edge Woody Allen.

  31. I argue that if Ross sets clear guidelines for communication hierarchy, job responsibility & the like that it won’t be a toxic stew or whatever you said.

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