I didn’t really want to do any type of post surrounding what’s happening with the Miami Dolphins right now (base summary), because it’s pretty tied up in bigger issues about athletics, masculinity, the media, how people spin stories, etc .. and since the truth isn’t really 100 percent out there yet, it’s kind of worthless to speculate broadly (although people still will).
Having said that, I’m now going to speculate broadly on something — it’s entirely based on reports at the present time, so I could be utterly wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time, and it won’t be the last. Jeff Ireland, the GM of the Dolphins, does not seem like a good person. Let’s first put aside the job performance aspect, since often in sports discussions, “character” gets tied back to that. Ireland hasn’t been a great GM. In 2008, his first year, the team was 11-5, won the AFC East, and got blown out in the wild card game to the Ravens. In the four full seasons since, they’ve never been above .500 and never been to the playoffs. This year, they started 3-0. They’re 1-4 since. In this time span, he’s courted Peyton Manning, Alex Smith (the teams they QB are a combined 17-1 right now), Jeff Fisher, and Jim Harbaugh. He whiffed on all those, and among them you have the two best teams in the AFC, and the prohibitive NFC favorite — along with a former Super Bowl-reaching coach. Stephen Ross, the Dolphins’ owner, is a big fan of Ireland, it would appear.
Thing is, good talent evaluators can be bad GMs, and elite QBs and coaches can decide to play in other places aside from south Florida. That happens. But Ireland has a series of incidents to his credit (demerit) now: the Dez Bryant situation (which he did apologize for), profanity-bombing fans, and now this ‘punch Richie Incognito’ report, which might open the team up for lawsuits. Long-time journeyman QB Sage Rosenfels called him ‘the worst GM of his career’ earlier this week, and that wasn’t based on on-field stuff; it was based on how he handled Rosenfels’ situation. The calls for resignation are out there now, just like the ‘Fire Jeff Ireland’ banner was last year.
The end of days may be near for Ireland, and even Screamin’ Stephen is calling for his head. It is a shame because Joe Philbin seems like a decent guy, and one who deserved the chance he worked for to become a head coach; if there’s going to be a fall guy in this situation, it should be Ireland — Philbin should get another two years to right the on-field product (this is all IMHO; this isn’t to say Philbin has handled every aspect of this situation ideally).
This was, for a long time, one of the prouder teams in the NFL. They have the only undefeated season ever, Dan Marino is universally well-liked (well, mostly) despite never grabbing a ring, and they were once a glorious franchise. That’s fallen down these days, and you have to think it starts with the character. The free agency plan would make a lot more sense if it was rooted in good people and good decision-making, no?
Like I said above, most of this is report-based; some of it could be incorrect or out of context. It does seem like it might be time for Ireland to move back in the line, though — back down to a base talent evaluation level where he can work on some of his people skills and leadership, as opposed to simply worrying about putting the best product on-field (he can worry about that too). Not sure any of this is going to happen soon, but the Dolphins need some type of change; this is a bigger issue than simply four downs and 10 yards.