Owner Stephen Ross address Dolphins issues
Written by : Armando Salguero Miami Herald
The Dolphins have spent over $240 million in new contract commitments (not counting rookies) and over $100 million of that is guaranteed money in preparation for the 2013 season.
So what does the man footing that bill expect in return from his team? What does he expect on the field? How does he define success for the Dolphins this year?
“We all know the games are played in September, October, November and December and that defines it,” said Dolphins owner Stephen Ross on his first visit to training camp. “I mean, I think you make moves to really bring back the winning tradition to Florida. You can’t make moves and not want to and hope to make the playoffs and see where we go from there. But you want to see progress and that’s the most important thing.
Yes, that is kind of vague. Does he success mean success is having to make the playoffs or not?
“We certainly want to make the playoffs,” Ross said. “That was all done with that in mind. But I want to see growth in the team, and building the foundation for this season and future seasons as well. I don’t want to be a one-shot wonder.”
He wants the organization to the best in class in the NFL. And Ross gave endorsements of the heads of the organization — the general manager, coach and quarterback — as the right people for getting the job done
“I’m committed to him,” Ross said. “I think he’s doing a great job and I’m committed to Jeff Ireland.”
Despite that commitment, Ireland is in the final year of his contract.
“Look what we’re doing in the offseason,” Ross said. “Who we brought in there. In pro football it starts and you need to have a great quarterback. We believe and hope we selected the quarterback. He understands his position, his role. He’s doing everything he can. I love the guy. I think he’s the right person to lead the way. But you have to make the right moves as well. You have to plan. You have to be consistent. You have to follow a plan. I think that’s what we’re doing. We said that last year, I think you can see the changes.
“I think we’re [headed] in the right direction. You can see the makings of the team. This coach is different. This organization I think is committed. The moves we made in the offseason show that. We didn’t try to sign players who had already reached their potential and were just a name. We had a plan and we’re following a plan to really create that winning tradition here.”
Early this camp, the Dolphins were tight lipped about the so-called “Free Hernandez” hat controversy. That happened when center Mike Pouncey wore the hat calling for the freedom of accused murderer Aaron Hernandez during a party on South Beach. Philbin refused to discuss the issue and actually prevented Pouncey from doing so as well, although the player wanted to apologize. He wasn’t allowed to do that.
Despite this, Ross defended the organization’s attempt at transparency, which he instituted following the departure of Bill Parcells. And he defended Philbin’s approach.
“Obviously, I don’t condone it. At the same time I think the way team handled it was a matter that the coach and Mike Pouncey and I have total faith in the coach and how they handled the situation. It was done and you know the way we care about the way people act in the community and how they behave and what it means to the Miami Dolphins.
“I have total faith in Joe Philbin, the way he handles things as a person, what he expects of people and I’m not going to second-guess Joe Philbin.”
Ross said the Dolphins search for a new CEO is approaching a critical moment. He said he hopes to narrow the field to four candidates in the next week and pick a CEO by September.
That person must have some sports experience but won’t have any say on the football side of the organization. Ross said he’ll continue to be the final word on the football side of the franchise. That new CEO will be charged with improvig ticket sales, particularly on a season-ticket basis, because those have been lagging so far.
Is Ross worried about the relative lukewarm response from the ticket-buying public after spending all that money this offseason?
“Miami has a reputation. It’s a tough sports town,” Ross said. “You have to win. You can do all those things but they’re looking to see if you’re winning. You have to start first. First, we’ll be winning then I know we’ll get the proper response from there.”
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