With the Senior Bowl day 1 in the books the Miami Dolphins have yet to find themselves a replacement for the departed Jeff Ireland. The norm for most franchises in the NFL is to have someone there and available to begin forming connections with prospective draftees. Granted, in todays NFL video is readily available to everyone and assessments can be made but at the same time character is not something that can be filmed while running plays and sprinting from end zone to end zone, neither is chemistry assessment.
So far the Dolphins have put together their short list of General Managers they would like to have a look at and some have already interviewed for the position. The striking and most worrisome part of the process so far is that some potential candidates have literally asked to be removed from the list. Tom Gamble, a successful NFL talent evaluator from the Philadelphia Eagles just plain refused. Now when a top talent like him asks to be taken off the short-list one has to wonder what is going on at the Dolphins front office. According to Armando Salguero of the Miami herald, Gamble doesn’t feel the structure of the Miami Dolphins executive offices makes for a solid foundation and points to the fact that he will not have control of who the coach of the team is. Granted, it is a typical position for a new GM that he want to be able to surround himself with his own handpicked talent from the coaching staff to the players, but he wasn’t even asking for this year. He was offering to have the staff stay on as is through the year and see how it all works out before making a final decision.
The issue here lies with the head of the organization and that is Stephen Ross. Owning a professional football team in Miami is a $1.1 Billion business and it should not be treated as a hobby. Ross has seen fit to declare himself an absentee owner and is reportedly spending time in London before a trip to China on other business. He has instilled a three tier system where Dawn Aponte is the Miami Dolphins’ executive vice president of football administration and reports to him, and where Head Coach Joe Philbin also reports directly to him and then who ever the GM is also reports to him. The problem here is that you have Philbin and Aponte both with the same failed philosophy overriding any GM they hire, so why would anyone want to be on a short list?
The fact is that Dolphins fans have been fed a line every year that the team is ready, the team is going to make it this year, and yet the result has been utter failure. Finishing 8-8 with the expectations set before the season started is equivalent to finishing last in the league without the advantage of a high draft pick. The middle of the season began with a circus atmosphere with the Incognito and Martin fiasco, a disastrous finish the last two games and now the show continues weeks after the season ended with no GM in sight. Don’t even get me started on the latest with Devon Bess either. Stephen Ross needs to begin to take the Miami Dolphins as seriously as the fans do and take care of business because a fan, much like a customer, will not frequent a business that deceives them year in and year out.