It’s hard to compare apples and oranges and it’s even harder to compare what one coach would do with another coaches team. Unless of course you were former Houston Oilers HC Bum Phillips talking about Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula. (If you don’t know Phillips quote…oh the shame.) While it truly is impossible to know how one decision could impact a team or their philosophy it’s interesting sometimes to look at how one decision can impact an organization. If even only as a hypothetical question.
Two off-season ago Steven Ross was made out to look like a fool in the national media and I will be the first to say that embarrassment started with Armando Salguero’s constant whining and belittling secondary to the Helicopter wine and dine. It started a roller coaster that painted the Dolphins into a horrible light. Shortly thereafter Peyton Manning jilted the Phins and it got worse. Knowing that Joe Philbin was not Ross’ first choice made the decision to hire the coach more questionable. It was said by many a fan and many in the media that Ross couldn’t close the deal.
What if he had?
Jeff Fisher would be the name on the door. Most fans would be thrilled with Fisher being Miami’s head coach. Would the Dolphins still have the same success they are having this year? Maybe but if they were, it would be with a lot of different faces. Consider that Fisher wanted full control of all personnel decisions. How would that look in Miami today?
For starters, Jake Long would be the LT and there is a good possibility that Jonathan Martin wouldn’t even be a Miami Dolphin. Right move? Jake Long has given up more pressures and has looked nothing like his former self in St. Louis. On Thursday Long exited the game against San Francisco with a knee injury and could miss time. WHEW!
With the 8th pick in round 1 would Fisher have taken QB Ryan Tannehill? Hard to say. He wasn’t rated that high on most boards and his familiarity with OC Mike Sherman was really an insight Miami had given the coaching dynamics. Those coaches wouldn’t have been in Miami. It’s possible that Fisher may have opted to trade down and draft Brandon Weeden who he was reportedly interested to some degree. On another note however, Fisher was also rumored to be considering both Collin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson. Would that have been his direction?
The Dolphins would not have Jeff Ireland as he would have been out. That means the team would NOT have likely had 45 million to spend this year as that was really Ireland’s three year project. So no Mike Wallace, Brent Grimes, or most of the other free agents like Ellerbe and Wheeler.
It’s entirely possible that Miami’s could have been working off a far stricter budget with Fisher given the fact that he is trying to recreate the Rams in his image. Case in point, the Dolphins would have likely been the top landing spot for TE Jared Cook who signed with the Rams over Miami because of his history with Fisher.
Again, there is no way to say that Fisher would have made Miami worse. Or for that matter better. What we do know is that the egg that was thrown in Stephen Ross’ direction after missing on Fisher seems to have been one that was hard boiled. So far there is no yolk on his face from this so called “mistake”. For those of us who didn’t want Fisher the comparable records this year are making the case for Ross not “winning” the name coach easier to make. We will never fully compare the two coaches with their respective teams for another few years if not more.
The two will be compared side-by-side from last year and into the future but only as a reminder that not every move that is missed is a bad thing. Not every player that Miami chooses not to sign is a mistake.
The Miami Dolphins are 3-0 and St. Louis is 1-3. It means nothing other than the fact that Miami fans are smiling right now. And maybe Stephen Ross got the better end of being played.