Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins' Poor Play Lies More With Coaching, Less With GM


I  want to first state that I am by no means saying Miami should not bring in a new general manager and that Jeff Ireland’s dismissal from the team would harm the organization.  That may certainly be the best move for the team at this point, and I do not have the knowledge to make that decision, nor am I saying it is not the right decision for the team to make.  I am also not saying that Jeff Ireland has not made mistakes in the past (*insert Dez Bryant reference here*) or that the GM has not had his fair share of bad decisions, including bad draft picks.  I am not saying that there is no one to blame for the Miami Dolphins  seemingly hopeless season and their pitiful play on the field . What I am saying is that the majority of the fans’ metaphorical “Jeff Ireland middle fingers” (yes, this is a reference to when he flipped off that fan) should not be pointed at the GM himself, but rather that the current anemic state of this team rests on the shoulders of Miami’s coaching staff.

First, let me try to relieve some of the tension fans with Ireland.  Yes, I know that he has screwed up before and that some of these problems are in fact a result of the GM’s decisions.  I am not denying that we should not be upset with some of the changes he has implemented.  First, I think he paid WAY too much for our free agents this year, and interestingly enough it was one of Miami’s least paid offseason findings that has been the most productive, cornerback Brent Grimes.  However, this brings me to my next point regarding Ireland: the man has found some absolute gems.  Currently on the Dolphins’ roster,  products of Ireland (whether through the draft or FA) include but are not limited to CB Brent Grimes, TE Charles Clay, RB Lamar Miller, S Chris Clemons, QB Ryan Tannehill, WR Brian Hartline, S Reshad Jones, DE Cameron Wake (from CFL), DT Jared Odrick, C Mike Pouncey.  Try to picture this team without these players.  It completely changes everything, and this team could easily be 0-9 instead of 4-5 without these players.  Reshad Jones and Cameron Wake are arguably the two best members of the Dolphins’ defense, and Mike Pouncey and Brian Hartline have been the most consistent forces on offense.  The point I am trying to get across is regardless of how many times Ireland has screwed up, he has made some GREAT decisions that have contributed to the successes of this organization.  Therefore, I don’t think the majority of the blame and upset should be placed with him.

To me, the recent poor play of the Dolphins is because of poor coaching.  I agree completely with Brian Miller’s (also of PhinPhanatic)  reference to the inconsistency of this team as its biggest crutch at this point.  And I agree that consistency is something must be coached.  Even though Miami has lost two starting offensive linemen, WR Brandon Gibson and TE Dustin Keller (both also Ireland additions), this team still has an enormous amount of talent on both sides of the ball.  The Dolphins certainly have more talent than the Bills, Ravens, Buccaneers and arguably even the Patriots.  Yet week in and week out, they have lost games either by blowing leads or making poor decisions, or both.  Mike Sherman has consistently killed promising drives in the fourth quarter, often shying away from the run when it is dominating opposing defenses, or as we saw against the Bucs, sticking with the same run plays even when they  were not working.  He has yet to use the tools Ireland has give him properly, which is I think is partly why Mike Wallace has struggled.  Sherman seemingly has been fine with settling for a field goal, when a touchdown would have put the game on ice.  As for Joe Philbin, he doesn’t appear to trust his players, evident by his hesitation to challenge plays or challenge the refs after what has felt like hundreds of bad calls.  While I like his “no nonsense” philosophy and coaching style,  I can’t help but wonder if the man has any fire or passion inside of him.  I am not asking for a legendary Tony Sparano fist pump after a 32 yard field goal, but lighting some sort of fire inside of his players may be the quality Philbin is missing most.

Regardless of where you think the finger of blame should be pointed for this Miami Dolphins team, consider the positives of this team thus far.  They have shown flashes of brilliance, defeating one of the league’s best: the Indianapolis Colts.  They have shown that they can play great football with the talent they have, talent that is by no means worthy of a 4-5 record thanks to many great finds and pickups by our GM Jeff Ireland.  The point I am trying to make is that Miami has the players, they just don’t have a consistent game plan or identity.  They are being led by an offensive coordinator who shies away from the game plan that dominates, a head coach who seemingly lacks the ability to motivate his players to finish a game, and a defensive coordinator who seems appalled at the idea of putting in his best players on the field at the same time in the most crucial defensive situations.

The Dolphins need a new coaching staff.  I am unsure whether or not they need a new General Manager, but I think the first solution is finding a coaching staff that can perform and win with the present talent and roster.

Where do you think the blame resides within this organization?  Feel free to comment and share your thoughts and as always,

keep your FINS UP!

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Tags: Jeff Ireland Miami Dolphins

  • Chad Ronnebaum

    I don’t disagree that Ireland had some good pickups however he has multiple occasions of proving to bad very at PR. Dez Bryant, He told a fan off, Sage on Twitter. He is not just a scout he is responsible for the Dolphins as an organization. I would say think about it this way. If you had to pick one of the following to watch your kids for night, who would you feel the most competent, reliable, and trustworthy? In my opinion the person that is your number one choice is the person you want responsible for your whole organization.
    Joe Philbin
    Jeff Ireland
    John Martin
    Richie Incognito

    • Eric Roddy

      I agree, but I am mostly referring to Miami’s struggles on the field, not their issues off with Incognito and Martin! However of those 4, I would choose Philbin and or Ireland. Ireland because he has some fight in him and obviously loves this Miami team or he would not go to bat for them as much as he has! Philbin because of his calm nature and love of responsibility and no-nonsene! Thanks for reading!

    • txmedic5

      I have no problem with the Dez Bryant comment as it was a perfect set up. Probably would have gone there as well or at the very least had a outward laugh after he said it. Regardless Bryant is an absolute douche’ bag. As for the fan…probably not a good idea but honestly, I don’t blame him. he is walking away from the owners box during a game and has a fan come and ridicule him in front of other people? He didn’t say it to his face but under his breath as he walked away…I wish he would have said it to his face….:)

      • Eric Roddy

        Same thinking on my end too Brian. I am disappointed that a lot of the fans are blaming Ireland for Philbin and Sherman mistakes. Your article involving the inconsistency is not only wise but exactly how I feel too! Fins up

  • tpl

    I think there is enough blame to spread around. Ireland has done some good things. But I don’t like the drafting of Dion Jordan. Miami would have been better off using that 2nd round pick on a player. And the jury is still out on tannehill, though maybe if he had time to throw, he’d be a better QB. I think Sherman has to go. I am hoping Philbin’s problems with challenging bad calls are just growing pains. But it does appear the man doesn’t have a passion for football. As to Wallace, I would play Matthews with Hartline. Let Wallace play the slot, and with the demotion, maybe he’ll start catching some passes. I would also play Dallas Thomas at RT. Could he be any worse than clabo? Same with Watkins. Try him at guard. If we’re gonna lose, might as well play the rookies. Same goes for CBs davis and taylor, play them!

    • Eric Roddy

      well said tpl, I could not agree more at this point. i would maybe hold off on davis and Taylor because our secondary has actually done well! Nvm, come to think of it, get rid of Carroll and give the youngsters a chance!

  • gofins60

    I’ve never liked Sherman; he should have been replaced after last season. I was neutral on Philbin, but now I feel that he needs to go too. In 14 games so far this year (including preseason), this team has looked totally unprepared at the start of the game. It usually takes the offense until 10-25 minutes into the game before they get anything going. In the second half, the opponents normally have the advantage because the coaching staff is terrible at making adjustments to counter what the opponent is doing. They do, however, make adjustments just for the sake of making them; such as going away from the running game when it was clearly working.

    Philbin and Sherman have a system, and that plan is set in stone. They have not shown the ability to adjust to the flow of the game, or to adapt their system to take advantage of the players’ strengths or the opponents’ weaknesses. They run their system with no regard to what is actually happening on the field.

    I’m not sure about keeping or firing Ireland. This team does have some talent, but he has made a lot of questionable decisions in the draft and free agency. I am 100% positive that the entire coaching staff needs to be replaced. Some may not agree, but I liked watching the 1-15 team better than this team. That team had less talent, but they were competitive in at least 14 of those games.

    • Eric Roddy

      agreed. Not sure on Ireland either. I would be tempted to give him another shot with a big name coach who actually knows how to well…. coach. I like Gruden but there is no way he’d coach this team and I really like Brian Bilick and bill cowher. On the college level, I wouldn’t mind seeing them bring in someone like Auburn’s HC. Regardless, Sherman really really needs to be fired and soon.

  • Ed Thruston

    I think the team has worked on the defensive side of the ball bringing in talent but the offense is what scores you points and wins games for you. We need to gets some rushers on this team like we did when we had Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, And we need to work on the offensive line!!!!

    • Eric Roddy

      Ed, I really miss Ronnie and Ricky. Lamar Miller is a good mix between the two, and can really run. The offensive line needs ALOT of work. Thanks for reading man

  • Don Devine

    Eric Roddy misses the point by a mile. Its not an “either/or” situation in Miami. While I wholeheartedly agree that the coaching has been far less than adequate, Jeff Ireland’s conduct and execution of his responsibilities has been far less than that and more than equally to blame for this overall situation. From commenting on Dez Bryant’s mother, to saying Martin should punch Incognito, to the release of upper tier talent on both sides of the line, to drafting kickers (no offense Caleb) and other draft feaux pax, it is beyond me why this man still has a job. I believe the team could do better for itself by obtaining someone else.

    • Eric Roddy

      If you look at the title Don, it says Miami’s “Poor Play” is on the coaching staff and not ireland. I was not referring to any of the off the field issues, especially with Martin-Incognito. And where are you getting your evidence from regarding Ireland saying Martin should punch Incognito? and what upper tier of talent are you referring from? Thanks for reading and commenting!

      • Don Devine

        Eric, why write an article then take issue with every comment given? I wasnt referring to the off field garbage either and I believe most people can easily glean that from the text of my comment. I’m thinking if you don’t see Reggie Bush, Brandon Marshall and Karlos Dansby as top tier talent then maybe you shouldn’t be writing on the Dolphins. If you truly believe Jeff Ireland is not and has not effecting the Dolphins negatively both through the performance of his job and with his personality, then I think you should rethink your career choice. If you want to write insight analysis of facts and events you have to develop a critical mind and a thick skin. Now before you get all “up in arms” about my saying that I want you to know that I do say that with no malice whatsoever. Its just my opinion.

        • Don Devine

          Oh and the reference to Ireland saying Martin should punch Incognito was carried in most major media this past week, to include the football pregame shows on CBS.I know it was initially reported that he said it before Martin walked out then later recanted that it was after. Still, he said it and to my knowledge hasnt denied saying it.

  • DevilInPgh

    But who chose the head coach? You can’t let Ireland be blameless on that, but that’s exactly what a bunch of Ireland defenders are trying to do.

    • Eric Roddy

      Stephen Ross had a HUGE decision in hiring Joe Philbin, as he did in courting Jeff FIsher. Thanks for reading and commenting