Sep 15, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross on the sidelines prior to the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins’ Ross Not Prepared For This


Now before you start clapping your hands and thinking that I’m going to be bashing Miami Dolphins Stephen Ross here take a deep breath and relax.  The reality is Stephen Ross wasn’t prepared to have to answer questions about the future of his coaching staff.

Two weeks ago the Miami Dolphins pulled off an improbable defeat of the New England Patriots.  Fan support was through the roof and Miami was catching that playoff fever.  The GM who had been chastised most of his career suddenly was having positive light shined in face as though the clouds parted and the golden finger of the sun itself anointed him the Dolphins savior.  Talent was evident and even new practice squad additions like Sam Brenner and Michael Thomas were play makers.

Ross was at an all time high.  Gone were the memories of Harbaugh-gate, no more orange carpet nightmares, Club Live?  Who cares.  The Dolphins were winning, the Dolphins were in.  They controlled their own destiny and everything was exactly as it was suppose to be.  Two games left against inferior opponents.  What could go wrong?

Well, everything.

Imagine yourself in his shoes.  Atop the cloud of enthusiasm one week with benevolent NFL owner Bob Kraft in the owners box down the hall steaming in the Florida heat and a Patriots loss.  Tom Brady complaining and swearing in his post game presser.  Hey a tick or there and Miami could actually win the division.  The loss to Buffalo was a bad game and Ross did exactly what any other owner would do, he chalked it up to a bad game in bad weather.  His team no longer in control of their destiny surely would find a way to storm back at home riding a 3-1 December record against a team they beat in December 20-9.

The wheels fell off and now a day removed from one of the worst defeats in the franchise history if not by score by stake the Dolphins owner suddenly finds himself not vindicated but marred and cursed once again.

The media is asking the tough question and fans want action.  They want heads to roll and they want it now.  I see Ross standing on the floor of the Greek Coliseum like Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator, trying to hush the coliseum crowd wanting a thumbs up or down.  That is where Ross is today.  Agonizing on what will be a team defining decision.

Across the NFL landscape today six teams have cut ties with their coaches.  Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Detroit, Minnesota, Washington, and of course Houston a few weeks ago.  Joe Philbin has no idea what is coming his way if anything.  Nor does Jeff Ireland, Kevin Coyle, or Mike Sherman.  Changes are coming.

Fans want the quick and easy answer but again, Ross wasn’t ready to consider the fact he may have to fire his staff.   Will firing them mean another rebuild or a simple makeover?  Who and where does he turn for an answer?  Consider that the teams that have fired their coaches have all retained their GM’s except in Tampa.

If Ross does in fact fire Ireland the replacement GM may not want to keep a coach and his staff who have been uninspiring.  So even if Ireland goes and Philbin stays for now there is no safety net attached to the coach.  Conversely doing nothing means you accept mediocrity and you will be hard pressed to sell tickets to a fan base who is irate.  Time won’t simply heal those minds and come season ticket sale season, they will not return.   On the other hand, firing everyone starts you over from scratch.  Do you give the job to a HC/GM like a Jon Gruden?  Do you go the route of Bill Polian and let him hire his own HC?

No matter what we think or what we want the truth is Ross has been digesting this for less than 24 hours and rightfully so.  He had a playoff team who not only collapsed but simply didn’t show up.  He goes from a postseason birth and real progress to a one game difference over the last five years.  Meaning no progress for his investment.

The cries for action will continue to reverberate in the forums and websites and the media and it will make its way into the halls of the Dolphins training facility and the corridors of Ross’ New York office building.  Those cries will not likely be met with course action but instead a tactful approach that processes the events of the entire season with emphasis on the final two weeks.  A decision will be made but likely not until Ross has time to absorb the colossal collapse of his team.  And then figures out why…and that I am afraid is the smartest approach this owner can take.

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Tags: Miami Dolphins Steven Ross

  • Jcartwright67

    Time and tide wait for no man! Ross didn’t achieve his wealth by being shocked by outcomes. He’s heavily invested in a product that is not producing. The people closest and most responsible to manage his investment are not producing a good return. He will change that or expect similar results. I think Ireland is on notice this is his last year without a playoff victory and Philbin is on notice too. The coordinators and some supporting position coaches will no doubt change in the next few days and weeks.

    • tpl

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Most likely Sherman and Turner will be gone. I am hoping miami promotes someone in house to offensive coordinator. Coyle might be fired as well.

  • Johnny

    CB Grimes and maybe DT Soliai (at the right price) are the only 2 worth resigning… and maybe CB Caroll, again at the right price…

  • Johnny

    Quick stat for peeps wanting Tannehill gone:::: Ryan Tannehill finish 9th of all QBs in Passing Yards (OVER 3900 YDS) (plus 24tds)… If that’s not improvement, I don’t know what is…Win the Super Bowl??? Be realistic.. This is the kids 2nd year with not a lot of college experience before that… He definitely improved.. And that was behind the worse OLine in the NFL!!! Get real!!!

    • gofins60

      I agree that Tannehill deserves another year with a better coaching staff, running game, and o-line. My two knocks on him are his lack of drive/passion and his inability to hit Wallace in stride deep. He needs to fix both of those problems, or else bye-bye.

    • Patrick

      This is the NFL we are talking about!! We need a proven passer that doesn’t need two-three years to develop. No time for improvements he needs to go. Of course he didn’t have a great offensive line but you can’t be learning on the job in the National Football League. Time to go!

  • gofins60

    What’s the problem? This is an easy decision… everyone must go!

  • Steven Yaniz

    I think we should go after Mike Shanahan. He’s a proven leader, QB evaluator and Superbowl Champion. Plus Mike doesn’t take crap from anybody, as he recently demonstrated when he benched RGIII for not being on the same page

    • tpl

      Irony think Ross will fire philbin and Ireland. Most likely both will be told they have to make the playoffs next year.

  • althotos

    As a 40+ year Miami Dolphins fan, I have endured way too much to watch this team implode in the past 2 weeks against vastly inferior opponents who had nothing to play for. I’ve been screaming for years on this site and other blogs to FIRE IRELAND. In the past 7 years, he has made so many bad choices with expensive free agents and draft busts. Remember Marshall, Bush, Henne and the rest that rotated in and out of Miami over the past 7 years? We finally have a franchise QB, but we have an underperforming, extremely expensive free agent wide receiver. Sound familiar? IRELAND must GO. Are you hearing me Stephen M. Ross? I know you’re not the moron owner I constantly make you out to be, but for God sake’s make a decision. Look to Jerry Jones, not for his alacrity or incisive decision-making, but for his ability to make a decision good or bad and to be deeply involved in his franchise. Look to the Kraft family or the Rooney family (don’t look to the Glazers). Look to the long-term viability of building a team around Ryan Tanneyhill, the first promising QB since the Marino era ended. Give Philbin another year and tell him he needs to do better than .500. Remember, .500 is very mediocre performance, which is why 6 coaches lost their jobs already. But, first and foremost FIRE IRELAND!!!!!

  • mikem

    Gruden would never take the job although if i was ross i’d offer him what ever he wanted he knows football from top to bottom plus hes reviewed all the rookies, knows just about every teams playbook but he wont take it.. would be EPIC though…. so we will have another fail next yr