Who can Miami Dolphin fans blame now?
After six long years Stephen Ross and general manager Jeff Ireland “mutually agreed” to part ways. In short, the man that drafted Pat White, Patrick Turner, Clyde Gates, Daniel Thomas, traded Brandon Marshall, and let Jake Long and Reggie Bush walk in free agency is gone!
Yes, he also found Cameron Wake, Brian Hartline, Mike Pouncey, Davone Bess, Brandon Fields, and Reshad Jones (amongst others), but the verdict had already been decided amongst Dolphin fans, Ireland had to go.
So he’s gone and Offensive Coordinator Mike Sherman is now gone too, so what’s next? Who do we blame now when the offense can’t move the ball or when the receivers and quarterback Ryan Tannehill fail to connect on the deep ball? Who do we concentrate or frustration and disappointment on when the offensive line lets up a league-leading (and franchise record) 58 sacks in a season?
As much as we may have hated Ireland or detested Sherman’s play calling they were the scapegoats for everything the Dolphins did wrong this season. So what now?
Regardless who Miami hires as the new offensive coordinator and general manager, the two will have a year (at least) to get acclimated. Especially, if the new coordinator implements a difference system that head coach Joe Philbin is comfortable with. From there it will be expected that Tannehill will (continue) to have growing pains as he adapts to a new offensive scheme.
So does this mean the Dolphins are starting over? If it is, Ross and Philbin will do everything in their power to make the fan base see otherwise and that still leaves fans with a conundrum: who to blame.
If Miami does “start” over with a new scheme is Ross to blame for not just cleaning house and finding a new head coach and defensive coordinator? Typically general managers like to be apart of the process of picking a new coach, but Ross is using the 2013 New York Jets blueprint and keeping the coach.
What happens if the Dolphins don’t start over, but instead fail to fight of mediocrity? This isn’t a team that went 4-12 last year. There are pieces in place, perhaps enough pieces (minus the offensive line), that a good GM and offensive coordinator can turn things around after just one draft. If not is Philbin to blame?
It’s hard to blame Philbin if the offense sputters again. He had success in Green Bay and he isn’t calling the plays. Last season, the play calling was often the problem, but it was also a strength when Miami played up to its competition and beat the New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, and San Diego Chargers (to name a few). That being said, the play calling wasn’t the only problem.
During the last two games of the season, the Dolphins looked thoroughly out-hearted. They didn’t have the intensity they held the first time they played the New York Jets or even when they beat a lowly Cleveland Brown team to kick-off the season.
A lack-of-heart can be attributed to the head coach. Do these guys not like playing for Philbin? Or did all of Miami’s flaws catch up to them? It’s hard to tell when judgment is clouded by the overwhelming annoyance of the play calling, patchwork offensive line, and questionable draft picks.
Another season and Philbin’s place in the organization will become clearer and he’ll either emerge as the newest scapegoat in a long line of excuses or he’ll become the hero that picked up the pieces of a lost season and FINALLY turned the organization around.