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 GM Head Scratcher


No, the Miami Dolphins haven’t found a new GM yet but consider the search another NFL life lesson for owner Stephen Ross.  When you get excited that Dennis Hickey had a great interview, there might be a problem.  I’m not complaining about the process and since we don’t know the end result I’m not complaining about that either.  But Dennis Hickey?  Really?

Stephen Ross should step back and realize that his franchise is not as ideal as he would think.  It used to be.  It used to be the prime franchise but that is a “used to be” now.  The reality is that people can spin it any way they want to, myself included, and say that having the top four executives decline even an interview, sorry there is a problem.  An internal one.

Consider that Miami has a potential franchise QB.  A couple of Pro-Bowlers on each side of the ball.  A full load of draft picks and a salary cap that offers another off-season spending spree if a new GM so desires.  The franchise also has an owner who is willing to spend the money.  So what the hell is wrong?

When Baltimore Ravens Assistant GM Eric DeCosta declined to interview it was meant with a, “yeah figured that” mentality.  DeCosta is in line to be the next Ravens GM and has a lot of involvement with the Ravens.  He turned down three clubs last season and both Miami and Tampa this year.   I agree this is not a reflection on the franchise.

The Dolphins asked to interview Tom Gamble of the Eagles who was supposed to be (rumored as) the top choice of Stephen Ross.  Ross didn’t get a foot in the door.  Gamble moved from San Francisco to Philly to be closer to his father.  So, o.k. can understand that one as well.

Had Miami’s search for a GM ended there in terms of declination from candidates we might be good but they then asked to speak with Scot McLoughlin of the Seahawks.  He declined through the team saying that he was happy in Seattle.  In Seattle as a personnel guy not a GM.  Don’t want to live in Miami?  I can buy that, not wanting to leave an assistant position with no chance in sight of a promotion and turns down a “real” GM job…not buying that one.  Not completely anyways.

Of course the real stunner came in the form of George Paton of the Minnesota Vikings who declined to interview for the Dolphins.  Paton instead opted to stay with the Vikings and a new head coach and…working for GM Rick Spielman.  Yes, that same Rick Spielman.  Not to say I wanted Paton as the GM.  I don’t and didn’t but to be told no?  I hope it was only a matter of Paton realizing he had little to know chance of getting hired.

The Dolphins have interviewed Ray Farmer from Cleveland and while he may be close to ready for that role, he hasn’t done anything stellar with his career thus far.  He worked for a Chiefs team that wasn’t very good and a Browns team who just fired their one year head coach.  The Dolphins seem to be very high on Brian Xanders who held the GM job in Denver, had some decent player additions, lost his job when Elway came on board and took over the power, and last year was with the Lions.  By default, Xanders should be the top guy.

A few others like Lake Dawson interviewed but the notion that Dennis Hickey is now a possible top choice should make you cringe.  At least a little.  Consider this one issue with Hickey.  His career has been made in Tampa Bay where it is said he is highly respected.  Two teams this year have GM vacancies, Miami and Tampa.  Of those two Hickey has interviewed for one and hasn’t been asked to interview for the other.

That should say something.

The fact Tampa isn’t offering Hickey an interview after so many years with the team is the red flag that goes up for me.  It should be a red flag for Ross as well.  The entire process should be a flag for Ross.  Perhaps his best course of action should be to leave the structure in place as it is.  Let Dawn Aponte handle the cap, Brian Gaine and Joe Philbin handle the personnel and give them one year to prove it works.  If it doesn’t?  Fire them all next season and give a real GM a shot at being a real GM and remove any doubt a candidate might have to the contrary.

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Tags: Dennis Hickey Miami Dolphins Stephen Ross

  • Patrick Keegan

    What If we keep Gaine and Dawn and Joe on this so called one year make or break season? Wont they destroy our current decent cap situation. I can see them try to save their asses and sign , sign, sign. Free agency doesn’t win you anything , but they will try to fill every hole with PROVEN talent, cause you know they dont like to play rookies. This is a lose lose for us fans that are life long fin fans. BE SCARED, BE.VERY SCARED!!!!!!!

    • Emmett Buck Stiernagle

      It hasn’t been working cuz the teams that are spending in free agency are average to below average. I’m sure the Seahawks did some free agent spending and look at them. If you genuinely are a couple pieces away and u grab top free agents expect a positive

    • Miami Jules (Julian)

      I agree with you but I would hate for Gaines to become the escape goat… I actually like Gaines.

      • Patrick Keegan

        I actually like him to as a talent evaluator. From what I understand , he’s at the senior bowl practices this week. I dont care what people say, we have found some pretty darn good players in recent drafts. Or as Ireland would say ,”Acorns!”

  • Patrick Keegan

    Off Topic….. Next season , I would find 2 tackles in free agency, not necessarily big names, just decent and durable enough. 1st round I would draft best TE available for a nasty seam threat and red zone weapon, decent blocker also.Pair him with Clay and resign Keller on the cheap 1 year deal to mentor our #1 pick.

    2nd round go get either the best , biggest RB or Guard, just not David Yankee from Stanford,,,, no more linemen from that school for us please. RB would be best here. Trade back into the second for the guard not named Yankee.

    Try to keep the third round pick for a QB. Yes a QB. We need a cheaper backup to Tannehill. Who Knows what could prevail from that. If we traded our third to get back into the second RD, then 4th round QB

    • tpl

      Yeah, signing a tackle might be the best option. Draft TE Jace Amaro . He’s just as fast as ebron,
      and 15 pounds heavier. I’d also draft Oregon’s Colt Lyerla in the 7th round. He has a ton of physical skills if he gets out of the cocaine charge.

      • Patrick Keegan

        Yeah tackle is a need, but do you really expect a rookie right or left tackle to be reliable enough? Also, Philbin seems to not start rookies in games, maybe in a rotational role. I really think Free Agency is what they will do , then draft tackles to sit behind on the depth chart. I would Love Colt Lyerla , but again ,,,,, Philbin, Philbin, ,, Philbin. Wont go for a player with baggage. Playmakers in the draft and Blue Collar in Free Agency. TE, RB, QB, even a monster DT to create pressure

        • Emmett Buck Stiernagle

          Philbin don’t start rookies? Does tannehill or Martin ring a bell. When you have better players at the position wouldn’t it make sense to sit the any learn for a year like jordan or if they are injured and can’t play taylor. Or are developmental players like Davis. Philbin keeps players on the bench if they need to be there plain and simple

          • Patrick Keegan

            Well Tannehill wasn’t gonna start until the Garrard injury, but Martin did . You’re right on that one. But that didn’t work out that good in the end. This coming season is make or break for this coaching staff. They will plug in the players who they feel are best fit to run there sceme. Will a rookie coming in , especially on the o-line be fit and experienced enough to go against The Best Pass Rushers in the world. More than likely no.

            I understand Jordan behind Wake and Vernon on the depth chart, but we had an opportunity to play all three on the field at the same time and very rarely we did. Dudes gonna be a Beast in the future when he receives the reps.

            I Love the Fins and always will. I Just dont want to see a good Cap situation go to shit because a coaching staff and front office see this year as a succeed or else kinda year.

          • Chris

            I’m pretty sure in Miami, every year is “succeed or else.”

          • Emmett Buck Stiernagle

            Let’s hope they really nail this draft especially on the lineman

  • gofins60

    Ross is an idiot… he should have cleaned house completely. This is the second time in two years that he’s making the same mistake. Ireland should’ve been fired with Sparano, and now, Philbin should’ve been fired with Ireland. Ross forced Philbin on Ireland, and now he’s forcing Philbin and Aponte on a new GM. Philbin was a poor choice for Head Coach, and has done absolutely nothing to prove that he’s worthy of keeping the job yet Ross retains him. Mr. Billionaire made a mistake and is too stubborn to admit it, so now the Dolphins have to suffer for who knows how many more years.

  • tpl

    Miami should draft RB Jeremy Hill in the 3rd round. 6’1″ 235, and runs a 4.56 40.

  • J holobinko

    There is a reason no one wants to come here! The team isn’t any good! If they were people would come no matter what the circumstance! Your absolutely fooling yourself thinking tannehill is a franchise qb! Please stop it with that crap already! Tannehill doesn’t belong in the nfl!

    • Chris

      The team isn’t any good and Tannehill doesn’t belong in the NFL? What team do you root for?

      • J holobinko

        For the last 30 yrs I’ve been a Fins fan! The problem is you and a lot of other people think there is nothing wrong with this team! If you’re not winning you’re not good and a lot of losing has been going on here for many years now! Every year it’s the same excuse ” they just need a little tweaking”! B.s. Already! They aren’t any good and people need to hear it or changes will never be made to fix this mess!

  • TruFinzFan77

    A fan base with a need for instant gratification is what NFL fans have become which is in my opinion just as frustrating as seeing the dolphins ALMOST make the playoffs with a Coach, QB, OC in thier SECOND year. You are all so correct, this is unacceptable. Oh and lets fire a GM…for….?…ummm.. Of 32 teams, less than half get to the playoffs…absoutely absurd we werent one of them in the second year of a rebuild! How atrocious! Some of you should breathe a sigh of relief your employer doesnt hold you to the same standard. In a business striving to make millions we should wonder if maybe Ross wants to lose, because he already has money, and doesnt want the hassle of making more, what a pain that would be. Or maybe patience and time could work, have we been patient since Shula? Marino? Sure, but when the Dolphins start over…so does the clock…INCLUDING…the clock of expectations. Lighten up, and just try and enjoy watching the team play.