The rumors have been circulating that the Miami Dolphins are a hot mess. The media has been throwing punches at the Dolphins since before the season ended. It dates back a few years since Stephen Ross took over the team. Each blow leaves a significant mark on the franchises chin. The Dolphins will tell you they are not concerned about what the media says and they very well shouldn’t be. That doesn’t however mean that they are not listening.
Profootballtalk.com reported yesterday that the Dolphins reached out to them regarding the story Miami wasn’t prominent at the Senior Bowl this week. Assistant GM Brian Gaine is there as is some of the teams scouts they told PFT. They also said that HC Joe Philbin isn’t sitting on a beach but instead is finalizing his coaching contracts and working with his offensive coaches. It’s also necessary to point out that not all teams field a wide contingent of personnel to the weekly practices as all of those practices are filmed.
Still, the organization being what it is the lack of a presence is simply another PR nightmare the team has to address. If the Senior Bowl wasn’t enough of a distraction, word this morning lands another upper cut to the jaw of the teams management system.
Yesterday the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired Jason Licht of the Arizona Cardinals to be their GM. According to a report today, the Dolphins made a hurried push to get Licht to Miami once they heard the Buc’s were interested. This could be the hardest blow to a franchise that is being referred to as a three ring circus by many fans and many in the media.
If, and it’s a big IF, the Dolphins did in fact make a final push to land Licht what does that say about the other candidates they interviewed? What does it say about their interview process? What does it say about Stephen Ross who would, once again, fail to close a deal? It’s all rumor at the moment but it is also something you can’t summarily dismiss. With rumors circulating at the Senior Bowl, supposedly, saying that Miami’s dysfunction is steering GM candidates away, the Dolphins are not winning any battles in the PR theatre of operation. In fact they are losing.
Mark Ross of the NY Giants is the latest name to be associated with “steer clear of Miami” rhetoric. The Dolphins however have never to my knowledge officially reached out to Ross. Regardless, the push for Licht will likely leave a sour tasted in the mouths of two other GM candidates that were rumored to be at the top. Ray Farmer and Brian Xanders. If Licht was Miami’s top candidate then it says very little to their choices of the other candidates but more importantly speaks very clearly about a process that is flawed and decision makers who simply can’t make decisions.
I have a hard time believing that Stephen Ross runs any of his other businesses with such disarray. It boggles my mind to think that this business, his pride and joy, is such a management mess at the moment. The Dolphins have made not one decisive decision this off-season. Due diligence is the best way to move in any venture but there are times when you have to made tough immediate choices. The Dolphins have not made any in a long time.
Compounding the entire process is trust. There is a lack of trust within the organization as mid-season infighting led to a power struggle that shoved Jeff Ireland out of the door and left questions in his place as to who really was in charge. Then there is the shot to the teams jaw regarding the trade of Davone Bess, knowledge of his pre-existing problems, and the negative impact on “pulling one over on Cleveland” in the trade that sent him there. The last I checked teams did stuff like that all the time. Regardless, Miami is the face that everyone seems to be punching these days. I don’t even recall “Spygate” getting this much singular attention.
The perception of this organization is one of misguided leadership or lack of leadership at all. To top all of this off, the results of the David Wells Jonathan Martin investigation still looms ahead for the team. My own personal opinion is that Stephen Ross already knows most of what is going to come out of that report which is why he opted to keep Joe Philbin without the public knowing. Of course nothing that has been done in the five years since his arrival quantifies that feeling. Perhaps maybe I simply want to believe that the bleeding eventually has to stop.
From my seat, Ross is the right owner for this team. I genuinely like the man but I feel he relies on too many other people who either have a personal agenda or no vested interest at all. From that standpoint I see Ross making choices that he simply isn’t fully informed about. Ross is far too trusting. Pure and simple.
The hole in Miami’s organization is still a rather small one in terms of necessity to fill right now. There could still be candidates from either Seattle or Denver but it’s hard to simply dismiss the rumor that the team made a late push to hire Licht which simply doesn’t bode well for a franchise who lacks identity, lacks direction, and lacks clear leadership. Right or wrong, it’s something else the Dolphins didn’t need to deal with and it surely doesn’t impress the fans when the owner is flying to London and China while the team simply rolls on.