The Miami Dolphins supposedly are close to hiring a new General Manager. Lake Dawson of the Tennessee Titans and Dennis Hickey of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers both had second interviews on Saturday and both have a lot of questions surrounding their qualifications. Then there is the current Assistant GM of the Dolphins Brian Gaine. Gaine is probably far more qualified than both the other “finalists” but would he be the right choice?
Of all the candidates Stephen Ross has interviewed during this process, Gaine is probably the most qualified candidate or at least as qualified as anyone else. He knows the intricacies of the job having been in the system since Bill Parcells was here. He knows the players, the coaches, the staff, the executives, Stephen Ross, and Dawn Aponte. He also has his name associated with Jeff Ireland because that is who he learned from.
There is no question that Gaine is not Ireland. Ireland made all final personnel decisions and the involvement of Gaine in those decisions can not be known. Externally Gaine is extremely well respected. He is business and has a solid relationship within the scouting community. Something that Ireland could not obtain. Gaine also brings some continuity to this years team. He is familiar with the system and player types of Joe Philbin and understands better than anyone the executive structure of the entire front office system.
All indication should point to Gaine as the logical and smart candidate. Some fans and some media will not look at that in such a light.
It’s hard to summarily dismiss Gaine as being part of the mess and turmoil of the last five years. Gaine was promoted to Asst. GM in 2012 and his history dates back to the “Trifecta’s” days in Dallas. In other words he came over with Parcells, Ireland, and Sparano. That shouldn’t be a deterrent for the Miami Dolphins.
The biggest issue many in the media who love poking at the Miami Dolphins with a very large stick is the fact that this decision could have been made weeks ago. The Dolphins easily could have come out and said that Gaine was taking over the job at the outset or they could have done some due diligence with a few other candidates and then said that Gaine was their guy. Instead they have interviewed almost ten different candidates, been turned down by several, and now the hiring of Gaine would seem like a fallback option that wasn’t really what the team wanted.
Making matters appear even worse will be the Stephen Ross announcement that will say “We had Brian at the top of our list the entire time and he really was our top candidate”. It’s inevitable. It will leave a sour taste in the mouths of fans who want to see significant change in their football team.
Personally, I would love to see Gaine get the opportunity to be the GM. From what I have heard about him internally and by those I know externally, Gaine is a guy who can help change over the image of this team. Bring some respect back to the organization. He can’t do it on his own but he is a good place to start. In addition, he already understands the politics at play within the triangle of Ross - Philbin – Aponte and as such will also know and when to manipulate as needed.
In addition, I believe that Gaine is ready to take the next step even if the GM position turns out to be what some call a “GM light” job. Last year the NY Jets interviewed Gaine for their vacant GM spot if the Dolphins pass on Gaine this year he won’t likely be around next. Which brings me to one of the larger picture reasons to promote Gaine now. You can fire him.
It’s not ideal by any means but if the Dolphins implode next season Stephen Ross will need to gut the team from top to bottom and at that point Joe Philbin will be gone as will Dawn Aponte and he can make a clean break with Gaine as well. With that power structure out of the Miami scene, Ross would have a far easier time convincing the top candidates that they would have in fact full and total control. On the other side of that coin, if the team and the structure work and Miami improves significantly then the Dolphins made the right decision and Ross will at least appear to have made a solid choice.
Brian Gaine is a win/win for Ross and he desperately needs something to go his way. Hiring an outside GM and then having the team implode in 2014 will force Ross to make yet another decision on his system and that could prove to be the straw that breaks his back.