Jeff Ireland is gone and Dennis Hickey is in control. At least of free agency and the draft. At least as far as we all have been told. Reality could be a completely different thing. What we do know is that about a month ago Hickey was preparing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers off-season. Now he is running his own. The work that Hickey put in throughout last year with Tampa will now be Miami’s gain…or loss. The work that Jeff Ireland put into last season will still be in Miami’s favor because the scouts have not changed.
The good news is that it gives the Dolphins two different perspectives on the players in free agency and especially the draft. How it will turn out for Miami will go a long way in making this team successful. How interactive or more importantly pro-active Hickey will be in free agency is a huge question. In recent years, Tampa has been pretty active acquiring top talent in the market but the results haven’t been good for the Buc’s. If Hickey is more or less like his own boss, we will find out soon enough.
The Dolphins have glaring needs along the offensive line where no one outside of Mike Pouncey is set to return from the starting unit. That means the Dolphins need to find two starting tackles and two starting guards. Can’t get all of that in free agency and you can’t get all of that in the draft. You have to get them in both. The top names thus far are Brandon Albert of KC and Eugene Monroe of Baltimore but either one could potentially stay where they are at.
This off-season is going to define Dennis Hickey. If he can put the right talent on the field the Dolphins should win. If he can’t or Joe Philbin can’t coach them, both maybe replaced after the 2014 season. There are a lot of rumors spinning around about Jim Harbaugh leaving San Francisco. No worries though, Stephen Ross has said he will not make a repeat mistake. For now, the hopes of Miami fans and the Dolphins rest on the shoulders of a new GM, an empowered Dawn Aponte, and a head coach who has taken a fair share of publicity hits this off-season. Hickey could change that perception in the next few months. Joe Philbin will have 2014 to change it permanently.