Ross To Ireland, “Plan For Long Term”


The Miami Dolphins may not be signing free agents to fill their roster in before the draft, which usually is a good indication on how the draft may or may not progress, but that doesn’t mean that while this lockout garbage and player revolt moves forward that they are not planning for the future.  Yesterday, it was reported that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has told Jeff Ireland not to go for the quick fix and instead, plan for the future.

Is this a vote of confidence in his GM and Tony Sparano, his head coach?

Common sense would say no, but reality may dictate otherwise.

Consider the contract extensions both received following Harbaugate.  3 years for both.  No one at the time really believed that a slide this coming season would keep Sparano employed (except me) and no one thought that a bad draft or FA period would really keep Jeff Ireland off the hot seat from a name like Cowher being mentioned next year (except me).  You can go back to the last broadcast of “On the Fin Side” to hear me argue just that.

The point is this, Ross is a business man and he needs his staff to know that he is confident in them.  So by telling Ireland to plan for the future, he is giving Ireland at least, that cushion to say, “You don’t need to buy old guys”.

The Dolphins have a bunch of needs right now and with no free agency on the horizon (unless the lockout is lifted on April 6th or shortly after) they can only plan on the draft, where they are short a 2nd round selection.  It’s very likely that they will need at least 2 new running backs, likely two guards/tackles, a speedy WR, a quarterback, TE, and a LB.  Not going to fill your roster in 7 rounds.  Not with quality starters anyways.

The message from Ross is a good sign that the team can work as a team to fix what’s wrong without compromising the future of the roster while still working to better their records from the two previous seasons.  Suddenly, the team can afford to draft a QB and groom him a year.  They can draft a speedy WR and let him return kicks before throwing him into full time work at the number 2 slot…thus allowing Brian Hartline more time to really mature on the field as well.

With the lockout working against teams and players at the moment, it’s hard to say that any failure, depending on how long the work stoppage lasts, will have an effect on the jobs of Sparano and his coaching staff.  Without being able to work with the players, teams who have new coaches and/or systems are already behind the proverbial 8-ball.  This vote of confidence will allow Ireland and Sparano to maintain their focus on the tasks at hand and at least for another year while they try and fill the right pieces into the roster and wait for free agency to start.

The Dolphins have scheduled several private workouts with incoming QB’s including Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton as well as some of the QB’s expected to go on days 2 and 3.