The Miami Dolphins are slowly inching their way towards a complete overhaul of their coaching staff. They need a head coach who will have full control over the team.
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Miami has a lot of problems but one glaring problem, if you sit back and look at the team, is the infrastructure of the decision makers. Too many hands are being used to stir the cauldron. Miami needs one person to rule it all. And that one person needs to be their next head coach.
Over the years we have seen Randy Mueller and Cam Cameron working to accomplish nothing. Bill Parcells was supposed to be the end all football czar but instead he delegated some of his duties to Jeff Ireland, his GM. Here is why this is all a problem. It’s not the person making the decisions, it’s all the people making the decisions.
When Parcells was here, he was supposed to be in charge of the players, Ireland thought he was. The two didn’t see eye to eye most of the time and while Parcells pulled rank he eventually conceded personnel control to Ireland. Ireland worked with Sparano and they didn’t see eye to eye most of the time. Ireland would pull rank, that led to internal problems, and Ireland would eventually concede a player or two to Sparano.
Joe Philbin and Ireland never truly saw eye to eye. Instead, Ireland tried to appease what his coach wanted and when he pulled rank, he often brought a player in that didn’t mesh with what Philbin wanted to do. Dion Jordan anyone? The problem here was that Ireland, like Parcells, wanted big beefy lineman while Philbin wanted faster more athletic players. Because of this, neither really got what he wanted and Ireland and Philbin are now gone.
When Dennis Hickey arrived in Miami after an exhausting and miserable search, Hickey became more or less a “yes-man” to Philbin. He didn’t bring his own ideas to the team but instead tried to get what Philbin wanted. The problem? Philbin wasn’t a very good talent evaluator and an even worse head coach. Enter Mike Tannenbaum.
Last off-season the Dolphins brought in Mike Tannenbaum in an unidentified role to the outside observer. It was clear from the start that Tannenbaum and not Hickey was making the decisions. Enter Ndamukong Suh. Exit Dannelle Ellerbe. Exit Mike Wallace. Enter Kenny Stills. All the while, Dennis Hickey was supposed to be making these decisions. All the while, Joe Philbin was being handed talent that he couldn’t cull.
This coming off-season the Dolphins need to find a coach who can handle both the GM duties and the coaching duties with Tannenbaum serving as the support. It’s an absolute must that the coach and Tannenbaum see eye to eye on everything or we are right back to square one yet again, three years down the road.
Miami is not going to find it easy to lure this kind of coach to Miami. The internal structure of power is confusing to those on the outside, and I suspect to a degree, on the inside as well. Two seasons ago Miami created a fiasco during their GM search as no one wanted to take the job without having control over Joe Philbin’s status with the team. Two years before that the Dolphins couldn’t get their head coaching search right with Ireland wanting to go one way and Stephen Ross wanting to go another. The owner won.
Mike Tannenbaum will be the biggest influence in this year coaching search. To his credit, it’s been reported that he begged Ross to fire Philbin after last season. Ross should have listened. Miami needs a coach that has the vision to change this team. To do so, they need to have control over the types of players that are on this team. Whether they are physical, big, fast, strong, doesn’t matter. They have to actually fit into the schemes that are being installed this off-season.
Who can handle that kind of responsibility? Sean Payton, John Harbaugh, Jim Harbaugh, maybe Hugh Jackson. The list pretty much ends there unless your search heads to the telecast booth. While the Harbaughs are 98% staying put, there is always a possibility that one might come available. John in Baltimore doesn’t have full control over his roster and he and management have been having some issues over players. Is that enough to make him available?
The point to all of this is simple. There is Ross telling his executives to get the big free agent, there is Tannenbaum getting players that don’t fit the scheme, there is Hickey who is, well I’m not quite sure what he is doing, then there is Joe Philbin or Dan Campbell if you wish, asking for players that those at the top don’t want. It does indeed start at the top. If Miami is going to be find success, the Dolphins need to trim the number of hands that are stirring this pot.
And to think, I haven’t even mentioned Dawn Aponte.