The Miami Dolphins are consistent at one thing and one thing only. Change. Every year Miami undergoes changes that have driven this team to where they are today.
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Over the past 10 years Miami has been one of the most active teams in changing their staff. I can’t say the most active because I don’t follow other teams front office changes as closely as I do Miami’s. It’s a tendency that has led to absolute zero continuity, zero development, and such a total lack of consistency that Miami can’t get out of their own way.
When this season is over, change will happen once again.
If there is one thing you can say about the Dolphins is that they are always one year too late. This is the case with a lot of the decisions this team has made over the years and it only get’s worse highlighted once again by the retention of Joe Philbin for 2015.
Looking back at the last six seasons it’s no wonder Miami is where they are today.
Bill Parcells officially steps away from full personnel power leaving Jeff Ireland to handle the draft, free agency, and everything else on the personnel side of things. The move would put to rest who was actually controlling player decisions that saw draft picks like Pat White and Chad Henne on the team. Ireland would begin answering only to himself on player activities.
The season started off with Stephen Ross and Jeff Ireland heading to woo then Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh to Miami. They just hadn’t fired Tony Sparano yet. Despite being spurned, Ross should have still fired the head coach but instead, gave him a raise in the hopes of smoothing things over. It didn’t work. With Dan Henning leaving the team, the Dolphins hired former Browns coach Brian Daboll to run the offense.
Jeff Ireland and Sparano’s relationship was ruined after the flight, Ireland in only his second year in full control started the season with an NFL lockout that wiped away any off-season training.
Mid-way through the season, the Dolphins fired Sparano and named Todd Bowles the interim head coach.
Bowles would be interviewed for the job but Miami turned towards Jeff Fisher as their next HC only to be shunned once again. After a laughable head coaching search, the Dolphins settled on Joe Philbin who brought Mike Sherman along with him.
Internal power struggles between Jeff Ireland and Dawn Aponte led to strife within the team. Joe Philbin’s dislike of Ireland put him on the side of Aponte. The teams failures on the field permeated into the locker room and offensive tackle Jonathan Martin quits the team amid harassment allegations. Joe Philbin is forced to make wholesale changes at season’s end that include the firing of the teams offensive line coach and long time trainer.
As the trouble continued to boil over the Dolphins force Joe Philbin to make a decision that he doesn’t want to make.
The 2014 season starts off with Mike Sherman being fired as the team offensive coordinator. It’s reported that Joe Philbin almost quit over the issue. A day later, Stephen Ross announced that the team and Jeff Ireland are parting ways.
What follows is one of the worst off-seasons in Dolphins history. Miami reportedly was turned down by four general manager candidates and eventually turned to former Tampa Bay executive Dennis Hickey. Some say he was hired because no one else would take the job.
To replace Sherman the Dolphins hire Bill Lazor to run the teams offense.
The Dolphins fail fast mid-way through the 2014 season leaving many to believe that Joe Philbin will be fired. In the third to last game of the year, the Dolphins rally to beat the Vikings in Miami and Ross declares in the locker room that Philbin will be back for the 2015 season. Miami would lose the next two games against division rivals Buffalo and New York and head into the off-season with things remaining the same. Or so they thought.
With the 2015 season still months away, Stephen Ross announces that Mike Tannenbaum will assume a prominent yet fully undefined role with the team. One similar to the role that Bill Parcells held. Immediately the Dolphins are questioned about his job description specifically as it related to personnel. A job that was controlled by Dennis Hickey. Miami assures the league that Tannenbaum is more advisory.
As the 2015 off-season ticks into gear less and less is seen of the Dolphins GM. When the team signs Ndamukong Suh, it’s Mike Tannenbaum front and center along with Dennis Hickey who makes perhaps his last public appearance in front of the media (frankly I can’t be sure if he has since). Joe Philbin is not seen at the table but it’s reported that he was in the room.
After four weeks of the season the Dolphins fire Joe Philbin. Two days later they fire DC Kevin Coyle. Mike Tannenbaum sits next to TE coach Dan Campbell as he is introduced as the teams interim head coach. Dennis Hickey is not in the room as far as could be seen.
Following another loss to the New York Jets, Campbell fires Bill Lazor as the offensive coordinator. He tells the media that quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor will assume play-calling duties.
The search for a new head coach will officially begin while the calendar is still in 2015 but the changes that will be made will not fully happen until the calendar rolls into the new year. Miami is expected to hire a new HC, who will then bring in his own coaching staff and possibly changes to the schemes and likely personnel on both sides of the ball.
The biggest question really isn’t who will be the head coach but instead who will make the decisions on that head coach and how much power that head coach has. With Dennis Hickey all but finished officially in Miami there is sure to be another power divide within the team. Mike Tannenbaum will likely assume all responsibility for the draft and free agency but the issue here is that Miami won’t likely attract a top coaching candidate who can’t have final say over the roster.
If that’s the route Miami takes this off-season, then we can expect more of what was mentioned above over the next year, two years, and three years until the Dolphins once again are searching for a new head coach.