Miami Dolphins problems over last two decades fault of one position
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins haven’t really been the “it” team in the AFC or for that matter the AFC East since Dan Marino was the quarterback. One position is the reason why.
When we talk about the Miami Dolphins we no longer talk Super Bowl. We talk about .500 over and under. We talk about coaching changes and depth concerns. Play calling and blocking as well as in-game adjustments and of course the quarterback.
The long history of starting quarterbacks is nothing new but guess what? Quarterback is not the position that has caused these problems. I will say it again, quarterback is not the problem. The problem is far deeper and one you all know very well.
All of Miami’s problems for almost two decades can be traced back to the decisions made by the teams owners with who they put in charge to run the team. In other words, the general managers and the “VP’s of Football Operations”.
Consider this. Don Shula ran his teams and Jimmy Johnson ran his. Johnson didn’t have the success he dreamed of returning to Miami but he still had some success. Dave Wannstedt for all his issues struggled not in the first few years but in his final year of 2004 when all his poor decisions finally caught up with him.
The Dolphins employed Rick Spielman in 2004 as the teams general manager. It was a mess. He has done very well with the Vikings but in Miami, it wasn’t good. Then again, it was his first job as a G.M. Did he get fired too soon?
Really there wasn’t a choice because it was then owner Wayne Huizenga who threw money at Nick Saban until he finally took the job. Saban was his own boss but the NFL wasn’t college and without a solid GM to run the operations for him, he failed and quit.
After Saban left the Dolphins got back to the formula of a head coach and a general manager. Cam Cameron and Randy Mueller but the 1-15 season was absurd and both were out a year later.
Miami then of course went with the duo of Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland. Then it became a power struggle between Ireland and Dawn Aponte, and then Ireland and Joe Philbin, and then it was Hickey and Mike Tannenbaum, and then Tannenbaum, Chris Grier, and Adam Gase.
Want to know why Miami has been so bad? They have an executive office that can’t get the team straightened out. They have people in position with great resumes of experience, but not great resumes of success. Parcells was supposed to be great but Parcells never ran a team in his life. Not from the top to the bottom. And in Miami he didn’t do it either. He “coached” Jeff Ireland how to do his job.
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Think about the last 14 years. Wannstedt, Spielman, Saban, Mueller, Parcells, Ireland, Hickey, Tannenbaum/Grier. Of those 14 years three trips to the post-season. A continued search for a viable quarterback for the long future. Problems along the offensive line, in the secondary, linebacker units that are either overpaid, underperforming, or simply a square peg being pushed into a round hole.
We want to blame the coaches and we want to see change every few years because the results are not good but in reality, the players being added are not very good. The contracts are horrible and inflated, and there is not one person who is directing the whole thing but instead a group trying to fix it together. Wannstedt and Spielman. Saban and Saban’s ego. Mueller and Cameron. Parcells and Ireland. Ireland and Aponte. Hickey and Tannenbaum. Tannenbaum, Grier, and Gase. When does this carousel stop going around?
If Stephen Ross wants to change his team around he needs to stop the three-headed decision-making teams and put one person in charge of it and let then do their job.
What is the one position that has created the mess we see today? It’s the one that sits in a big leather chair and not the one who is taking snaps from center. Someone needs to be accountable and that person must be the only person accountable. When your job is on the line and you have to answer solely for every decision, you do a better job.