Dolphins are in their bye week with a 5-5 record and one game to go in November against the Colts. If you are a Miami Dolphins fan, you know that year 3 is a critical year for head coaches. It’s sort of the calm before the “hot seat” bomb explodes. There’s been a lot of talk about Gase and this regime all season. I’m not going to talk about Gase. I’m saving that for a separate article.
There’s certainly more than enough blame to go around for the mediocrity issues that have run its course with the franchise and this fan-base. One guy who isn’t talked about enough in this debate is Owner Stephen Ross. Whether you agree or not, the fact is he hired these guys to run his football team. So, he is partly to blame as well.
Ross has shown he is not afraid to open his pocketbook to this franchise. He committed a lot of money to revamp Hard Rock Stadium. He has brought in consultants to talk with players whether that would be former NFL players, business associates, you know, the whole she-bang. He’s done everything he could to help produce a winning product on the football field in his own way.
The downside with Ross is he has publicly stated he doesn’t like hiring retread coaches. Apparently, he doesn’t like hiring retread VPs and GMs either because that is what this fan-base is having to put up with. Ross needs to give this inexperienced regime more time. Three years is not enough time to fix 20 years of bad decisions.
I hope Ross can look in the mirror and recognize what he has and what he needs to improve on. Because what makes me queasy to my stomach is that he might actually cut ties with this regime after this season and he is going to bring in new guys who are going to be just as new at the job as this current regime is and they will make similar mistakes and part of me does wonder if Ross can develop the relationships in the football industry to bring in better people to run this football team. If he can’t, then there’s no point in getting rid of this regime. Just let them continue to grow together as fans, let’s just grit our teeth and hope they can get their act together.
The next part of the apple (no pun intended) is Mike Tannenbaum. I do believe he was the main guy in finding and hiring Adam Gase. He does have a little experience in the same role the Dolphins hired him for with the Jets. He had been the Jets GM since 2006 but in 2011-2012 he sort of had an added role as Executive Vice President of Football Operations. So yeah, he does have some experience, but I wouldn’t call that much of a learning curve.
The problem I have with Tannenbaum is I am not sure he has the necessary smarts or relationships to build a solid foundation for this organization. I mean, he basically promoted a guy from within to General Manager; a guy I hadn’t heard of at that point. That decision never set right with me.
What makes me queasy is his signing of free agents. He has publicly stated that he wants to have as many of their own players return to show loyalty. HE DOESN’T EVEN DO THAT! TJ McDonald hadn’t played a single down for the Dolphins yet and he wasn’t going to for the first 8 games of the 2017 season because he had to serve an 8-game suspension. Yet, Tannenbaum in his infinite wisdom said they saw enough in training camp to give him a 4-year contract extension after already signing him. I could go on about Branch, Tannehill, McCain, Suh but the McDonald contract extension was by far the weirdest thing I had ever seen. Part of me feels that Ross should create a scouting department that would scout free agents about to hit the open market because this regime needs a little extra help in evaluating talent, which brings me to the next part of the puzzle.
Grier, near as I can tell, always drafts the best player available in the first round and I think after 3 years he may have pulled off the best draft class of his career.
The bad part is that Grier needs to stop drafting receivers and tight ends in the early rounds. He has been with the Dolphins organization since 2003 and from then to 2015, he ran the scouting department. Parker, Landry, Egnew, Turner, Ginn, Hagan. All those guys were drafted in the early rounds while Grier was in the scouting department and I would think he would learn from that but no, he’s taking guys like Carroo who go from practice squad to special teams and Gesicki who is just a glorified receiver at this point. Copying your predecessors is a good way to get yourself fired.
What makes me queasy is Gase is going to put the pressure on him to keep drafting those positions early on because he is a young coach who doesn’t know better. Look, it hasn’t worked for 15 years. Why would it work now? Landry was a talented receiver but in the 4 years he was here, the Dolphins only had one winning season. Ginn was successful everywhere but here. I mean, we can’t even score with the playmakers we have now. Dare I say it, but Gase may have too many weapons. Let the more established football programs make those gambles. Despite what anyone tells you, this franchise is in flux. It’s not established. They are still learning to do their job until proven otherwise.
Tannenbaum has proven he has an eye for coaching talent. When he was with the Jets, he found coaches like Eric Mangini and Rex Ryan. Mangini was a bust. But from Tannenbaum’s perspective, who wouldn’t want a Bill Belichick protege? Dolphins hired one themselves when they hired Nick Saban and for the first couple of years, Rex Ryan seemed to have turned around the Jets franchise. Maybe, Tannenbaum can find a new DC for the Dolphins. As for contract negotiations, I wish I could say turn over duties to Grier, but I doubt that’s going to be any better. If you guys have any suggestions, please let me know.
As for Grier, he needs to stand up to Gase. Following everything that is Adam Gase does not work out in the end for everybody. Look what happened with Clyde Christensen. Look what happened with Jay Cutler. Look what is happening with this team now.
As for Ross, I hope in time he can establish more relationships in and around the industry and I think he should create a free agent scouting department because Tannenbaum, Grier and Gase are struggling right now. I hope he doesn’t make any impulsive decisions after this season. We need to break this mediocre cycle and it’s not by getting a new head coach every 4 years.