How Will Joe Philbin and the New Miami Dolphins GM Work Together?

There are recent reports about several GM candidates being confused about whose authority will  outrank whose, and Mr. Ross must clear this up immediately. It’s important to lay down the law about the power structure in the decision-making process.

But one thing is clear: Dolphins Truth is strongly urging that the new GM have more decision-making power than Joe Philbin.  In this column, we explain the reasons why.

Jake Long, Richie Incognito, and Joe Philbin's bestie, Mike Sherman.
Two loyal Dolphins, who are All-Pro offensive linemen, talk to their offensive coordinator, who has zero accomplishments under his belt. Guess who Joe Philbin defended to the end, and guess who Joe Philbin kicked to the curb?

The greatest GM in the world will be powerless if he is undermined by the coach. We’re not saying that Jeff Ireland was the greatest ever; we’re not even saying he was effective. But you cannot blame him 100% for Miami’s recent failures without looking at Joe Philbin as well.

At this time last year, Dolphins Truth was begging team management to make sure we re-sign Jake long. A lot of fans were harping on his injuries, his age, his lack of dedication. All nonsense. It was truly baffling to see so many Dolfans thought Jake was washed up. Our main point was this: You do not ever EVER get rid of All-Pro players. Period. The only exception is if you have NO money at all to pay him, but that was NOT the case with Jake Long. We had plenty of money. He wanted to stay. But the Dolphins kicked him to the curb in Missouri.

We don’t know the exact details, but we point out one thing with some certainty: Jeff Ireland did NOT walk into Joe Philbin’s office last year and say, “Joe, I am getting rid of Jake Long. Move Jonathan Martin to left tackle. I am also drafting a defensive end at #3 overall this year, so don’t expect any help on the offensive line. We don’t need it.”

There is simply NO WAY that Ireland initiated that sort of conversation. Instead, it was Philbin’s fault. Philbin thought Jonathan Martin was a loyal stud of a left tackle who would be a trustworthy Dolphin for many years to come.

The GM doesn’t decide the team’s needs. That is Philbin’s responsibility. The GM’s role is to pick players that fit the needed roles. In 2012, the Dolphins’ defensive line was among the best in the NFL. Solai. Wake. Vernon. Starks. Odrick. The d-line was stout. Going into 2013, the d-line was the one area where Miami needed NO help whatsoever. So who did the Dolphins draft? A d-lineman. And not even a good one, unfortunately. Dion Jordan was basically a third stringer all year; he made no significant contribution in any game.

Again, it is doubtful that Joe Philbin begged Ireland for offensive line help and Ireland said, “No Joe. I am drafting a benchwarmer d-end instead.” The same holds true for Reggie Bush. 2 years as a Dolphin and 2,000+ yards. Electrifying runs. Great screen-pass catcher. An awesome tackle breaker who made something out of nothing. Why was he cast aside? Who made that decision? Who said, “Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas and Mike Gillislee are all better than Reggie”? Reggie’s production for the Lions in 2013 was better than those three Dolphins COMBINED.

It just doesn’t add up that Jeff Ireland walked into Philbin’s office and said, “Joe, I’m getting rid of your best running back. Use the backups instead. Bye.” Ireland did not have that much power. And he certainly didn’t have that much nerve. No, instead, it was Joe Philbin again.

We need a strong GM who understands team needs and the type of players who meet those needs. When such players are unavailable, you MAKE THEM available by offering trades. You do NOT give away loyal players just because the coach is obsessed with being a goody-two-shoes.  Ray Lewis was implicated in a murder for God’s sake, and the Ravens just shrugged it off, let him play, and he won two Super Bowls. Richie Incognito sends a stupid text message and gets suspended all year. Remember during Hard Knocks, there were 3 team captains who met with Philbin. Those three were Karlos Dansby, Reggie Bush, and Jake Long. Three All-Pros. Three ex-Dolphins now.

Three of the teams’ leaders wanted to discuss the team with their coach, and the coach got rid of all three of them. But he kept Jonathan Martin!

You truly have to question Philbin’s logic in all these decisions. Again, there is no way that every single bad decision (and there have been a lot) were ALL Jeff Ireland’s fault.

Philbin thought that Mike Sherman was the best we could do for an offensive coordinator. Never mind all the young, hungry, talented potential offensive coordinators out there, said Philbin, I’d rather foist my old pal on you fans. My best friend, with zero accomplishments under his belt.

Philbin went on to defend Mike Sherman to the bitter end, until he was forced (we believe) to get rid of him.

Philbin hired Mike Sherman’s son-in-law to be our QB coach. Don’t even get us started on that one.

But, you say, Philbin was the offensive coordinator at Green Bay, so surely he made some correct decisions there. Uh, no. Remember, Philbin was offensive coordinator in title only. He never called a single play. He never decided which personnel to use. He certainly wasn’t involved in who the team drafted. His own head coach, Mike McCarthy, worked with Philbin every single day. McCarthy had a chance to evaluate Philbin day in and day out for many years, and after all that evaluation, McCarthy still didn’t allow Joe to make any decisions. That tells you something. And it’s scary.

But it also proves out important point: When Joe Philbin’s boss in Green Bay controlled Joe’s power, the Packers won the Super Bowl. When Joe Philbin’s boss in Miami gave him unlimited power, he’s ended up with a losing record over 2 seasons. The proof is in the numbers. Hire a strong GM to work over Philbin, and we just might get the same results that Green Bay got: a Super Bowl win.

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3 Comments

  1. I stopped reading after this comment: “There is simply NO WAY that Ireland initiated that sort of conversation. Instead, it was Philbin’s fault. Philbin thought Jonathan Martin was a loyal stud of a left tackle who would be a trustworthy Dolphin for many years to come.”

    The GM is the person that decides on the player personnel. PERIOD. He decides what players get kept and what players are not kept. He also decides who to draft and what round. The GM is supposed to address the needs of the team. The coach may say where the needs are, but it is up to the GM and front office personnel to decide who the quality players are and to get them. That is why the have a position like Director of PLAYER PERSONNEL. That was without a doubt, the worst 1/4 of an article I’ve ever read about how a football team operates.

    1. Howard, I agree somewhat with what you said, but you yourself stated that the COACH decides where the needs are. And it’s up to the GM to get players to fill those needs. This article (and you yourself) both agree that the coach determines the needs. So then, why didn’t Coach Philbin declare a need for some offensive linemen? Why didn’t he declare the need for some depth at DB? Why didn’t he declare the need to keep Reggie Bush?

      1. Howard assumes that the Dolphins operate like other, normal teams. But they are dysfunctional, and no one knows who had final say.

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