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We have reached an important crossroads for the Miami Dolphins, a defining moment. Decisions with far-reaching consequences are in the process of being made. Those decisions will, in many ways, help shape the future of this franchise, certainly the immediate future.
There are two job openings at this precise moment that carry with them tremendous responsibility: One is the general manager, the other is the offensive coordinator. It is imperative that the right people be hired. This is more about the direction of the team than wins and losses, more about finding stability, about locating the right path to success and, to a large degree, about the maturation of quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Losing gets old; so does mediocrity. The way this past season ended left a sour taste throughout the organization. Change became mandatory. More of the same often results in more of the same. This became clear to owner Stephen Ross in the aftermath of that disheartening season-ending loss to the Jets.
We can spend our time dissecting the performances of General Manager Jeff Ireland and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. We can question draft picks and free agent signings and offensive strategies and all the factors that led to one touchdown in those forgettable last two games.
But, at this point, does that really do any good? Will that change where this franchise currently sits? Will it bring back any of those frustrating losses? Hardly. It is time, as difficult as it seems, to stop looking in the rearview mirror. It is time to move forward and that’s exactly what the Dolphins are trying to do as quickly as possible.
I mentioned earlier in this column about the impact all of this could have on Tannehill and that theme, in truth, is interwoven through both job searches.
It will be the job of the general manager to find more pass protection for a quarterback who went down a team record 58 times last season just as it will be his job to keep adding big-play spice to this offense.
We saw what Tannehill could do last season with sketchy pass protection and the lack of a consistent rushing attack. I can’t wait to see what he does with more talent around him. That falls in the lap of the general manager.
It is the job of the offensive coordinator to put Tannehill in the best possible position to succeed. Use the right formations. Call the right plays. Do things that take advantage of Tannehill’s diverse skill set. The new offensive coordinator will have a huge impact on Tannehill. The success of one will surely be tied to the success of the other.
Ross is leading the search for the new general manager; Coach Joe Philbin is doing the same for the offensive coordinator position. Both are proceeding at a sprinter’s pace, though not at the expense of being thorough. Interviews began last Friday as the Davie practice facility became an intriguing intersection of football minds and philosophies. Some impressive candidates have already stopped by.
I’m pretty good at predictions when it comes to Sunday afternoons in the fall; I’m not very good at projecting hires. All I can tell you is this: The Dolphins understand the significance of what they are doing. They truly get it. And the urgency and immediacy surrounding this entire process serves as a clear indication of that.
As different as both positions are, they require similar traits: Resourceful. Bold. Creative. Organized. Dedicated. Tireless. Flexible. Highly-efficient. Smart enough to realize that they don’t know everything. And, at least in the case of the general manager, someone who is comfortable enough to work within the fabric of an organization that already has its head coach and quarterback in place.
Yes, in so many ways, the Miami Dolphins are on the clock. Rarely has a January without football felt this important.
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The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
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