Thursday, February 24, 2011
Highlights from Jeff Ireland at combine
By Tim Graham
INDIANAPOLIS -- Some bullet points from Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland's visit with reporters at the NFL scouting combine:
- Not exactly a ringing endorsement for quarterback Chad Henne: "Right now, he's the guy on our football team that we have to be committed to because he's the only one we have right now. We're committed to him right now, and that's where we're at."
- I followed up with a question that explored beyond "right now." Ireland replied, "I address the quarterback position like I address every other position. We'll address it, and we'll attack it if we feel like it's a need. If there's one available, we'll attack it that way as well."
- Ireland was brusque when asked about his relationship with head coach Tony Sparano after the team's public flirtation with then-Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh. "We have a great relationship," Ireland replied. That was all.
- I asked Ireland to describe Bill Parcells' function with the front office these days: "Bill really doesn't have a role with the Dolphins anymore. He's really been more of a consultant to Mr. Ross, a consultant with me."
- On how Parcells might consult with him: "I usually talk about his golf game, first off and how he's feeling physically. But it can be anything. It can be 'Hey, have you seen this guy? Did you see the Senior Bowl? Did you see that guy and how do you think he's going to transition?' It's more specifically about players maybe he's seen, but he doesn't have the access to the film I do. But he sees things differently than most people, and I always like to see what his eyes are seeing."
- The Dolphins haven't had any talks with recently released New Orleans Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey, but Ireland reiterated the Dolphins will explore every possibility. Ireland said the Dolphins seek a speed element at tight end.
- The Dolphins have been speaking with nose tackle Paul Soliai's representation about a contract extension and called it "a big need" to have Soliai on the roster.
- With the 15th overall draft choice, Ireland proposed it's unnecessary players start right away.
- Versatility is Miami's priority when scouting a running back.
- On being concerned with how AFC East rivals approach their rosters: "We've got to worry about the Miami Dolphins, but obviously the Patriots, the Jets and the Bills would say the same thing as the Dolphins: We're obsessed with winning the division. We're obsessed with finding out how to beat our opponents. So we pay attention to them. They pay attention to us. But it's not going to dictate how we do business."