- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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It is no secret that Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin and former general manager Jeff Ireland had a falling out last season. It was a major reason Dolphins owner Stephen Ross had to part ways with Ireland to split up the butting of heads and fighting for power within the team.
Enter new GM Dennis Hickey. He was not Miami’s top choice. But now that Hickey is in the fold, it will be his job to add talent to Miami’s roster and work side-by-side with Philbin. Ross changed the Dolphins' structure to where both the coach and GM report directly to the owner.
According to Hickey, the early collaborations have been a success.
“We’ve been very intentional in our communication and our time together just because we are starting fresh and we are right in the middle of things,” Hickey said at last week’s NFL combine. “We spent a lot of time (together). Every morning we get together whether it is draft preparation, free agency preparation or even just watching our own players, getting together and talking, watching film and just kind of continuing to build that relationship and just communicating.
“That’s just one of the things that we are about, and we want to continue to foster that not only in our relationship between he and I but also throughout the organization.”
The 2014 season is very important for everyone in the Dolphins’ organization. Philbin is in the hot seat after posting a mediocre 15-17 record in his first two seasons. Pressure also is on Hickey to immediately perform in his first year. That’s why neither has time to fight behind the scenes with jobs on the line.
The offseason will be a good test for the new working relationship of Philbin and Hickey. Player evaluation and finding those who fit Philbin’s system are vital for Miami to improve from its .500 season in 2013.
“We are on the same page of who we want our organization to be founded on trust, integrity, respect, communication, all of those things are common,” Hickey explained. “With individual player evaluations, as always there are different opinions as we go through there, and we just work through those things. It’s been a great experience as we continue to get to know each other better and as we go through each process leading toward preparing for the season opener.”