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Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Dolphins copying blueprint of 2013 Jets

By James Walker


The Miami Dolphins and New York Jets are heated rivals, but the Jets did something last season that paved the way for the Dolphins in 2014.

Miami parted ways with longtime general manager Jeff Ireland on Tuesday after six years. The Dolphins completed their fifth consecutive non-winning season under Ireland. Second-year head coach Joe Philbin remains on board.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who lives in New York, essentially is copying the blueprint of the 2013 Jets in hopes of similar results.

The Jets fired general manager Mike Tannenbaum -- who ironically could be a candidate for Miami's new opening -- after the 2012 season but retained head coach Rex Ryan. Jets owner Woody Johnson made it clear that new general manager John Idzik had to work with Ryan for at least one year before potentially hiring his own head coach. The partnership worked in 2013 -- Ryan went into the season on the hot seat but did well with the talent he had -- and Ryan and Idzik will spend a second season together.

New York also fired its offensive coordinator, Tony Sparano, after 2012. Sound familiar? It should: The Dolphins got rid of their general manager and offensive coordinator, Mike Sherman, this week.

So Joe Philbin is the new Rex Ryan, as odd as it might sound. Philbin is 15-17 in two seasons, and it's more clear than ever that 2014 is a make-or-break year for Miami's head coach.

The Dolphins will be looking for a new general manager for the first time under Ross, but that new hire will not have the ability to hire his own head coach. Ireland's replacement must work with Philbin for at least one season. It will be up to Philbin to produce more wins and impress his new general manager to keep his job beyond next season.

The approach worked fine for New York this past season. It remains to be seen if following that blueprint also works for the Dolphins in 2014.