NFL Nation: Jeff Ireland

DAVIE, Fla. -- Five-time Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall provided a candid analysis of his tenure with the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday. He put up back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons but those Dolphins teams were a combined 13-19 (.406 win percentage) in 2010 and 2011.

“On the football field I think we were a quarterback away from having a [good] team,” Marshall said bluntly on a conference call with the Miami media. “I think our defense were studs. Offensively, maybe we were missing a piece on the O-line. But Davone Bess, Brian Hartline, myself, Reggie Bush, I really thought we had a young group of guys that really could have done some special things if we came together. Unfortunately, we didn’t have that opportunity.”

Marshall’s statement was an immediate flashback to the Tony Sparano era. Marshall, who plays the Dolphins Sunday, had some rocky times on and off the field in Miami and didn’t get along with former teammate and quarterback Chad Henne.

Clearly, Marshall hasn't forgotten about Henne flaming out in Miami, despite both players moving on to other teams. Henne is now a backup quarterback with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

But Marshall is clearly a happier person now that he's moved on to Chicago. (“I love Chicago,” Marshall said.) He’s playing with a talented quarterback in Jay Cutler. The pair grew together with the Denver Broncos and reunited in Chicago. Marshall’s numbers got even better with Cutler. He’s caught at least 100 passes his first two seasons with the Bears.

Even with an inconsistent Henne and a few other quarterbacks, Marshall had 167 receptions, 2,228 yards and nine touchdowns with the Dolphins. Marshall also made the Pro Bowl with Miami in 2011.

So why did the Dolphins trade Marshall to the Bears for two third-round picks before the 2012 season?

“That was a long time ago,” said Miami coach Joe Philbin, who traded Marshall upon his arrival. “We just felt like, at that point where we were as a program and organizationally, an opportunity came and that was the decision we came to.”

The conventional line of thinking is Marshall’s strong and outspoken personality led to his trade, especially in Philbin’s first year where he needed to establish his program.

Marshall was asked Wednesday if he was surprised by the trade?

“Um, was I surprised?” Marshall said after a long pause and sigh. “I was surprised but I was happy at the same time once Jeff Ireland told me where I was going. I thought it was best for me and my family.”

The Bears clearly got the best of the trade. Chicago is reaping the rewards of a more mature Marshall, who credits his two up-and-down years in Miami as part of what made him the receiver he is today.

“For me, I learned so much in Miami. I grew so much,” Marshall said. “I wish we could have made it work, but we didn’t.”
Jamar Taylor, Dion Jordan and Will Davis AP Photo, Getty ImagesJamar Taylor, Dion Jordan and Will Davis made a minimal impact as rookies.
Most of the attention over the next three weeks will be focused on the 2014 NFL draft, as each team tries to shape its present and future by identifying the right college players to fill needs.

But for the Miami Dolphins, success or failure this season will depend more on the development of the 2013 draft class. Few teams got less production from their rookies last year than Miami. Only the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks had fewer snaps from first-year players -- and those teams, which competed in Super Bowl XLVIII, were stacked with established veterans.

The Dolphins, who faltered down the stretch and finished 8-8, did not have that luxury.

It's time for Miami's second-year players to come of age during an important time for many within the organization. Head coach Joe Philbin is entering an important third year after going 15-17 his first two seasons, and there could be a lot of change next year if the Dolphins aren't successful.

Most of Miami's top picks -- including defensive end Dion Jordan, offensive lineman Dallas Thomas and cornerbacks Jamar Taylor and Will Davis -- basically had red-shirt seasons in 2013, thanks to injuries, inconsistency and lack of confidence from the coaching staff. That lack of production was one reason why the Dolphins failed to get to the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year.

"They got less than anybody in the league out of their draft class, and they had high picks. That's a huge issue," NFL scout Matt Williamson said. "But if that group, the corners and especially Jordan, can play up to what Miami thought they were and what most people thought they were, the Dolphins could rebound."

"We have a lot of hope for the draft class from last year," Philbin said at the NFL owners meetings in late March. "A lot of them have been back early, working. You want to see development throughout the course of an individual player's career, but I think all of you guys would agree you usually see a significant jump between Year 1 and Year 2. These are guys we thought highly of a year ago when we drafted them.

"They had some injury issues that kind of curtailed their development in Year 1. So I'm excited about working with them, developing them and seeing them progress here this season."

The 2013 draft class was one point of contention last year between Miami's coaching staff and the front office. Philbin didn't feel his rookies were ready to take on larger roles. Jeff Ireland, then the Dolphins' general manager, believed in the talent of his draft picks and felt they were not being used properly. Jordan, the No. 3 overall pick in 2013, was perhaps the biggest example.

Due to offseason shoulder surgery, Jordan missed time in training camp and the preseason. He never found his footing in the regular season and he fell behind veteran defensive ends Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon and Derrick Shelby.

Williamson described Jordan as "a ridiculous athlete." He has immense potential but spent most of the season as the third or fourth defensive end and on special teams. He was involved in 321 snaps and had a disappointing 26 tackles and two sacks.

There have also been offseason trade rumors involving Jordan, which Philbin has denied. Miami's head coach expects Jordan to have a larger role in 2014.

"We feel like with a full offseason, with more time devoted to his fundamentals, he will have a better grasp of the position he's playing," Philbin said. "We do want to do a better job with the numbers, rotating him in. ... We want to get him more snaps on first and second down. "

The Dolphins also are counting on young corners Taylor and Davis, who were drafted in the second and third round, respectively. Both had injury setbacks last season and played a combined 104 snaps.

Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes will occupy one starting job, and Taylor and Davis will compete with veteran free-agent acquisition Cortland Finnegan for the other spot. Finnegan, a former Pro Bowl corner, is the favorite to start due to experience. But Philbin is not going in with any preconceived notions.

"I want to see the best player, whoever can help us win football games," Philbin explained. "Whoever performs the best should be the starting corner."

Miami got most of its rookie production last year from unlikely sources. Fifth-round kicker Caleb Sturgis proved to be the Dolphins' best rookie acquisition last season. He beat out longtime Miami kicker Dan Carpenter in training camp and led the Dolphins with 111 points.

The Dolphins also had decent production from undrafted rookie guard Sam Brenner, who made four starts and played 274 snaps. Brenner stepped up following the suspension of guard Richie Incognito in Miami's high-profile bullying scandal.

Brenner's production highlighted the fact that Thomas, a 2013 third-round pick, was too green to step in and be productive. Thomas was rotated between guard and tackle in training camp and never got comfortable in either position. Thomas must find a home at this season in order to provide quality depth.

In fact, it will be vital for Miami's entire 2013 draft class to find roles and contribute next season. The Dolphins used nine draft picks last year, and most have yet to make an impact.

"The Dolphins have a young quarterback [Ryan Tannehill], so they need to build a real core for the long term," Williamson said. "They need last year's draft and this upcoming come to build around Tannehill. They don't need to live for today. A strong core is more important than winning it all this year, although that philosophy can get you fired in Miami if you're 6-10."
Last year in free agency the Miami Dolphins were all about the flash-and-splash on offense.

Speedy receiver Mike Wallace, slot receiver Brandon Gibson and athletic tight end Dustin Keller were all part of then-general manager Jeff Ireland's plan to build Miami into an explosive, high-scoring offense. The Dolphins also re-signed 1,000-yard receiver Brian Hartline to put as many skilled receivers and tight ends around budding quarterback Ryan Tannehill as possible.

But Ireland and the Dolphins forgot one fundamental rule in the NFL: In order to have a high-powered offense, you must first protect the quarterback.

Miami did little to invest in its offensive line in 2013 and, as a result, set a franchise record for quarterback sacks allowed with 58. Despite various weapons, the Dolphins often lost in the trenches and had the NFL’s 27th-ranked offense. That was a major reason Miami finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year.

Tuesday’s high-profile signing of Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert signifies a shift in the team’s thinking. The Dolphins opened their wallets during the start of free agency and agreed to a five-year, $46 million contract with Albert, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Miami got the best player available at the team’s weakest position: offensive line.

After another disappointing season in Miami, new general manager Dennis Hickey replaced Ireland in January and is wasting no time learning from his predecessor’s mistakes. The Dolphins must consistently win in the trenches if they want to become a playoff contender. Pairing Albert with center Mike Pouncey gives Miami two Pro Bowlers to build its offensive line around.

The Dolphins also agreed to terms with free-agent defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, according to Schefter, which fills another need in the trenches on defense following the departures of defensive linemen Paul Soliai and Randy Starks.

There is still work to be done for Miami. But it is clear the Dolphins have a plan, and this is a solid start.

Offseason Blueprint: Dolphins

March, 4, 2014
Mar 4
MIAMI -- Roster development is a major topic in South Florida. The Miami Dolphins got little from their 2013 draft class, and that was one of several reasons the team missed the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.

But who is to blame in Miami?

Was it the fault of former general manager Jeff Ireland, who picked the players? Or was it head coach Joe Philbin and his staff for failing to develop and get an immediate impact from 2013 draft picks such as Dion Jordan, cornerbacks Jamar Taylor and Will Davis and offensive lineman Dallas Thomas? It’s debatable. But, clearly, Miami’s owner Stephen Ross made his choice by keeping Philbin and firing Ireland after an 8-8 season.

With Ireland out of the picture, the pressure is now on Philbin. He must develop and get the best out of his young players -- particularly a dynamic talent like Jordan. This is one issue within the bigger picture that could impact Philbin’s long-term job security.

The fallout from the bullying scandal is officially underway in Miami. The Miami Dolphins fired offensive line coach Jim Turner and head trainer Kevin O'Neill on Wednesday evening after both were recently cited in the Ted Wells report.

O'Neill witnessed Dolphins players Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey harass an assistant trainer but failed to report it. Turner failed as an overseer of the offensive line and, at times, was a willing participant. According to the report, Turner bought former Dolphin Andrew McDonald a male blowup doll as a joke about his sexuality, even though McDonald wasn't gay.

The Dolphins absolutely made the correct call to fire O'Neill and Turner. This was a good first step for Miami, which must immediately change its sordid locker-room culture.

O'Neill failed to do the right thing by reporting the harassment of his understudy, which could have potentially stopped things before they became huge. Turner was negligent and irresponsible by letting three of his starting offensive linemen run wild. The Wells report explained Miami's offensive line as an "anything goes" group. That must be eradicated.

Turner and O'Neill deserved to be the fall guys due to their level of culpability. But as I wrote last week, Miami's bullying scandal overall was a systemic failure by the entire organization.

How did head coach Joe Philbin or former general manager Jeff Ireland not know anything that was going on in their locker room? Why didn't any players step up to put an end to this before it became a major problem and a national media firestorm? The Dolphins are not expected to fire anyone else in leadership positions. But those who remain in Miami certainly have nothing to be proud of following the Wells report.

Miami's bullying scandal will go down as one of the most embarrassing chapters in the franchise's history. By firing Turner and O'Neill the Dolphins proved they are making the necessary changes to begin the healing process.

DAVIE, Fla. -- On the same day the Miami Dolphins introduced their new general manager, a major issue from their recent past was brought to light when offensive tackle Jonathan Martin did an interview with NBC regarding the 2013 bullying scandal.

Martin, in an interview with Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy, said he felt “trapped” by the locker-room atmosphere in Miami.

"I'm a grown man. I've been in locker rooms," Martin told NBC. "One incident doesn't bother me. It was the persistence.

"I felt trapped, like I didn't have a way to make it right. I thought it was best to remove myself from the situation."

The full interview will be released Wednesday. But here are some early thoughts on Martin’s comments and his status with the Dolphins:
  • Right or wrong, Martin’s comments won’t help him in Miami, and it could hurt his chances of latching on with another team. According to some Dolphins players I spoke to, their biggest complaint was that Martin walked out on the team. Players felt he could have handled it in a better way than exiting in the middle of the season and sparking a national controversy for the Dolphins. Martin reiterated that it was best to “remove myself from the situation.” Now other teams will have questions about Martin’s toughness and whether or not he will walk away in the future.
  • Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said Tuesday that he doesn’t expect either player to be back. It was an honest moment from Ross, despite the fact he tried to recant his statement soon after. Ross knows many of the details in the NFL report, which is expected to come out after the Super Bowl. The quickest way to begin moving on from the bullying scandal is not to have Martin and Incognito around the team in 2014.
  • With that in mind, Martin remains under contract for two more years. Miami either must trade or release their 2012 second-round pick. Martin’s value in the trade market is extremely low due to the bullying scandal and the fact everyone now knows Miami wants to part ways with him. It would be surprising if the Dolphins can get much -- or anything -- in return for Martin. That will be one of the early responsibilities of new Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey.
  • Overall, the sense I get from the Dolphins is they are confident they will come away from this scandal relatively unscathed. Miami head coach Joe Philbin received several strong endorsements from ownership and is safe. Offensive line coach Jim Turner remains on staff, although the Ted Wells report could impact his status. Miami already got rid of former general manager Jeff Ireland, although for different reasons. Ireland was responsible for drafting Martin in the second round in 2012 and signing Incognito in free agency in 2011.
DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross admitted Tuesday that head coach Joe Philbin and former general manager Jeff Ireland had a falling out last season.

This is not a surprise as various media outlets, including, reported a late-season power struggle developing between Ireland on one side and Philbin and vice present of football administration Dawn Aponte on the other. Ross met with both parties after Miami's 8-8 regular season and determined it was best to get rid of Ireland.

Ross spoke about the Dolphins' internal issues for the first time publicly in 2014.

"I have a lot of confidence in Jeff, he's a good friend,” Ross explained. "But we need to have harmony within the organization. We have to think as one organization where everyone has respect for each other and operates with the same mindset at all times."

Miami hired new general manager Dennis Hickey from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. One of the big requirements during Miami's general manager search was finding someone who can work alongside Philbin. It was clear after two seasons that Philbin and Ireland grew apart.

This is the second head coach with whom Ireland had a falling out. Ireland also had a well-publicized split with former Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano before Sparano was fired.

Philbin is 15-17 in two years in Miami. He enters an important third season. The Dolphins had a drama-filled year in 2013 and must get on the same page in order to build a consistent winner.

"I was aware of it, and a lot was written about it, I think,” Ross said said of the internal strife between Miami's GM and coach. "It's something you don't address in the middle of the season. There was something I knew I had to addressed at the end of the season.”

MIAMI -- There is something terribly wrong with the Miami Dolphins. Their process of finding someone -- anyone -- to become their next general manager should open some eyes within the organization that something internally must change.

After a long and arduous process, the Dolphins hired Dennis Hickey on Sunday to become their next general manager. Hickey replaces the embattled Jeff Ireland, who parted ways with the team after six seasons.

But today is not about Hickey as much as it is about the Dolphins’ questionable internal structure. This is not a media creation. Multiple candidates legitimately ran away from the chance to be GM of the Dolphins. It’s clear that people around the NFL are not buying how Miami wants to run its franchise.

In the past 24 hours, Nick Caserio of the New England Patriots and Lake Dawson of the Tennessee Titans, in order, were offered the job and turned it down for smaller roles with their current teams. Ray Farmer of the Cleveland Browns, an early favorite, took his name out of consideration Thursday night when he was closing in on the gig. At least four other high-profile candidates declined the opportunity for an interview to even hear what the Dolphins have to say.

Many didn’t believe the job the Dolphins were offering was a true GM position. Hickey has no power beyond the 53-man roster. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross didn’t want the GM to be above coach Joe Philbin and vice president of football administration Dawn Aponte. All three will start on equal footing and answer directly to the owner, which can create an atmosphere where factions develop and sniping can occur. That’s pretty much the story of Miami’s 2013 season between Ireland, Philbin and Aponte.

But Hickey is willing to take the plunge and must mesh with Philbin and Aponte. The Dolphins may try to put a good face on the situation and say Hickey was their top choice all along. Yet it’s clear Hickey was not Miami’s first, second or third choice. Hickey probably wasn’t in the top seven when Miami’s brass created its initial list. But he was the first person willing to take the job.

On paper, the Dolphins’ GM position should have been a quality opening.

The Dolphins are not a rebuilding project. This is an 8-8 team with a promising young quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, four Pro Bowlers and solid cap room entering the offseason. A few good roster improvements here and there and Miami could be in playoff contention in 2014.

But the internal workings and behind-the-scenes drama in Miami made its GM position significantly less attractive. The Dolphins must look in the mirror, re-examine themselves and figure out if this is the smartest way to do business moving forward.
It’s been 29 years since the Miami Dolphins last played in a Super Bowl. It has been 40 years since Miami actually won the big game on Jan. 13, 1974.

The Dolphins and their fans are rightfully proud of their two Lombardi Trophies. The team proudly displays both in the front lobby of its training facility. You also constantly hear about the glory days when the Dolphins were a dominant franchise that consistently competed for championships.

However, four decades have passed since Miami’s last championship, and nearly three decades since its last Super Bowl appearance. The Dolphins’ run at the top of the NFL has become a distant memory.

[+] EnlargeDon Shula
AP Photo/Dave BergmanThe Dolphins haven't been to a Super Bowl since Don Shula roamed the sidelines.
What will it take for Miami to get back to its once-elite status?’s Dolphins page has some suggestions:

  • Stability at head coach: The Dolphins had Don Shula, one of the greatest head coaches of all-time, at the helm during their glory years. Shula brought smarts, motivation and stability to the head-coaching position in Miami. He coached the undefeated Dolphins during the 1972 season, the Super Bowl champs again in 1973, and the two appearances in the early 1980s. Since Shula retired in 1995, Miami has gone through a litany of bad head coaches. Nick Saban, Cam Cameron and Tony Sparano all failed in Miami. Current Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin is 15-17 in two seasons. It remains to be seen if Philbin is the long-term solution.
  • Long-term solution at quarterback: In today’s NFL, you must have an answer at quarterback. Dan Marino provided stability in the 1980s and 1990s. Since then, the Dolphins have played the game of revolving doors over the years with quarterbacks such as Chad Henne, Cleo Lemon, Joey Harrington, Jay Feely and Jay Fiedler. They hope 2012 first-round pick Ryan Tannehill is the answer. He’s shown promise, but also some holes in his game. Tannehill will get a third season to prove he’s the guy. If not, Miami must look elsewhere to find their long-term solution, especially now with the NFL increasingly becoming a heavy passing league.
  • A better front office: Talent evaluation is a huge part of a team’s long-term success, and the Dolphins have been hit and miss in that department over the years. Miami needs a general manager who is consistently adding talent and helping provide the identity of a team. What was Miami’s identity last year? The Dolphins weren’t an offensive team or a defensive team. They didn’t pass the ball well, run the ball well, or consistently stop the pass or run. The front office needs to work with the coaching staff to bring everyone together for one mission and one focus.

These are issues three decades of owners, coaches and players have yet to figure out. Miami was 8-8 last season and made a little progress from 2012. But there is still plenty of work to be done, including the hiring of a new general manager after recently parting ways with Jeff Ireland.

The next big thing: Dolphins

January, 22, 2014
Jan 22
Senior Bowl Week is in full force, and the Miami Dolphins have yet to hire a general manager to replace Jeff Ireland. That is the next big thing on Miami’s agenda as the team heads into a crucial 2014 offseason.

This upcoming year is important for many members of the Dolphins’ organization. Head coach Joe Philbin is on the hot seat after going 15-17 in two seasons. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill also is entering an important third year to determine if he’s the long-term solution. The Dolphins’ decision on their next general manager is an important piece that could help bring the team together and get everyone on the same page.

The Dolphins have interviewed seven candidates so far for their opening. I am hearing Ray Farmer of the Cleveland Browns and former Denver Broncos general manager Brain Xanders are the early favorites. But Miami may continue to bring in additional candidates over the next several days who could change its thinking.

Either way, time is running short for Miami. Following the Senior Bowl, the NFL combine is up next. The Dolphins would be in total dysfunction not to have a GM in place by that time.
MIAMI -- The Miami Dolphins conducted interviews withs three general manager candidates Friday.

The Dolphins confirmed Pittsburgh Steelers director of football administration Omar Kahn, Arizona Cardinals vice president of player personnel Jason Licht and Dolphins assistant general manager Brian Gaine have officially completed interviews. Friday was the first round of interviews as the Dolphins look to replace former general manager Jeff Ireland, who parted ways with the team earlier this week.

It was a busy day at Miami's training facility. In addition to the three interviews for the general manager opening, the Dolphins also interviewed Kyle Shanahan (Washington Redskins) and Bill Lazor (Philadelphia Eagles) for their vacant offensive coordinator job.
The Miami Dolphins have requested to interview Philadelphia Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel Tom Gamble, ESPN’s Adam Caplan reports.

Gamble is considered a strong contender for Miami’s general manager opening. I’m hearing behind the scenes that Gamble is a favorite of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, which carries a lot of weight.

Gamble has been successful building playoff teams at recent stops with the Eagles and San Francisco 49ers. The Dolphins began interviews for their general manager opening Friday after parting ways with Jeff Ireland this week after six seasons.
MIAMI -- Three additional names have emerged Thursday for the Miami Dolphins in their search to find their next general manager.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Tennessee Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson and New York Giants vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross will both interview for Miami’s job. Cleveland Browns reporter Pat McManamon also reports the Browns granted permission for Miami to interview Cleveland assistant general manager Ray Farmer.

The Dolphins will begin their general manager interviews on Friday. Former general manager Jeff Ireland parted ways with the team on Tuesday after six seasons.
The Miami Dolphins agreed to part ways with former general manager Jeff Ireland on Tuesday. It was a move that some believed was long overdue after Miami completed its fifth consecutive non-winning season.

However, the seat Ireland vacates is a good one. Here are several reasons Miami has a quality opening at general manager:

1. Plenty of cap space

[+] EnlargeRyan Tannehill
AP Photo/Wilfredo LeeIn Ryan Tannehill, the Dolphins' new general manager already has a starting quarterback in place.
Analysis: The Dolphins have 20 unrestricted and restricted free agents on their roster, many with starting experience. That means the new general manager has plenty of decisions to make. But that also means there's plenty of salary-cap space available to make decisions. Oftentimes, new general managers enter a situation where they have to purge overpaid rosters of losing teams, which usually takes a year. But that’s not the case in Miami. The new boss will have the ability to shape a good portion of the roster to his liking right away in Year 1.

2. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill

Analysis: The toughest job for a lot of new general managers is finding the right quarterback. Miami already has a young, talented quarterback in Tannehill, who will get a least another year or two to prove his worth. Tannehill showed potential under tough circumstances the past two seasons. In 2013, he had an inconsistent running game and an awful offensive line that set a franchise record for sacks allowed with 58. Still, Tannehill put up career highs in yards (3,717), touchdowns (24) and passer rating (81.7). It remains to be seen if Tannehill is Miami’s quarterback for the next seven to 10 years. He will not have the full trust of the new boss. But he’s definitely showed enough promise to prevent the new general manager from drafting a first-round quarterback in Year 1. That’s one less issue to worry about.

3. In-house talent

Analysis: The cupboard is not bare in Miami. The Dolphins have talent on their roster. Some would argue Miami had enough quality players to be a playoff team this past season and underachieved with an 8-8 finish. The Dolphins had four Pro Bowl players: center Mike Pouncey, defensive end Cameron Wake, cornerback Brent Grimes and punter Brandon Fields. Ireland also spent more than $200 million of owner Stephen Ross’ money last year in free agency before being kicked out the door. That included re-signing players such as Mike Wallace, Dannell Ellerbe and Brian Hartline to long-term contracts.

4. Weak division

Analysis: Let’s be honest: The AFC East is a bad division. It’s pretty much the New England Patriots versus everyone else. The Dolphins, New York Jets (8-8) and Buffalo Bills (6-10) are all trying to find their way. That means it won’t take much for Miami to position itself as the No. 2 team and compete in the AFC East next season with a few right moves. Catching the Patriots will continue to be difficult as long as quarterback Tom Brady is together with coach Bill Belichick. But Brady is entering the twilight of his career and will not be there forever. Miami’s new general manager has to view the AFC East as wide open in a few years.
There will be a new sheriff in town running the Miami Dolphins in 2014. Miami parted ways with general manager Jeff Ireland Tuesday after six years. The Dolphins had five consecutive non-winning seasons under Ireland, which included an 8-8 campaign in 2013.
But a new boss presents a new and interesting question for Miami: Will the Dolphins’ next general manager put their full trust in second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill?

Although Ireland and Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin didn’t agree on everything, both the front office and coaching staff were universally behind Tannehill. Ireland liked his physical tools and potential enough to take Tannehill No. 8 overall in 2012. Philbin also knew Tannehill well, because former offensive coordinator and mentor Mike Sherman coached Tannehill in college. Sherman also was fired by the Dolphins on Monday.

There was not one person in the Dolphins' facility who didn't feel Tannehill was the best quarterback on the team. The unwavering support helped Tannehill make 32 consecutive starts in his first two seasons.

But will Miami’s new general manager feel the same?

Quarterback is the most important position on the team, and a new boss usually wants to bring in his own people. Tannehill is 15-17 in two years as a starter. He’s thrown for 7,207 career yards, 36 touchdowns, 30 interceptions and has a 79.1 passer rating. Those numbers are not convincing enough for a new general manager to hitch his wagon on.

In addition to Philbin, Year 3 also is huge for Tannehill. The former first-rounder is no longer the prize pick of the general manager. He’s simply another player that Miami’s new boss inherited.

Tannehill, like Philbin, could get just one season to prove his worth to Miami’s new general manager. If neither performs well, the Dolphins could be looking at major changes at head coach and quarterback once again in 2015.