NFL Nation: ryan tannehill

The Miami Dolphins have approximately $16.4 million in salary-cap room remaining. But the team is at the point where they are bargain hunting in free agency and preparing for the NFL draft.

Miami spent big in free agency during the first week, and that included its $47 million contract to Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert. But the key portion of that contract is guaranteed money, and according to ESPN Stats & Information, Albert got the second-most guaranteed money in free agency this year with $26 million.

The Dolphins clearly are heavily invested in Albert protecting the blindside of third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill. These two players will be closely linked together in the success of Miami’s offense next season and potentially beyond. Miami allowed a franchise-record 58 quarterback sacks last season, and Albert is expected to reduce that number.

Albert has a tall task of stopping the opposing team’s best pass-rusher on a weekly basis. But he is being compensated well for his services.

Albert’s guaranteed money is only surpassed by Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd, who received $26.3 million in guaranteed money after leaving the Buffalo Bills for the New Orleans Saints this offseason. New Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib was slightly behind Albert with $25.5 million in guarantees.

The 2014 season is important for many within the Miami Dolphins' organization. One of those people facing plenty of pressure to perform this upcoming season is third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Tannehill was drafted No. 8 overall in 2012. Since then he is 15-17 as a starter and has never posted a winning season. Tannehill has shown flashes of ability but has been unable to end Miami's five-year playoff drought.

ESPN NFL analyst Keyshawn Johnson caught up with Tannehill during the Adidas football shoot in Los Angeles. Tannehill knows this is an important third season to prove he's the long-term solution in Miami.

"It's huge. I have to make a big jump, I'm aware of that," Tannehill said. "I’m putting in the work, putting in the time to get myself physically ready, mentally ready and learn this new offense that we’re going with this year. So there is still work to be done.

"But I look for a big jump in myself, both in production and wins. That’s what we ultimately play for is wins. So, I’m excited to see what this team does."

The Dolphins finished 8-8 last season and missed the playoffs by one game. Tannehill and Miami's offense sputtered down the stretch and scored just seven points in the final two games. That led to the firing of offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, who was replaced by Bill Lazor.

Miami made several additions to help Tannehill in free agency. The Dolphins added Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert to improve pass protection and new tailback Knowshon Moreno to provide a spark in the running game.

But the Dolphins' season will sink or swim with Tannehill's development. ESPN analyst and former NFL general manager Bill Polian believes Tannehill needs to make quicker decisions.

“He needs to get the ball out of his hands more quickly to hit open receivers,” Polian said on ESPN’s “NFL Insiders” Wednesday. “In doing that it will increase passing-game efficiency and eliminate some of those league-leading 58 sacks.”

In case you missed it, here is my full column on Tannehill entering Year 3.
The Miami Dolphins invested $3 million this season in tailback Knowshon Moreno to boost their 26th-ranked running game. Due to his production last season and experience, Moreno is projected to be the Week 1 starter in Miami.

But former longtime Indianapolis Colts general manager and ESPN analyst Bill Polian is not impressed with the signing. Polian graded Moreno as a “C” free agent.

Here were Polian’s comments on’s free-agent tracker:
“Solid contributor, but not a No. 1 back. I think most of his success from 2013 was a function of the system. His acceleration to the hole is the reason for the speed minus. The rest of his game is good, he just doesn't hit the big plays you need from a No. 1 RB.”

As Polian mentioned, many believe Moreno was a product of Denver Broncos’ system. He was a former first-round bust until future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning arrived in Denver. Those same large running lanes will not be there in Miami.

The Dolphins are expecting Moreno to be their No. 1 option to help third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas could not get the job done last season. Miami is hoping at least one of those two players will improve their game in a complimentary role.

It was a tough free-agent market for running backs. Moreno is coming off a career year where he rushed for 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns. But Moreno said he only talked to the Dolphins before signing a one-year contract last week.
ORLANDO, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins have high expectations for their offense this upcoming season after hiring Bill Lazor from the Philadelphia Eagles. The former Eagles quarterbacks coach did a terrific job with Pro Bowler Nick Foles in Philadelphia last season.

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly met with the media Wednesday during the NFL’s owners meetings in Orlando. Kelly, who led Philadelphia to the playoffs in 2013, had high praise for Lazor.

“I think everybody’s product of what you see on the field and, obviously, Nick deserves credit because Nick’s the one who’s playing,” Kelly said. “But Billy was the guy that got him prepared to play, so I think Billy did a great job with him. I think he’s got great experience in terms of being a coordinator at the college level but has also coached with the Seahawks and the Falcons and the Redskins. … I thought it was a great opportunity for him and I think he’s going to do a really good job down there.”

Lazor has coordinator experience in college. But this is his first coordinator position in the NFL. Lazor will be in charge of the play-calling duties in Miami, as well.

The Dolphins struggled mightily on offense last season and failed to run or pass with any consistency. Miami was ranked 20th in passing and 26th in rushing.

A major part of Miami’s success will hinge on third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is 15-17 as a starter. Success at the quarterback position is the best chance Miami has of becoming a playoff contender. Lazor did wonders with Foles last year, and the Dolphins are hoping to have similar success with Tannehill.

“Billy’s very, very intelligent I think one of the first things that struck me when we first interviewed him was his intelligence just kind of jumps out at you,” Kelly explained. “He’s an Ivy League guy that has a great way of teaching and has great knowledge in terms of the game. He did a great job with our quarterback position.”

Change is good for Joe Philbin

March, 25, 2014
Mar 25
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin walked into the ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton on Tuesday with a sly grin on his face. His table was packed with local and national media seeking answers for all that went wrong during a tumultuous season in Miami.

[+] EnlargeJoe Philbin
AP Photo/Lynne SladkyAfter a season filled with scandal, the Dolphins need to see the accessible side of Joe Philbin that he's displaying this week.
"Do I need to eat my last meal before I get in front of you guys?" Philbin joked to loosen the mood.

This was a new and improved Philbin at the NFL owners meetings. I counted seven jokes from Philbin during his hourlong session. All were genuine. All were off-the-cuff and nothing was planned or cookie-cutter.

Philbin has been criticized -- justly -- for being too robotic during his first two seasons. He reads postgame speeches from index cards. His past media sessions were much closer to Bill Belichick than Rex Ryan.

At times the Dolphins have played like Philbin's coaching persona -- flat. The irony is that Philbin has shown flashes of personality and charisma in the past.

Tuesday's media session was as personable and candid as it gets for Philbin. He was honest and nonevasive in his answers. Philbin took responsibility for the Dolphins' bullying scandal and vowed to be a better leader of men.

Philbin even said new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor promised to get starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill's passer rating up to 119.2, which was Nick Foles' rating with the Philadelphia Eagles last season. The local media initially thought Philbin was serious.

"It was a joke," Philbin said, sparking laughter at the table again. "So anyway..."

This is the coach Dolphins players want to see. This is the coach Dolphins players need to see. According to Philbin, he will roam the hallways at the training facility more often and visit the locker room more frequently to talk with players. Those things should contribute to a stronger workplace environment.

"I talked about visibility, and I think that's important," Philbin said Tuesday. "Accessibility also is important. They're a little bit tied together."

Coaching in the NFL is more than X's and O's. It's a game that takes an immense physical and emotional toll on players. Those players want to know they're being coached by someone who genuinely cares. It took Philbin two nonwinning seasons and a high-profile bullying scandal to learn that lesson, but it is not too late for him to adjust.

It's no secret that the 2014 season is huge for Philbin, who is 15-17 in his first two years. He must start winning in Year 3 to improve his job security. Connecting with players and having a stronger pulse of his locker room could go a long way.

"I'm working with our players and helping them reach their potential -- that's really all the focus that I have," Philbin explained. "I'm not thinking about what year I am, what year I got here, how many more years I will be here. I'm concentrating on doing as good a job as I possibly can this year."
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins held a group dinner Tuesday night following the five-year, $47 million contract signing of left tackle Branden Albert.

General manager Dennis Hickey and several Dolphins coaches attended. But there was one Dolphins player who was all smiles.

“Probably the happiest person at the dinner table was Ryan Tannehill,” Hickey said Wednesday during Albert’s introductory news conference. “He was really excited about the opportunity to have a player of [Albert’s] caliber on our team.”

Tannehill is smart enough to know that nothing helps a young quarterback more than rock-solid pass protection on the blind side. Tannehill didn’t get that last year in his second season. The Dolphins set a franchise record for quarterback sacks allowed with 58, which held back both Tannehill and Miami's struggling offense.

The Dolphins opened their wallet and made a huge investment on the first day of free agency to land Albert, who is a premier player at a premier position. Tannehill is entering a huge third year and better pass protection will allow the Dolphins to properly evaluate whether he can be the long-term solution.

The left tackle-quarterback relationship will be key to Miami’s success in 2014. It appears Albert and Tannehill already are developing a quick rapport.

“It’s very important; I got to protect the blind side,” Albert said. “We all know how important that is. The quarterback got to be upright to do their job, and that’s what I’m here for.”

Albert has the potential to be a difference-maker for the Dolphins. He experienced a big turnaround last season in Kansas City and hopes to continue that success in Miami this upcoming season. The Dolphins haven't been to the playoffs since 2008.

“He’s always been a targeted guy from the first day I got here,” Hickey said of Albert. “He’s the first guy coach Philbin and I sat down and watched. ... It was clear he was going to be the targeted player for us.”
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.

It's now or never for Ryan Tannehill

February, 28, 2014
Feb 28
MIAMI -- There is no way around it: The Miami Dolphins are in a dark place.

[+] EnlargeMiami's Ryan Tannehill
Chris Trotman/Getty ImagesRyan Tannehill has done little to establish himself as the Dolphins' franchise quarterback.
They are coming off a season that included a high-profile bullying scandal, a late-December collapse and the firing of general manager Jeff Ireland and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. There also was the fallout following the Ted Wells report that resulted in the firings of offensive line coach Jim Turner and head trainer Kevin O'Neill.

But one player is capable of removing the dark cloud that hangs over the Dolphins' franchise: quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

The 2012 first-round pick is entering a crucial year. If he develops into a legitimate franchise quarterback, the Dolphins could be a playoff contender next season and many of their problems would be forgotten. But if Tannehill falters in his third NFL season, there will be repercussions. Jobs could be lost in Miami.

That puts a lot of pressure on Tannehill, 25, who is entering a make-or-break 2014 season after throwing for 3,913 yards, 24 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 2013. Potential must become a reality or there could be a new quarterback under center in 2015.

After two seasons, Tannehill's resume has come closer to resembling former Dolphins draft bust Chad Henne's than Hall of Famer Dan Marino's. Henne was 13-14 in his first two seasons as a starter; Marino was 21-4 over the same span. Tannehill is 15-17, playing mostly in less-than-ideal circumstances.

"I'm a big Tannehill fan," NFL scout Matt Williamson said. "I think his supporting cast, with the [depleted] offensive line and zero running game, has hurt him dramatically.

"I think he excels this year, despite his circumstances. But I also hesitate to say that until I see the status of the Dolphins' opening-day offensive line."

There already was a report this offseason indicating that Tannehill will have a slimmer margin for error. According to CBS Sports, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin told general manager candidates during the interview process that he wants more competition for Tannehill. Philbin, who might need to make the playoffs to keep his job, reportedly informed GM candidates that he would not be afraid to bench Tannehill for backup Matt Moore if Tannehill struggles.

The Dolphins neither confirmed nor denied the report last week at the NFL combine. "I can't respond to speculation," Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey said. "I'm not about that, but I believe in Ryan Tannehill."

The NFL is a passing league, and few quarterbacks get four years to prove they can flourish. Other quarterbacks from the famed 2012 draft class have already experienced success. Seattle's Russell Wilson is a Super Bowl champion. Andrew Luck led Indianapolis to the postseason twice. Nick Foles took Philadelphia to the playoffs this past season and Robert Griffin III did the same for Washington in 2012. These players are firmly grounded in their starting quarterback roles for their respective teams after just two seasons.

Tannehill has not come close to the level of success of his peers. He has yet to record a winning season. Tannehill has been just good enough to keep his starting job but not convincing enough to prove he's the long-term solution in Miami.

Former Chicago Bears GM Jerry Angelo recently offered a scathing scouting report on Tannehill.

"He's an athlete who is trying to develop into a QB. His arm is good, but his accuracy is questionable," Angelo wrote on "He isn't comfortable from within the pocket. Led the league in sacks, something isn't right, given he's an athletic QB. Protection is one thing, 'feel' is another. When things aren't going well, he can't pull himself or his team out of it. Those aren't good signs for a signal-caller."

The Dolphins changed offensive coordinators in January, hiring Bill Lazor in hopes of lighting a spark to Tannehill's career and addressing his weaknesses. Lazor was the quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia and did wonders last season with Foles. The Dolphins are hoping Lazor has similar success with Tannehill, who arguably has more natural ability than Foles.

"I'm excited to work with him because I see a lot of ability," Lazor recently said of Tannehill. "[But] it would be premature to make an evaluation of what he can be and what he can do because I haven't been around him that much."

Williamson likes the addition of Lazor and what he brings to Tannehill and to Miami's offense.

"A new offensive coordinator could go a long way," Williamson explained. "Tannehill is way better than Foles. At a minimum, I bet Tannehill puts up big numbers. But the offensive line does need major upgrades."

The Dolphins clearly have a leadership void, evident in the findings in the 144-page Wells report. Three offensive linemen -- Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey -- were allowed to harass and bully Jonathan Martin, other teammates and an assistant trainer, according to the report.

Tannehill is one of the key players who must step up his leadership. One of the key components of being a starting quarterback and a face of the franchise is the ability to lead others. Tannehill has not demonstrated that ability to this point.

In many ways, it's now or never for Tannehill. The Dolphins have waited long enough for him to develop into a consistent, legitimate franchise quarterback. The 2014 season could be his final chance to prove it in Miami.

Strength of schedule: Miami Dolphins

February, 10, 2014
Feb 10
The 2014 season will be a year of no excuses for the Miami Dolphins. It could be a make-or-break season for many in Miami, including third-year head coach Joe Philbin and third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins finished 8-8 in 2013 and in third place in the AFC East.

Next season Miami must thrive against the 12th-toughest strength of schedule in the NFL. It includes six games against playoff teams from last season. The Dolphins will play the rival New England Patriots twice, the San Diego Chargers, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs and the reigning AFC champion Denver Broncos. None of these games will be easy.

Miami also faces a unique challenge next season: traveling to London to face the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 28. The long travel could have an adverse effect on the Dolphins if the team isn’t well-prepared. Miami is expected to have an early bye after the London trip, so the team can get its schedule back to normal.

However, one of Miami’s biggest issues has been winning in the AFC East. The Dolphins are just 4-8 against division opponents the past two seasons under Philbin. He must change that in 2014 if he wants to prove he is the long-term solution in Miami. Philbin is just 15-17 in his first two seasons.
CBS Sports national NFL reporter Jason La Canfora wrote a column on the Miami Dolphins Friday with several interesting nuggets. But perhaps the most intriguing note comes at the quarterback position.

La Canfora reports Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin told general manager candidates during interviews that Tannehill could be on a shorter leash in 2014. A source indicated Philbin wants to have more competition at quarterback to push Tannehill, and Philbin won’t be afraid to make a change next season if needed.

Both Philbin and Tannehill are 15-17 in Miami and enter a crucial Year 3 together. Here is what La Canfora wrote about the situation.
Philbin's job is riding on Tannehill progressing. I wouldn't doubt a little more pressure from highly paid back–up Matt Moore ($4M salary; $5.5M in cap) in 2014, with Philbin professing his belief in Moore to several of the GM candidates and demanding more from Tannehill.

"He definitely wants to push Tannehill more," said one source who has spoken to Philbin about the quarterbacks, "and if he doesn't see improvement he said he might go to Moore at some point. He definitely has a lot of faith in Moore, and they're paying him a lot of money."

If the report is accurate, I think it’s bad news for Tannehill and the Dolphins to have discussions about a shorter leash in February. Moore clearly is not the long-term solution in Miami, and benching Tannehill would only be a panic move. Tannehill is the best quarterback option the Dolphins have and has the higher ceiling.

It’s still too early to say whether Tannehill is the answer in Miami. But the organization must be 100-percent behind Tannehill this season in order to provide him the best chance to succeed.

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.
The Buffalo Bills were a 6-10 team in 2013, but two of those wins came via a sweep of the Miami Dolphins. Those ugly losses essentially knocked Miami (8-8) out of playoff contention and resulted in changes within the organization.

But the Dolphins received some good news Thursday with the Cleveland Browns hiring Mike Pettine as their next head coach. Buffalo’s former defensive coordinator was a major reason Miami struggled mightily against the Bills.

The Dolphins averaged just 10.5 points per game in two contests against Pettine’s defenses. Miami’s 19-0 shutout loss to Buffalo was easily the Dolphins’ worst performance of the season. Pettine learned under New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, who also had success late in the season against Miami.

Pettine climbed the NFL ladder fast, from a defensive coordinator in New York who didn’t call plays and wasn't fully in charge of the Jets' defense. He left for the Bills in 2013 to take over their defense, and the Browns came calling with their head-coaching position a year later.

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw for 276 combined yards and was sacked nine times against Buffalo last season. Tannehill and the Dolphins can breathe a little easier now that Pettine is out of the division in 2014.
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.
New Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is aware of the lack of job security facing head coach Joe Philbin.

Miami’s head coach is entering make-or-break Year 3. However, Philbin’s job status was not a deterrent for Lazor to leave a stable situation with the Philadelphia Eagles for uncertainty in Miami.

“Right now, my future and his future are together,” Lazor said candidly Wednesday in a conference call with the Miami media. “I’m with him. I’m in it with him, and that’s how I approach it every day. I choose to compete and I choose to make an impact and be a difference-maker. That’s why I’m here.”

Lazor was hired by the Dolphins on Wednesday to improve the NFL’s 27th-ranked offense. There are several pieces in place. Miami has a young, promising quarterback in Ryan Tannehill and three receivers with at least 60 receptions last season. But it will be Lazor’s job to bring more balance and help Tannehill reach his full potential -- before it's too late.

But according to Lazor, Philbin was a big selling point. Both coaches believe in the West Coast offense, and this pair must shine next season to avoid more turnover on the coaching staff. Philbin is 15-17 in two seasons in Miami, and that's not good enough.

“He really sold me on the fact that this is the kind of person who can lead an organization,” Lazor said. “This is the kind of coach that is committed to winning, and I felt like I could come and help and picture myself working with him to build a winner.”

Lazor confirmed that he will call plays for Miami. This is the first time he’s called plays at the NFL level. However, Lazor would not confirm whether more changes are forthcoming with position coaches on offense.




Sunday, 2/2