Monday, October 22, 2007

H Wayne asked

Okay, H Wayne is having an internal review to look at the team.  I have an external review for you.  Here goes:
The problem starts with you, Mr. Wayne.  You purchased the team, and all was fine.  You did some good things early on, and it looked like the ownership change might be good for the organization.  But, then you had these little details about naming rights to the stadium, and later you ownership of the Marlins that I think may have taken too much importance.  And you didn't surround yourself with good football people.  Yes, you had Shula who knew football.  But, he was busy trying to be a coach in an ever changing football landscape.  To quote him, he needed some help.
And although its not the wrong thing to do, your treatment (seemingly preferential treatment) of Dan Marino near the end of his career probably set a few things in montion that weren't right.  The coaches surely felt he was untouchable and the players undioubtedly thought he was above them.
And then came "the decision" helped Shula to decide to retire, paving the way for JJ to become the head coach.  I'm guessing you assumed that he could rekindle that fire and get you a championship quickly.  But, JJ was bunt out, and you had to talk him into coming in.  And in doing so, you sold out the organization.  JJ took full control, and there still were no football people in place.  Sure, JJ didn't single-handedly ruin the team, but he didn't do much to help it, either.  His ego got in the way of him being successful.
JJ finally decided to leave and you talked him out of it.  And he hired Dave to be his assistant, and then talked you into taking on Dave as the head coach.  Dave is a nice guy, as you noted.  I've met him, and I agree.  But, he had his problems in Chicago, and we've seen time and again that very few coaches have success after having failure somewhere else.  You made a choice here, too, to bring in a football guy in Rick Spielman.  That relationship didn't work well, in spite of them being friends.
And what did we see of the players that JJ and Dave brought in?  Well, they thought about defense and the running game.  JJ made a quote once that I've laughed at numerous times: "We're gonna run right at 'em.  And they know its coming, and its their job to stop us."  He drafted linemen, defenders, and lots of running backs.  But, were there any other skill positions addressed....most notably QB?  Nope.  Not once.
JJ ignored the position entirely, and just dealt with Marino, hoping to send him into early retirement, I believe.  Dave was able to "convince" Marino to retire.  And then he brought in "the caretaker."  A journeyman QB who had some talent, but really wasn't going to lead this team anywhere long term.  Meanwhile, he had a young Damon Huard on the team who is currently (maybe not for long) starting in Kansas City, some 10 years later.  Why not try and explore the possibilties there. 

Rick's personnel decisions were equally as bad.  Maybe he hit more than Dave, but in the end, everyone Dave drafted is gone, and most of the guys Rick picked or picked up are gone, too.  And that leads me to the world of free agency.  Rick couldn't seem to get his act together there.  He brought in guys, but he was played by them and their agents, so they'd get better deals elsewhere.  He was snookered in trades.  And he had communication problems with players who just wanted a fair shot.  He wound up losing a lot of talent from the Dolphins because he couldn't negotiate with them.  I think in the end, he was just a good guy in a really bad fit for a job.
So, the slide was in full swing.  And you, Mr Wayne, made another decision to extend Dave another year, and have him split roles with Rick.  It was a year that saw Dave destroy the team's morale.  And even though I suggetsed that Dave quit, it turned out to be a bad idea.  Sure, the team rallied behind coach Bates.  But, it was already bad and getting worse.
Once the season was over, you had a conviction to hire the best available coach.  I laud you for that.  And the choice you made certainly seemed like the right one at the time.  But, you again decided to put all your faith in the coach, rather than having football people - or for that matter someone you could trust - running the real show.  Nick had an ego the size of California.  And he only wanted people to worship him.  He was JJ times 100.  He talked a smooth game, and people at ease with his good ole boy style.  But, it was an act.  A charade.  He was really tearing the team apart from the inside.  While JJ had his guys and "the others,"  Nick was less direct, and only had those that would help him and anyone else.

We learned that he had no skill in drafting, evaluating talent, or finding free agents.  And that left Randy Mueller to do the dirty work, but only in the ways that Nick wanted.  I can understand now why Randy hesitated when you offered him a contract to be the true GM this offseason.  He has a reputation to protect.  Nick sullied it for him.  Most of Nick's picks aren't around, either.  Or are around, but only playing because someone else got hurt. 
He increased the size of the assistant coaching staff, but it seems more like he was trying to surround himself with so many people so he could make scapegoats when necessary.  When he left, I felt like you finally did *the* right thing, and put together a football organization.  You have a coach and a general manager, and a president who is capable of running a football operation.
And that should start the resurgence.  But, it can't undo 8 years of bad management.  There are so many holes on the roster.  There may a QB of the future, but it will be 2-3 years before he really "comes of age" and can play well. 
But, there are still other problems.  You put a lot of focus on the upgrades to the stadium.  It is beautiful, I'll grant you.  And it may help bring in more business.  The issue is that these upgrades don't address the needs on the field, and they are somewhat of a slap to the average fan for now.  I realize its a delicate balance, but when the team is bad, and you alienate the fan base, it is a cause for concern.
And then there's some of the coaching staff.  When Nick left, you told the assistants it was up to Cam what he wanted to do with them.  He agreed to keep most, and let them do what they do best.  Only, some of them are not getting it done.  The special teams coach was given a fast returner, but had his best contributors taken away.  Who is ultimately responsible?  Him.  His unit is not producing, and is allowing a lot of big returns.  On defense, you had the defensive MVP, signed a very expensive free agent, and only changed a couple of players.  Yet, the team went from #4 overall last year to in the bottom 5 this year, with the best talent not contributing.  Who is ultimately responsible?  The defensive coordinaor.
Maybe its time for some changes there, as well.
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Anonymous DeleteReply

the dolphins will go 0-16 this year

Anonymous DeleteReply

you hit it right on the button!