Friday, December 19, 2014

A crafty maneuver?

I was surprised to see that ticket prices remained the same over the course of the week, about $30 for the Vikings, and nearly $50 for the Dolphins.  And the inventory for both remained at around 2,500.

Meanwhile parking passes "sold out" for the vikings at well over market value (when paying cash on game day will be cheaper), and is nearing a sellout for the Jets game at $60+....

That just doesn't feel right to me.  So I did a little investigating, and turned up ....nothing. 

But I did notice that the Dolphins under Tom Garfinke changed their approach to selling tickets (particularly to season ticket holders). He hired a bunch of people, and came up with a strategy to sell not only tickets but "experiences" - they threw in extras like trips to Seaworld, meets with former players, and so on.  And they also offered these two games "for free" for new season ticket members next year.

Not only that, they came up with a modified way to exchange tickets seamlessly that they marketed to season ticket holders, so the secondary market is reduced - and they keep the price point up.

In other words, they better control the market.  Its also possible (though this is only a guess) that they're buying tickets from secondary sellers if the price is low, and adding more inventory to the mix as they think they need to.  Why would I say this?  Because it helps keeps the price point up a little, and would help explain why nothing changed on stubhub.

Regardless, they are being crafty and clever.  And that's maybe a little surprising.  But it also might mean they owner is being equally crafty and clever about his next step with the team - maybe he has a plan for the coaching of the team.  Maybe he just isn't ready to tip his hand.  Because last time he went on a public chase of Harbaugh and that led to a bad place....maybe he learned from it...

And by the way, I was thinking this afternoon that pretty much every year for the last 15 years we have been talking about the offseason, coaching changes, who's available in the draft, etc during the last month of the season - rather than playoffs or bright the future outlooks.  Its weird, and yet its become so regular its hard to remember what it was like when the Dolphins were always relevant.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Who Will Coach The Dolphins In 2015??

So who will coach the Miami Dolphins in 2015? There are a ton of names out there and it is going to be interesting to see what Mr. Ross is going to do after week 17. Here is my opinion on some of the names being thrown in the mix of potential candidates of the 2015 Dolphins…

Joe Philbin:
He is the current coach of the Dolphins. Some argue that there is no upgrade other than Jim Harbaugh. I beg to differ, we will get into that later. I believe that Philbin just doesn’t have “it”. He has over 30 years of coaching experience at multiple levels. If he does not get the simplest of concepts by now, such as proper use of time outs, then he never will. It is my personal opinion that he simply is not the right fit for the job. Look at Bruce Arians, he was a lifetime assistant and he had a smooth transition to head coach. How many times has his coaching cost the Cardinals a win?
Chances he remains the coach in 2015-50% (Unfortuanately)

Jim Harbaugh:
Here we have a proven winner. He has won everywhere he has coached. Does he have a huge ego? Yes. Does he demand things? Yes. Does he set a standard for his players such as no music on the plane ride? Yes. Are all of these things good enough reasons to not hire him even though he is a winning coach? Absolutely not. These Dolphins need a leader, they need a vicious Rottweiler that will bite when his cage is rattled to lead the pack. Right now we are a bunch of lost puppies waiting to be adopted at the pound being house next to pussycats that we are most likely scared of. Harbaugh is that guy.
But wait!!...He went to a San Francisco team that was already built to win right?! I ask you this, does Tony Dungy sport a Super Bowl ring from Tampa Bay? No, Jon Gruden does. Does Tony Dungy get blamed for the Colts losing the Super Bowl when Jim Caldwell was the coach? No. Did Bill Cowher get sent a super bowl ring when Mike Tomlin won a champinionship with the Steelers? Sometimes it takes the right person, the right fit to take a team over the top and make them a contender. What good is a perfectly good puzzle if you are relying on the blind to put it together?
Now we have the fact the Michigan offered him $8 million a year for 6 years to be the next head coach. That is great news in my opinion. All the talk of trading him for draft picks went right out the door and on top of that, it just the list of teams that want his services in half. As reported by Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Stephen Ross is a pretty deep pocketed owner in the NFL so that might actually pay dividends for Miami. There are 4 questions that must be answered if there is any hope of Harbaugh to Miami:
Is Stephen Ross willing and ready to pay Harbaugh Bill Belichick money?
Is Stephen Ross willing to fire Hickey and possibly a few others and concede power to Harbaugh if/when he asks for it?
Is Jim Harbaugh & his wife willing to relocate their family?
What kind of situation does Harbaugh want? Does he want a rebuild or a smoother transition?
If he wants a smooth transition, then Miami is the place to go. In my opinion, Miami is the best option for any potential coach out there right now. It is the “premier” job of all that will be available unless a firing comes out of left field which is highly unlikely. Any coach can make the playoffs in year one with the Dolphins. Those chances go down drastically for a team like the Raiders
Chances he is the next coach-35%

Rex Ryan:
This is an interesting name. I personally like him as a coach. He has had a horrible Jets roster lately and it keeps getting worse. I don’t know anyone that can turn chicken shit into chicken salad! Look at when he had a halfway decent roster, 2 AFC championship games.
If he is hired by the Dolphins, I would love for him to keep Bill Lazor and turn control of the offense completely over to him and let it be ran by Lazor. Let’s face it, Rex is a defensive coach and a damn good one but his offensive mind has been suspect at times. I think a combination of Ryan and Lazor would spell disaster for the AFC quite honestly. The most important thing I see in Rex is that he is a player’s coach. The Jets play for the man. Look at last year, they were out of the playoffs and they said all week long when they played Miami, “We are playing for our coach”, “we came out and won this game for Rex”, do you think the Dolphin players would do that for Philbin? They might say it to the media this week or next but I highly doubt there will be any truth to it. Rex is a leader, something I believe Miami needs desperately. If we don’t get Harbaugh, this would be my second choice.
Chances he is the next coach-10%

Todd Bowles:
Also another interesting name. Looking back, I think Miami screwed the pooch when they didn’t hire this guys the first time. He was interim coach for a few games and had the team playing well. He is an excellent defensive coach and again, the players play for him. He has a way of motivating his team. You can have the best game plan in the world but if your players go out and just go through the motions then what good does it do? Hiring Bowles would be one hell of a gamble but I think it would pay off tremendously. Will Ross double back and have interest in Bowles? Will Bowles even be interested after getting beat out by Philbin the first time? That is anyone’s guess. I would have this guy on my short list of candidates if I were Ross.
Chances he is the next coach-5%

What are your thought on these individuals and others not mentioned here???

Something is amiss

Jim Mandich used to say about some situations "when I put it to my
nose, it doesn't smell so rosy."

And in this case, you can apply it to the Harbaugh situation.

We hear that Harbaugh has been offered a huge contract at Michigan.
You have to naturally wonder what's to be gained by letting this
information slip. Is it a legit offer? Or is it a bargaining chip
planted by someone to provide leverage - particularly when it comes to
the 49ers saying they might allow another pro team to *trade* for his

Or is it maybe something in between?

And the curious part, to me, is the fact that one Stephen Ross is the
largest donor at Michigan, and he has some kind of magical powers
granted by the state. His name is on the athletic building. He was
there when the last AD and coach were under fire, answering questions
about his favorite football program.

You have to assume that someone with that sort of power would have
been asked about such a contract. That he would have been consulted
about the coaching search.

Now I'm not trying to imply that there is anything underhanded going
on here. I have no idea, no knowledge of anything other than what I
see published or what someone closer to Michigan (again NOT an
insider) might share. But. It seems kind of odd that Ross' college
team makes an offer to a guy under contract in the pros....and the net
result could very well be that coach could be freed up to coach his
pro team.

It certainly smacks of something not-quite-right.

Now that said, I suspect that Ross wants Harbuagh to coach at
Michigan. And in the end there's no controversy. He gets him at a
program he loves, and can hobnob with him to his hearts content.

And as far as the Dolphins, he's going to take the proverbial "path of
least resistance" and say he thinks the Dolphins are heading in the
right direction, and while he's disappointed that they didn't make the
playoffs, he's keeping Philbin. Its less work for him; no time
invested in coaching search.

And it frees him up to focus on Michigan, which is the football
program he really loves anyway. ;)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Rex Ryan Scary Thought

When you look at football teams a lot of people often think season by season. However, with the salary cap and 4-5 year contracts that give upfront money which a team is on the hook for over 4-5 years, football teams are now really shaped by choices made over several seasons. This team is still in large, a team shaped by Jeff Ireland. It is also shaped by Joe Philbin as I am sure he had imput on players and directly was involved in developing the young players on the team. With that being said I would say it would be fair to say Joe Philbin has a significant part in the team we have today and Dennis Hickey has a much smaller part in the team we have today. Should Joe Philbin be fired? My answer to that question would be, well  are medicore results good enough?

My general feeling is that medicore is not good enough for a man that just invested several hundred million into stadium upgrades. A stadium that will probably not be selling a lot of hot dogs, sodas, and t-shirts for 2 out of the 8 home games to end the season.  I am not saying Ross is ready to fire Philbin, I am just saying IMO he will be looking around. I am very much pushing for him to make another run at Jim Harbaugh. I was in the minority when I supported him doing it the first time because he looked foolish doing with Sporano as his head coach at the time. BTW, how did Sporano's last season turn out? Did he go about it in the wrong way, yes he did. Did he do the right thing chasing Harbaugh? Yes he did. There is no certainty that San Francisco is going to release Jim Harbaugh. Clearly, Harbaugh does not like the management and the feeling is mutal so I think a parting is likely. But again, it is currently up in the air. If there is no Jim Harbaugh, then what? Well the next popular name going around is Rex Ryan. I do get it, he is considered a defensive mastermind. You put him with our skill players and Lazor and we suddenly have a competitive team right? Hmm. Well that COULD be the case. But I like to look at results, Rex Ryan has about the same success record wise as Philbin has had. The Jets just have chosen to stick with medicore for 6 years now. Is he really an upgrade? 

As I started off this article pointing out, it is multiple seasons that shape a team. The more seasons a GM and coach are running the team, the more they have directly shaped the team.  The New York Jets are a complete mess right now. They are like the "Dolphins after Nick Saban coached" kind of a mess. Who are the people most responsible for this mess? I would have to the say the two most impactful people are Rex Ryan and Mike Tannebaum.  Now what I am hearing is Mike Tannebaum is "advising" Steven Ross and Rex Ryan's name is a consideration for coach.  To me that is a scary thought. We just went through the dark ages in coaching and management. I really don't want the 2018-2019 Dolphins to resemble the 2013-2014 Jets. It is not about where you are but also where you are going. I hope Ross keeps that in mind.

Shades of Cam Cameron

I was in a meet and greet with a new executive at the company I work for.  It came time for some Q&A and he was asked about how we measure our success.

He goes on a for a minute or two, and then adds "its okay to fail, and if we do fail, we need to FAIL FORWARD FAST!"

I'm guessing he attended the same seminar as Cam Cameron?

If I hear something about hiring the Ginn family, I will be afraid. Very afraid.

Turn those thumbs up employees.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Surprising twist (ticket availability)

I was thinking about maybe catching one of the last two games for the Fins. I figured with them that out of the playoff picture, maybe I could pick up a few on the cheap.

So I went over to subhub, and would you believe that tickets to the Minnesota game this week are still at over $30?! And for the Jets next week, its around $50?!

What is up with that? And each has only about 2,800 ticket inventory.

I don't get it.

Something to think about

As we look to the future, and consider whether to keep Tannehill and Lazor, I think that's not the best idea.  And here's why: NFL defenses are starting to figure out the offense that Chip Kelly brought to the league.

Like most other innovations, it just takes time before the defenses adjust.  And since Lazor comes from the Kelly school, it might not be worthwhile to assume it will remain effective - and stick with that offense.  That's not to say he can't innovate again or run a modified offense.  But staying the course and running the same system may not end well in the near future - perhaps even next season.

I did a quick bit of analysis, and see that scoring, number of plays run, total yards, and 1st downs are trending lower, while time of possession in Miami is slightly up, and flat in Philadelphia.

Also, you see more attempts to compensate - like the player "getting injured" for the cowboys at a crucial time last night.

So I'm all for getting a new head coach and letting him pick the people that he thinks are suited to his style, rather than trying to force fit a coach into a system.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Time For Ross to Play Poker

It appears that Jim Harbaugh has worn out his welcome in San Francisco.  However, he still is under contract for one more season leading people to speculate the 49ners will want a draft pick for him. There are clearly some teams interested in Harbaugh such as the Jets, Dolphins, Raiders, not to mention Michigan. This creates some very interesting dynamics on many fronts.  Firstly, the NFL tamper rules are almost impossible to enforce in this case. Steven Ross is a MAJOR contributor to the University of Michigan and has a ton of weight there.  Ross is going to get information on Harbaugh from any discussions he has with Michigan. Do you really think Michigan is not going to communicate to a guy that gave the university a couple HUNDRED million? Ross can basically interview Harbaugh right now if he wants, just not in person. I know if I am Michigan and Harbaugh tells me he wants to stay in the NFL, I am probably going to do Steven Ross a “solid” and interview him for the "Michigan Miami" job anyway.  Furthermore, despite the 49ners holding the contract, it is essentially has no teeth.  I don’t see any team giving up draft picks to San Francisco unless Harbaugh agrees to a multi-year deal. Why would you give them picks for a coach with just a 1 year contract?

So that brings you to the end of the year.  The 49ners one play is to sit still and wait for team to make them a offer before letting Harbaugh go. However, there is one problem. They have to chase their own head coach still. It is a free for all once the season ends. Do the 49ners really want to pass up interviewing coaches to try to squeeze a draft pick out of Harbaugh?  Miami on the other hand can start interviewing coaches and line up options A, B and C.   Also, there is one other issue; Jim Harbaugh does not want a draft pick to go to the 49ners for him. Why in the hell would he want that, it would be HIS PICK on his new team?  Good luck getting Harbaugh to cooperate in that situation lol. The 49ners could try to keep him in contract and interview other coaches. However, they start flirting with some serious legal issues. It is pretty hard to hold someone under a employment contract without the intent of honoring that contract .  Harbaugh would have a pretty strong case that they intentionally cost him a 4-5 year deal. Not to mention does the coach you are are interviewing feel good about seeing you do that the coach he is replacing? Miami did this exact thing, that is why Tony Sporano got a nice raise for his last year in Miami. I don't think the 49ners are going to want to give Harbaugh a raise on his final year to avoid him from talking to an attorney.

If Steven Ross really wants Harbaugh, now is the time to make it happen.  If I were Ross I would be talking to Harbaugh indirectly right now through my Michigan contacts. I would get a deal in place and then they both can just sit and play poker with 49ners and wait for them to just give in and release Harbaugh. Make no mistake; I would make this Jim Harbaugh’s team right now even if it won’t be official for 2-3 weeks.  It is a doggy dog world.  Miami got Don Shula when the disgruntled owner of the Colts left the country.  I would say that move worked out ok. Ross needs to start pulling out the stops right now. Harbaugh is not returning to the 49ners don't be passive if you want him!

On a similar note if Harbaugh is not the guy and he is interested in Rex Ryan, it just so happens he will be in Miami the last game of the season. Maybe, he would prefer to have an extended stay there? Again the Jets are not keeping Ryan, if you want him don't be passive.
This is Steven Ross's chance to be the man that gets deals done and not look like a buffon in a bow tie.

Fire Philbin!

We all knew that the Dolphins would lose to the Patriots. Heck I heard everyone - including those that are total homers - say that the Dolphins had no chance in the game.

And lose they did.  Big.  Maybe bigger than anyone expected.

That leaves the Dolphins tied for the 11th-best record in the AFC (tied with Cleveland), just above the 2- and 3- win teams.

Maybe they still have a mathematical chance of getting there.  But it would take them winning both, and two team losing both games, and a bunch of other teams losing 1 *just to get to the tiebreaker* .... the odds are ridiculous and not worth considering.

Stephen Ross has no upside here.  Keeping Philbin beyond this season serves no purpose.  Heck, keeping hime *for* this season served no purpose.  He should have been fired after bullygate - and that means this was a completely wasted season.  The second, I might add, while Ross has been the owner (the other was when Ross courted Harbaugh while he still had a coach in Sparano)....

No good comes from keeping a coach that should have been fired, and when he knows it - its that much worse.

And lets be honest here.  Yes, perhaps this team was "better" when you measure it against the teams that have been in Miami over the last few years.  And maybe they have shown "progression" in some way.  But if they wind up somewhere between 7 and 9 wins, and out of the playoffs again is that good enough?

They were blown out a couple of times, and they surprised by blowing out a couple of teams.  And in the end, you are what your record says you are.  Which is AVERAGE.

Realizing that, and that Philbin should (and hopefully will) be fired in two weeks, why not go ahead and get it over with and lose him now.  Start the search and make it known you're in the market for a coach.

A new guy is going to come in and he'll have his own style and may or may not keep some coordinators, Tannehill, and anyone else. But who really cares?  This team was so mediocre, that they might as well bring in a new QB and start again.

Let's All Have A Good Laugh Shall We?

Some Dolphin players said this week:

"We can control what we can control and that starts with the Patriots." To that I say HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Miami has been a really good 3rd quarter team. To that I say HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Some said, including me, that Miami was a playoff team this year. To that I say HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Some said Miami is an 8 win team and at this point that is looking less and less likely so I say HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

We thought this was Jeff Ireland's fault. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

We also thought this was Mike Sherman's fault. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

We thought Kevin Coyle learned his lesson leaving Phillip Wheeler 1 on 1 in coverage. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Let's all at least be grateful that it was again an exciting season until December. Hey! There is some consistency to these Dolphins! And we thought they were inconsistent!