Or, to look at it from another angle, watching the Miami Dolphins got it all backwards:
Brian Flores is out as coach. General Manager Chris Grier lives. The way change should have come from any sane and rational football standpoint is the opposite – if it was really about football. Which was totally not.
“Collaboration and communication,” said owner Steve Ross, were the reasons for firing Flores.
Translation: As one source put it, he didn’t just have a troubled relationship with Grier and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He also insulted the owner. It’s not smart. This is the kind of stuff that can lead to firing at any job, even a coach where the last two years on a rebuilt roster are 19-14.
It fits with Flores’ evolving portfolio at some level. He had trouble working with people. He went through three offensive coordinators and four offensive line coaches over three years. Hence why he started last year 1-7, why this season sank—why, in short, many people don’t have much compassion for being fired.
But if Flores had his own personal shortcomings, Grier had a long start to football, right? Do we really need to go down their laundry list of personnel decisions from draft misses and free-agency mis-spending?
His last three years of overseeing a reconstruction can be summed up to a single decision:
Tagovailoa over Justin Herbert.
That alone is a decision that fires a general manager. The main reason the Dolphins underwent a massive rebuild was to acquire an elite quarterback, The Man, to form a franchise.
Has Tua shown anything as that man?
“I have a lot of trust in Tua,” Ross said. “I think the next head coach will work with him. I think he will grow.”
So why did he get permission to talk to Deshan Watson on the trade deadline? Why consider trading in for a player with sex-abuse allegations?
Ross didn’t close that door on Monday.
When asked about Watson, he said, “It will depend on the head coach what he does with the quarterback.” “It will depend on the next head coach and the direction he wants to take.”
No, no a thousand times no. The decision, which involves such allegations, begins with the owner. Do you want someone with those issues to be the face of your franchise?
Ross had this option, too: Clean houses. Decide that it is time for an entirely new regime. Flores has a hard time socializing with people. Grier is not good at team building. Instead of their customary binary way of making these decisions it would have been a viable idea to a) stays and b) goes.
Watch Ross’s moves since taking over in 2009: GM Jeff Ireland stays and coach Tony Sparano visits; Coach Joe Phoebe lives and goes to Ireland; Vice President Mike Tannenbaum and Grier stop and go to Philbin; Grier stays and Adam Gase and Tannenbaum go; Grier stays and goes to Floors.
Ross loves the shot-gun marriage of forced matches between GMs and coaches. How is this working?
The next coach will not be Jim Harbaugh of Michigan. Ross, Michigan’s biggest booster, scored a run at Harbaugh a decade ago and said he would never do it again. Is that putting Michigan above dolphin interests? A fair question to consider considering Harbaugh is rumored to be moving to a pro job.
Ross says he has no idea about the next coach. Jim Caldwell will be another one to watch. He was reportedly hired at the beginning of the Flores era before heading out the door for health reasons.
The team owner once again double-downed on Grier. They put the man who has been in control of personnel problems for years. Some are good, some are bad – and that’s how you reach mediocrity.
Ross desperately wants to win. But does he know what it takes to win? Does he understand what is stopping this team?
It’s also fair to ask: Has Ross hired on his team that you can get behind and say it was great?
Review those names: Philbin. Tannenbaum. gas. Grier. Throw Don Aponte and Dennis Hickey in the front office, seeing as they run it in different ways. Have you done any work?
His best rental was Floors.
And now he’s gone.
Again, Flores was not right. Just ask the coaches they’ve cold-heartedly fired over the years. Just look at the mistakes he made in either hiring or firing his employees. This is again the central problem this season.
No NFL team should have an aggressive staff where the flow chart reads like a roundabout. Flores also declined to say what the plays were called. It turned out to be Charlie Fry, Tua’s one-time personal coach, formerly the Central Michigan offensive coordinator. No wonder why he didn’t want to say.
When that experiment failed, he turned to George Godse, who could straighten out the crime as much as he could. It was functional considering the mismatched pieces.
A troubled offensive line. No one is following behind. The wide receiver, as his career portfolio shows, has been hit hard. And who assembled that roster?
The same GM who will assemble it next year.
Who has survived eight regime changes in the front office.
Who hasn’t seen a playoff win in his Dolphins time.
Grier stays. Flores goes.
I will take all responsibility,’ Ross said. “I own the team. If it’s not working, it’s up to me. That’s why we’re making changes.”
He had the option to clean the house completely. Flores must have taken this step since disrespecting the owner. Instead, the coach goes and the GM stays. The Dolphins, from a football standpoint, got it all backwards.