On Monday and Tuesday of this week the ax came down on two of the Miami Dolphins important team pieces. Monday marked the firing of offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, and Tuesday the Dolphins and Jeff Ireland “parted ways.”
Miami had a chance to make the playoffs this season and were in control of their own destiny. All that needed to be done was win out. That sounds difficult, but not as much so when it’s only two games and your opponents are a broken down Buffalo Bills team and a New York Jets team that was already eliminated from the playoffs. The Dolphins laid an egg against the Bills in a contest that featured virtually no offense, and against the Jets they squeaked out one touchdown. The worst part about these two losses is the week prior to the Bills game, the Dolphins had a great comeback win against the New England Patriots. After a high of beating the Patriots at home and then dropping the next two to not only miss the playoffs, but come in third in the division behind the already eliminated Jets, was a disaster.
So that is where the Mike Sherman firing is justified. Not only in those two weeks, but throughout the season you never knew which Dolphins offense you would see. Would we see the Dolphins that solidly put up twenty plus points throughout the game, or the sputtering mess that might score one touchdown? Sherman’s play calling was questioned the whole year. His play calling lacked creativity, but at times was brilliant. One week he would call a fourth down tight end screen to keep the game winning drive alive and the next he would abandon the running game from the first snap in the second half. Sherman was wildly inconsistent and that is why he is looking for a new job.
Jeff Ireland’s dismissal isn’t as clear cut of the reasoning for his mutual agreement to part ways with the Dolphins organization. The assumption as of now is that it was the late season skid and the lack of playoff appearances in his six years with the team.
It also didn’t help his cause that the team spent big bucks in free agency this offseason which gave the appearance that it was an all or nothing playoffs year. Ireland brought a lot of talent to South Beach in his time. Players like Brent Grimes, Cameron Wake, Mike Pouncey, Brian Hartline, Chris Clemons, Reshad Jones, and Ryan Tannehill are all very important players for the Miami Dolphins. He also found players like Vontae Davis (Colts) and Sean Smith (Chiefs) that are good players, but he failed to retain them or they wore out their welcome in Miami. Fans in Miami have been calling for Ireland’s head for years and they finally got it. Ireland wasn’t an awful general manager, but he obviously didn’t do enough to save his job.
It looks as head coach Joe Philbin is safe, but 2014 could be a make or break year for him. If Miami doesn’t make the playoffs with the talent they have it will likely be Philbin’s head on the block next year which means a whole new rebuild.