Jeff Fisher will make a huge mistake if he chooses not to accept the head-coaching job in Miami. The position is easily the best opening in the NFL. Fisher will have an excellent opportunity to build on his legacy with the Dolphins, if he focuses on the 6-3 ending, not the 0-7 start that led to Tony Sparano’s departure. Miami is a team poised to step into the playoff picture with just a couple tweaks and a few missing pieces.
The scorn has switched to the ownership and front office since Sparano moved out of the picture. The media in Miami is content as long as there is discontent, and the wrath progresses through the organization from one victim to another. The bottom line for the Fisher is to remain neutral with the Miami media and look at what the owner, front office, present coaches and players have to offer.
The Owner and Front Office
Ross did not go out on a limb and spend on FAs last season, but has shown a willingness to open his wallet when there is conviction on a special player. This was true in the Brandon Marshall trade; Ross did not bat an eye at Marshall’s contract demands. It was also true with the FA signing of Karlos Dansby. Under Huizenga, Miami overspent on failed FAs and Ross was not going to add high dollar players, like Gibril Wilson unless Ireland was willing to stake his reputation on them. With Ireland held accountable, the FAs busts did not continue.
Money is not the object with Ross, he is more concerned with conviction and whether he is convinced, the addition will make the Dolphins a better football team. These are indications Ross has the right mind-frame to be a good owner. He doesn’t throw good money at bad decisions, but he is willing to spend on the players or coaches he thinks will help his team. For Fisher, these are welcome traits.
Ross does not give the impression he is meddlesome. He is passionate about winning but knows he is not a football man. Carl Peterson, criticized for his clandestine affiliation with the team only proves Ross knows when he needs help in an area out of his expertise. As long as the personalities do not clash, there can never enough good football people around. Unlike Bud Adams who forced his hand on Fisher, Ross has offered as much help as he needs and is willing to pay for it.
The QB Situation
Many reports deride the QB situation in Miami as a weakness Fisher will walk into. Sam Bradford may have the pedigree but Saint Luis has the 2nd pick in the draft for a reason. Having used the pick on Bradford the Rams should be looking for the other ingredients that could make them a winning football team, instead Fisher will have to decide whether to use the pick on another QB. In Miami, Matt Moore went 6-6 without the benefit of an off-season or reps as the starter prior to stepping in.
Miami may need to address the QB situation, but the team is in better hands right now with Matt Moore than Saint Luis is with Bradford. Fisher can focus more on the roster as a whole and make the decision on what position could best help Moore be successful while the Rams still don’t know about Bradford. The Dolphins could even resign Chad Henne as a back up and still draft a QB for the future, later in the draft. Tampa Bay has Josh Freeman and though the kid showed promise, the whole team gave up on him and their coach. That did not happen with Moore in Miami. While the other teams in search of a coach are heading down, Miami is heading up.
Brian Daboll had no off-season to implement his offense, but unlike the Bucs for example, the unit continued to grow as the season progressed. There is a lot of talent on the Miami offense; Marshall, Bess and Fasano are an outstanding core of receivers. Reggie Bush came on and proved that he can be an every-down back in the NFL. 2nd round pick Daniel Thomas never got untracked after an early injury but the potential was evident. Jake Long and Mike Pouncey will be great players for years to come. Just a couple pieces and this is a very solid unit.
Like the rest of the team, Mike Nolan’s defense started very slow but finished strong. The defensive line is outstanding, once Dansby and Burnett found their stride, the front seven started rolling down hill. Jason Taylor will be missed, but Misi played well and Cameron Wake is a beast. The secondary is solid with two young corners that have nowhere to go but up. Bell played strong and the young safeties started to come around. Like the offense, with a few additions this unit has the chance to go prime time.
The special teams was the best fielded by the Dolphins in many years once Ireland stopped the acorn carousel. Clay and Gates were a couple of steps from taking several kickoff returns to the house, not to mention their play as they learned the offense. Bess is as steady a punt returner as there is in the league. All of that with two of the leagues best kickers.
Draft Position and Free Agency
At number 8 or 9 in the draft, Miami is poised to add another impact player, especially with the QB derby ready to explode in front of them. Miami did not trade away any picks in this draft and are loaded, picking in the 9th position throughout. This means Miami can make an excellent run at a couple explosive free agents.
Mr. Fisher, if ever a table was set for a playoff run this is the team it will come from. From the front office, to the coaches, to the players, Miami is ready to roar into the 2012 season. Not taking this position would be the mistake of a lifetime. The fans and media will welcome you like the second coming of Don Shula. Languishing in formidable places like Saint Luis, Tampa or Jacksonville seems rather foolish when all the cards are on the table. Miami is ready for a run Mr. Fisher and you’re the lucky guy who can make it happen.
Here’s the pen, sign on the dotted line.