Stephen Ross has obviously given Joe Philbin control over the players he wants on his football team and left Ireland to make the deals. It means when Philbin was hired, there was an understanding that Ireland did not have ultimate control over personnel. Regardless of how it came about, Philbin has the keys to who stays and who goes on this football team, whether good or bad, time will tell.
Brandon Marshall - Ireland trades two second rounders, Philbin sends him packing, getting only two third rounders in return. Chad Johnson - Ireland goes out on a limb to bring in the troubled wide receiver, Philbin bounces him in front of the world on Hard Knocks. Vontae Davis - Ireland uses the twenty-fifth pick in the draft, Philbin shows him the door for second and sixth round picks.
What all these moves point to is, while the Dolphins do not claim to be rebuilding, they are certainly getting rid of personnel that Joe Philbin does not think will blend well in his mix. The question that begs to be answered is, will a player like Brandon Marshall ever be a leader on a Super Bowl caliber team? Will Chad Johnson ever possess the veteran leadership a coach wants other players to emulate? Is Vontae Davis the type of player to lead a secondary?
Once these questions are presented, it becomes obvious where the Dolphins are going, and it is going to take some time to get there. The one thing these players have in common is they are all completely self-centered. They place themselves above the concept of team, while claiming to embrace the team, their actions speak much louder than their words.
Players who do not come to work as a team may as well start thinking of a new city because Philbin is not going to tolerate it. The indictment against Ireland is, what led him to draft, sign or trade for these players? But it should be pointed out that Ireland does not make any of these transactions in a vacuum, therefore Sparano and Parcells had input in trading for Marshall and drafting Davis.
As Ireland said, "We know a lot about our players, some of that includes things you don't know about them or isn't seen by the public ..." Coaches many times think they have a magic power over players and can change the attitude and actions through their ability to communicate. Most likely, Ireland was aware of the physical gifts of these players, but also informed the coaches there were attitude issues.
Brandon Marshall was not drafted until the fourth round because his personal issues overrode his ability. Vontae Davis fell to the twenty-fifth pick because there were concerns about his attitude. Cincinnati let Chad Johnson go because his performance no longer overshadowed his eccentric personality. It all means that Sparano and Parcells, like many other coaches and czars think they can change a spade to a diamond. Sometimes they can, but not very often and not over the long term.
In a sense, the Dolphins are rebuilding, they are rebuilding the personality from a team led by individuals to a team led by players that embrace the team concept. It means there will be no trades for disgruntled players, no high draft picks on falling problem children and no chances taken on eccentric personalities. Joe Philbin is not trying to rebuild the roster; he is trying to change the culture.
For Miami Dolphin fans it could be a long season, but once a team starts to play like one, players will emerge. Great teams are not built through trades or free agents. Great teams are built from an attitude that together we stand taller than any individual among us...
Right now, it is Joe Philbin and the Miami Dolphins against the world.