The Sports Daily > Phins Phocus
An Offseason of Uncertainty Looms

With the eventual black Monday on the horizon where coaches are axed annually after not living up to an owners expectations, the Dolphins face another coaching change in the last 4 years.

This season has the Dolphins playing at a rather inconsistent level after squandering 4th quarter leads Houston Oiler v. Buffalo Bills playoff game style circa 1993.

With a start at 0-7, the Dolphins stayed the course and managed to reel off 5 wins despite the fan and media pressure to tank the season and be the doormat to all teams to land the #1 pick.

There is a major problem with this idea of starting over. No one knows what direction this team is headed. No one has any idea on what Stephen Ross will say next week when a coaching search is announced.

Of course it is entirely possible that a football czar such as Carl Peterson will be announced and he’ll jointly recommend with Jeff Ireland which coaches the Dolphins should consider. Alternatively, a hiring of a football president may not happen as Ross could take the Jerry Jones approach of controlling his business and be the first one on the sideline at the end of the game for a win or loss. (I hate this approach and Elway on the Broncos sideline is getting annoying.)

As fans we acknowledge that this team has one major hole. Coaching is not the major issue as much as having a QB and face of the franchise.  We all want to buy that Dolphins jersey with the shiny white or aqua numbers and orange and navy trim.  We want our QB.  We want a guy we can count on in the last minutes of the game that sends our collective hearts racing after a win. 

The Dolphins need a QB and they must pull whatever tricks up their proverbial sleeves that they can to secure a chance at drafting the best QB in the draft.  Teams with QBs win or at least win within 3 years of being drafted. Look at Peyton Manning, Michael Vick, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, Mark Sanchez, Carson Palmer and Eli Manning. All of these Quarterbacks have been to the playoffs. All have been drafted in the top 10 picks. Eli Manning and Peyton Manning have a Super Bowl ring. 

Journeymen quarterbacks such as Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Moore have not produced playoff opportunities.  Past journeymen quarterbacks such as Trent Dilfer (Super Bowl winner) and Rich Gannon (Raiders and Chiefs, but Super Bowl loser) have produced playoff opportunities. 

It seems that the positives of taking a QB in the first 10 picks is beginning to outweigh the negatives, but no one wants to ever draft the next Ryan Leaf.

The top 10 QB has to be nurtured in the offseason and then slowly released to the wolves.

Guys that I consider ready for a playoff run are Cam Newton, Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton (could happen this week), and Kevin Kolb.

The Dolphins have to be 100% certain they can land this guy that in two or three years can get the Dolphins to the playoffs and beyond.  Free-agency to win-now is not the answer.  The QB free-agent market is very thin and very risky via trade.  See Daunte Culpepper as a supreme example of what it is like to miss on a QB via trade. 

As for an ideal Dolphins coach, they need someone that can direct the players to develop a consistent work ethic and winning attitude. They need a guy with experience as an NFL head coach. They need a guy like Jim Harbaugh.

I have seen first hand what he has done with the San Francisco 49ers living near San Francisco and its truly incredible. Sure the 49ers have not had the most competitive schedule, but many of  their opponents in November and December are all playoff bound or have been eliminated in the past couple of games. Defensive toughness, ball security/take aways, and playing 4 quarters and finishing games are all staples of the new Jim Harbaugh regime.  The 49ers are poised for greatness, but the pieces were in place and re-arranged to each player’s strengths. 

Lastly, even though as Dolfans we don’t have a clue what the Dolphins will do, let’s just say that the past history won’t dictate the direction of this coaching search. That is, the Dolphins won’t hire someone inexperienced. They will make a hiring splash. 

A big time coach or experienced coach will happen. QB is the first priority once the coach is there.  Then the rest of the depth chart will be evaluated and guys that don’t have it will be let go.

The writing on the wall dictates that the Dolphins are going to go big or risk slipping deeper in the depths of the AFC East.