Despite the proverbial black eye that is the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin saga, the Miami Dolphins have pressing issues as the team heads into the offseason with a new GM. With the looming scouting combine, free-agency, and draft, Dennis Hickey will need to act fast to hire an assistant GM of his choice.
Just last week, as reported by Andrew Abramson, of the Palm Beach Post, on the Big O Show on 640 sports, with Orlando Alzugaray, the idea of Dennis Hickey hiring Marc Dominik was floated. In fact, it's been widely reported that Hickey, who has full reign over his roster and scouting department can hire an assitant of his choice. It is highly possible that Hickey has a wink-wink, nod-nod agreement with Marc Dominik, but because a myriad of other issues, he has yet to be hired.
With the partying of ways and murky exit by assitant GM Brian Gaine, the Dolphins have managed to make a common situation look worse. In fact, it was Gaine who pounded the pavement at the scouting combine talking to prospective draft hopefuls, watched practices, and took copious notes. One wonders if Dennis Hickey has a copy of those notes taken of players the Dolphins were looking at and analyzing.
As Hickey starts to piece together the team that head coach Joe Philbin prefers, Hickey should start by steering clear of any guys with a questionnable pasts. Hickey needs to, more than ever find guys that will work hard, become leaders in the locker room, and guys who can fill the several positions that the Dolphins hope to pencil in as starters for next season and in future years. Round 1 and Round 2 are going to be the most crucial rounds for the HIckey era. In these rounds, it's been difficult to unearth talent and Jeff Ireland's lack of objectivity going for need rather than best available, has left the Dolphins with mediocre talents at best.
For Hickey, the Dolphins GM has his work cut out for him and having to replace several starters this season is going to be a good way of cutting his teeth as a GM. Surely, Dennis Hickey found ways to get the most out of talent in the first few rounds of the draft while in Tampa as VP of player personnel, but this is the Dolphins, a team that is either destined for greatness on paper or failure in the standings. If Hickey is able to fill positions, re-sign some key free agents, then his hiring by Stephen Ross won't be questioned nearly as much.
Maybe then, and only then, will Hickey earn the role in the organization more commonly associated with the GM position in the NFL, one with complete control of football operations and can choose to retain his coaches.