New days have finally dawned upon Miami Dolphins’ fans who so desperately begged for the firing of former GM Jeff Ireland. The Dennis Hickey era has begun in Miami.
Whenever a new GM is fired/hired, collateral damage will occur. In this instance, it could be to a man crowned the next savior of the Dolphins franchise — the guy who fans hoped would break the “Marino Curse” after 13 long years.
Yes, Ryan Tannehill could find himself in hot water in these next few months. There is never a guarantee that a new GM will keep the quarterback the old GM selected. In fact, most GMs want to bring in their own guy immediately.
The good news for Tannehill: Hickey has already vowed to stick with head coach Joe Philbin. This could mean he has agreed to stick with Tannehill as well. But if I was Tannehill, I wouldn’t rely on a recommendation from the HC.
Tannehill needs to prove his worth on the field. While Tannehill improved drastically in his second year in the NFL, he led his team to only seven combined points in final two games of last season, both games that would have propelled the Dolphins to the AFC playoffs had they won.
That choke job cannot be ignored. It’s easy to pin it all on Jeff Ireland for the terrible offensive line he constructed. It’s even easier to blame it on former OC Mike Sherman for putting the entire offense on Tannehill’s shoulders.
The reality is each failure is directly linked to the other, and in the ultimate team game the blame must be collectively placed on the team. Tannehill choked, Ireland’s offensive line couldn’t block which handcuffed Sherman, Sherman’s plays weren’t making it any easier for the players to succeed and Philbin’s entire team looked like they wanted to go home, not to the playoffs.
Hickey has his work cut out for him fixing not only the Dolphins’ offensive line, which features only one 2013 starter under contract for next season, but turning around the culture of the front office and team as a whole. He will have to make a lot of tough decisions and evaluations this offseason in collaboration with Philbin. Working together, as cliche as it sounds, is the best way to team success in this team game.
Hickey will look at the tape and see a developing young quarterback, but he will have to wonder how high Tannehill’s ceiling is. Tannehill doubled his touchdowns from his rookie year, threw for nearly 4,000 yards and led three fourth-quarter comebacks.
Hickey would be wise to bring in another quarterback, whether through the NFL Draft this May or through free agency (possibly Michael Vick, who Dolphins’ new OC Bill Lazor coached in Philadelphia) to provide competition for the guy who may have prematurely been crowned savior.
While Tannehill may thrive in Lazor’s system, the first new system he will be playing in since 2007, he will have to show it in training camp and earn his job.