While we were all busy bashing Ross and Ireland for losing out on Jeff Fisher, Matt Flynn and Peyton Manning this offseason and turning out attention to the Miami Heat and Miami Marlins, the following has occurred.
The Dolphins wound up hiring a first-year, offensive-minded head coach who has brought in a very good staff to surround him.
Joe Philbin's hiring was a great one that we won't recognize as great until 2013 at the earliest but should go down in history as the start of a Dolphins turnaround.
Jeff Fisher meanwhile will be without his long-time defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who would have surely been the Dolphins' defensive coordinator had Fisher taken the job in Miami instead of St. Louis.
Williams has been suspended indefinitely due to his role in the Saints Bounty scandal, where he's been the central figure. His speech prior to the Saints-49ers NFC Divisional playoff game didn't exactly help matters out much.
Before you ask "so how's that good for the Dolphins," keep in mind that it's much easier to fill out your staff from January-March than it is to do so in April when the suspension was handed down.
Besides, in new defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, Miami gets an aggressive defensive coordinator who has proven to be a success in Cincinnati. That's better than having to search for one in April after the majority of NFL and college staffs have already been filled out.
Meanwhile, in Seattle where Matt Flynn has signed, there's no guarantee that he will even be the Seahawks' starting quarterback. Despite the contract, Flynn still has to compete for his job, something that newly signed free-agent quarterbacks don't usually do when they come with as much ballyhoo as Flynn did.
Let's not forget that Philbin was his offensive coordinator in Green Bay, meaning he likely knew better what he would get out of Flynn than us, the fans (or anyone in the NFL for that matter), could know. If he didn't think Flynn was worth the money, odds are he isn't.
As for losing out on Manning, well congratulations, that only makes the Dolphins like the Cardinals, Titans and 49ers—all of whom were in the bidding for his services. That's not the worst company to be in right now. Plus, this forced the Dolphins to look for their quarterback for the next 10 years instead of their next two. This isn't necessarily a bad thing.
But all of that has had to do with luck, luck that at first looked bad but is starting to look better. Ireland and Ross themselves have also been working hard to turn their images around.
Let's start first with Ireland. Look past the fact that Tannehill, while he will prove to be a good NFL quarterback, was a bit of a reach.
The Dolphins put together a great draft class that addressed key needs along the offensive line (Stanford's Jonathan Martin in Round 2), defensive line (Miami's Oliver Vernon in Round 3 and Texas' Kheeston Randle in Round 7), tight end (Missouri's Michael Egnew in Round 3) and wide receiver (while not the best compared to the departed Brandon Marshall, Michigan State's B.J. Cunningham was a solid sixth-round pick while Nevada's Rishard Matthews is a very good seventh-rounder).
That's not even counting the fourth-round selection of former Hurricane running back Lamar Miller, who will add an additional explosive element out of the backfield to go along with Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas. For a young quarterback like Tannehill, having a solid offensive line and a good running game will go along way to help his development.
Miami also found a great undrafted free agent in former Texas A&M receiver Jeff Fuller. Fuller will provide Tannehill with more familiarity as well as a big target in the Dolphins offense down the road. Fuller went undrafted mainly due to injury concerns, but with his familiarity with the Dolphins offense could turn out to be a steal.
As for the Chad Ochocinco acquisition, it will actually work out better than you would think. Ochocinco now provides the Dolphins with someone who could draw double-teams.
Sure we won't see the same guy that we saw in Cincinnati, however, keep in mind that in New England despite being their No. 1 receiver on paper, he was due to get lost in the shuffle as Brady is always more likely to throw to tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez as well as wide receiver Wes Welker.
Ireland's offseason had a rocky beginning but has been much better than he gets credit for.
As for Ross, say what you will about him, but the man is trying. He has introduced transparency to the Miami Dolphins—a word used so rarely around Davie that many a Dolphin fan will have to look it up to remind them of the meaning.
His season ticket holder conference calls have been, perhaps, the best idea in South Florida sports since the Heat's summer of 2010. During said calls, Ross has come off as more of a fan than an owner and has used the platform to admit to some mistakes.
Speaking of mistakes, he's even fixing one of his biggest by bringing back the old fight song despite the fact that he himself doesn't like it.
Then, there's the fact that he's inviting HBO's Hard Knocks to Davie. Sure, the Dolphins were a last resort for HBO, and I even thought it would be bad as a television viewer (mind you this was prior to the signing of Ochocinco), but as a Dolphins fan, it will be great to see what's going on with this team behind the curtain.
It's not noticed now, but you will see by the end of the year that Ireland, Ross and company will rehabilitate their images. They've already taken the necessary steps to do so, and for that reason along, those two are the biggest winners from this year's Miami Dolphins offseason.