The lesser known half of the Architects of the 2009 Miami Dolphins is General Manager Jeff Ireland. Hiding in the shadows of Executive Vice President-Football Operations Bill Parcells, Jeff has clearly been developing the team under his guidelines and instituting a healthy off season plan to integrate the idea that anyone signed to the team has a chance to make the 53 man roster.
One of the reasons GM Ireland may really understand this concept is that he was once a kicker, maybe the loneliest and character defining jobs at any level of football. During a game as a placekicker at Baylor U, Ireland made a 58 yard field goal but missed 3 others of a shorter variety and the team subsequently lost that particular game by 3 points after being declared 20 point favorites.
What we can probably learn from this is that Jeff Ireland will never get too high from wins or get too low from losses. The character of the guy so far has been even keeled and very focused on making the Dolphins an elite franchise once again.
With so many young players on the 2008 Dolphins playoff run, this quality in the front office leadership held the team together especially after shipping off Jason Taylor to the Redskins for a low round pick in the offseason.
Now with Taylor back on the roster, Ireland also shows the fans that he and Parcells can mend the fences and make things work for the team, The Miami Dolphins. These are healthy traits that speak volumes of a family type structure these new Dolphins have created based on Ireland's previous stints at the Kansas City Chiefs as a Scout and the Dallas Cowboys as the Vice President of College and Pro Scouting.
A little known fact is that Ireland found or helped to find 38 of the 53 man roster with the Cowbooys' playoff caliber roster and 12 of the 22 starters with that squad including four Pro Bowl selections. The guy is good at what he does and the Dolphins' quick rise from a 1-15 record is a quick testimony to how well the front office is connected to the current day NFL player.
Ireland is a guy who doesn't need self-promotion or the endless blessings of Parcells. He is a guy who roots for the players and the coaches to do well while getting them everything they need to run their offensive and defensive schemes to perfection. A natural fit for a young GM with football flowing in his blood from the heart of Texas.