Miami Dolphins: A Comprehensive Look at Fixing the 'Phins, Part One

Robert HoffmanCorrespondent IDecember 1, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 24:   Matt Moore #8 of the Miami Dolphins looks to hand off the ball against the Dallas Cowboys during the Thanksgiving Day game at Cowboys Stadium on November 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

While some have drawn encouragement from the Miami Dolphins' recent three-game winning streak and a close loss to the Dallas Cowboys, a stark reality remains for the team from South Florida.

3-8.  No playoffs.

That's the team's current record and 2011 postseason prospects put bluntly.

Therefore, the question can no longer be how Miami will do with the current regime and players in place.  Instead, we need to ask how this team can be fixed to make it better for upcoming seasons.

An answer to this question needs to be found so that long-suffering fans can get over the fact that the Dolphins have made the playoffs exactly two times in the last 10 seasons and, each time, got crushed (2001 and 2008) in the opening game by the Baltimore Ravens.

Mind you, any one article or the suggestions in one article aren't going to cure all of Miami's ills, but plan on this being a series of articles that takes a detailed look, from top to bottom, at how to fix the 'Phins.

Step One: Hire an astute general manager, which is ultimately more important in the NFL than who roams the sidelines. 

Don't be fooled into thinking that the selection of a few players such as Mike Pouncey, Jake Long, or Vontae Davis in the past four drafts represent success for current general manager Jeff Ireland.

Don't think that the additional uncovering of nuggets such as Davone Bess and Dan Carpenter makes up for mistakes such as Pat White, Phillip Merling, Shawn Murphy, Patrick Turner, A.J. Edds, John Jerry and Justin Smiley.

It doesn't.  And don't give me the old line that Bill Parcells was in charge early on, not Ireland. Ireland may not have made the final call, but he had his hand in plenty of these decisions.

The signing of marquee free agents such as Karlos Dansby, or a trade for Brandon Marshall, has produced inconsistent results at best—to say nothing of the unmitigated disasters of signing Ernest Wilford, Gibril Wilson, Josh McCown, Charlie Anderson, Reggie Torbor, Jake Grove, Eric Green and Marc Columbo.

Compare Ireland's track record with that of Ted Thompson in Green Bay, who has drafted the likes of Clay Matthews, B.J. Raji, Bryan Bulaga, T.J. Lang, Marshall Newhouse, Josh Sitton, Derek Sherrod, Randall Cobb, Jarius Wynn, Mike Neal, Morgan Burnett, Jermichael Finley, Matt Flynn, James Starks, Andrew Quarless and C.J. Wilson during the same time period.

That says nothing of Thompson's awesome collection of talent in 2005-2007, which included the NFL's best quarterback, Aaron Rodgers.

All of these players have not only made the roster of one of the NFL's best—if not best—teams, but they are having a tremendous impact for Green Bay.

The Packers do so well in the draft that they don't even need to dip significantly into the free agent market.

So, where can Miami go for a top-level general manager?  Well, I am a firm believer in looking at the teams that do talent evaluation best and then trying to poach their young, rising executives.

Along this line of thought, here are a couple of excellent options.

Eliot Wolf is the son of former Packers general manager Ron Wolf, one of the greatest personnel evaluators in NFL history.  The younger Wolf is a virtual baby at 29 years old, but he is already the Packers Assistant Director of Player Personnel and has worked nineteen consecutive Packers drafts, filing his first scouting report at age 14

In other words, he is already a veteran of the process and has shown immense acumen while working under the best.

Another option, and one that has been mentioned prominently, is the Pittsburgh Steelers' Omar Khan.  The 34-year-old's path to the top spot is blocked in Pittsburgh by current general manager Kevin Colbeart (much like Wolf is blocked by Thompson), but his reputation around the league is top-notch.

While Khan's current role might be more capologist and negotiator than talent evaluator, Khan is a bright young man who will get his chance somewhere sooner than later.

Regardless of whether the choice is Wolf, Khan or someone else, Miami needs to choose a general manager that has been exposed to success at the highest level, yet is keenly motivated to make their own mark on the game of football. 

This talent evaluator will need to build through the draft and not through the fool's goal that is free agency.  Note: The dream team in Philly seems to be learning this the hard way.

It's been suggested that Miami will bring in a big name head coach who will also act as personnel evaluator.  That would likely be a mistake as handling both jobs doesn't have a very high success rate.

Coaching and talent evaluation are two completely different tasks.  To ask someone to have the resources and ability to do both at the highest level is asking too much.

Next week, we'll look at the coaching situations, and perhaps some of Miami's current players, in this quest to fix the 'Phins!