Why the Miami Dolphins Must Fire Jeff Ireland Before It's Too Late

Scott AltmanCorrespondent IDecember 20, 2011

MIAMI, FL - CIRCA 2010: In this handout image provided by the NFL,  Jeff Ireland of the Miami Dolphins poses for his 2010 NFL headshot circa 2010 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

When the Miami Dolphins announced the firing of head coach Tony Sparano last week, it only seemed logical that general manager Jeff Ireland would get the axe as well.

After all, the duo arrived together in Miami in 2008 and have been indissolubly linked since.

However, Stephen Ross shocked the entire fanbase by announcing that he plans to retain Ireland as GM. Trying to justify his decision during a press conference last week, Ross said, "I think everybody kind of recognizes there’s a great foundation here to build upon."

Actually, Mr. Ross, you're disillusioned. 

After four seasons under Ireland's rule, the Dolphins still don't have a seam-threat tight end. They still don't have a stable offensive line. They still don't have a reliable free safety. They still don't have consistent cornerback corps. 

Oh yeah, and they still don't have a franchise quarterback. 

Sure, Miami boasts a very young, very talented roster. But a "great foundation?"

Not quite. 

It almost seems like Ross hasn't paid close attention to Ireland's perpetual failures over these past four years. He had his opportunity to build a championship-caliber team here, and he failed. 

He whiffed horribly on prospects like Chad Henne, Pat White and Patrick Turner, and he inked free-agent busts like Gibril Wilson, Ernest Wilford, Jake Grove, Justin Smiley and Reggie Torbor. These wasted draft picks and grossly high contracts still haunt the team today.

And let's not forget about Ireland's other miscues.

Remember when he asked Dez Bryant if his mother was a prostitute?

Remember when the Dolphins lured Steelers safety Ryan Clark down to Miami for a visit two summers ago? According to Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel, "Clark thought Ireland was a jerk." He soon re-signed with Pittsburgh and Miami still longs for a free safety.

Remember when he accompanied Stephen Ross on his infamous meeting with Jim Harbaugh, essentially stabbing Tony Sparano—the same guy he came to Miami with—in the back?

Yet somehow, Stephen Ross keeps overlooking all of this.

Ross preaches that he wants to establish a "winning environment," yet he is retaining the general manager who has overseen the worst stretch in franchise history.  

For the first time in Miami's 41 NFL seasons, the team will finish with a losing record for the third consecutive year. Losing was once a foreign concept to Dolphins fans, but it has become the norm since Ireland arrived four years ago.  

If Ross is truly committed to winning, perhaps there is still a shimmer of hope that he will soon realize Ireland's monumental failures and do the right thing—fire him.