By Cyrus (@cyruslassus on Twitter)
The “Fireland” campaign has been going on for years and with the voice of the people getting louder and louder, Stephen Ross finally caved into the public pressure and mutually agreed to part ways with Jeff Ireland.
Dolphin fans everywhere view this move as addition by subtraction, but I will reserve judgement until the next general manager proves to be better and not just more likable.
While it is easy to zero in on the mistakes he committed, I will start with some of the highlights of his tenure.
He was great at picking up acorns.
Cameron Wake was signed from the Canadian Football League and the three time Pro Bowler had his contract extended through 2017. Many give Bill Parcells credit for the signing, but the extension was all Ireland. Richie Incognito became a Pro Bowler in Miami after being released by two teams. Dimitri Patterson, who had an injury shortened career year, was picked up off of waivers from the Cleveland Browns late in 2012.
In fact, this season was almost rescued by acorns. First by Sam Brenner, who made the jump from undrafted, practice squad rookie to starting guard after scandal and injury plagued the offensive line, and then by safety Michael Thomas who was signed off of the San Francisco practice squad and immediately denied Tom Brady the endzone in the clutch on two last minute plays, giving Miami its eighth win in week 15.
His late round picks and undrafted free agents were also remarkable.
Reshad Jones, Chris Clemons, Paul Soliai, Nolan Carroll and Jimmy Wilson on defense and Charles Clay, Brian Hartline, Lamar Miller and Rishard Matthews on offense were all drafted in the 4th round or later. Marlon Moore and Derrick Shelby also got their start as undrafted free agents, like Sam Brenner. Former Dolphin standouts include Pro Bowl kicker Dan Carpenter and receivers Davone Bess and Anthony Armstrong.
He generally made solid trades.
Many ridicule him for trading up for Dion Jordan in the 2013 draft, but most experts were shocked that the Dolphins were able to trade into the top 3 of the draft with the 12th pick and a second rounder. In limited playing time, Dion Jordan made big plays in big games, with his big hand turning a Joe Flacco pass into a game changing pick 6 that almost allowed Miami to steal a critical game. (continued on page 2, CLICK HERE)