Hoping for a surprise in the coaching search
It's not that I have anything against Sparano. I do not. Truth be told, I didn't know that much about the man until mid December. And I'm sure he is a fine coach and solid citizen etc ... etc ... etc ...
But it's just that I'm expecting, indeed hoping, for big things from the new Dolphins. I'm hoping the Dolphins of Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland can surprise folks -- most of all the New England Patriots, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills.
I'm hoping they can truly keep things as hush-hush as the Patriots and Jets because, although it will be a challenge for me as a reporter, it will be beneficial to the organization.
I'm hoping the new guys have trick cards up their sleeves because they're going to need them if they want to convince some team to give up a king's ransom for the first overall pick. I'm hoping they can cast smokescreens with the best of them if they're going to convince free agents to come to Miami rather than say, to the Patriots. The Dolphins, you should remember, failed at that assignment last offseason and the product of that failure was New England signing Donte' Stallworth and Kelly Washington.
I am, in short, hoping these guys got game.
But I don't see that yet. The general manager search, with all due respect to Joey Clinkscales, was a farce. Parcells hired the top and only guy on his list after interviewing that guy and a minority candidate that satisfied the NFL's Rooney Rule. Period.
The coaching search? It has also been poorly veiled as a thorough process.
I mean, come on, is anyone truly convinced Sparano won't be the new coach? Does anyone doubt the guy Parcells told Atlanta owner Arthur Blank he wanted to hire before he joined the Dolphins won't follow him to Miami?
What's that saying? If it looks like a duck? If it walks like a duck? It's a duck.
Sure, the Dolphins interviewed other candidates, but these new Dolphins guys must think everyone is dumb. Frazier was the Rooney Rule guy. The only one. What happened to Mike Singletary? What happened to Ron Rivera? Or Green Bay assistant head coach Winston Moss, who happens to be from Miami?
The other candidates were Rex Ryan and Jim Schwartz. Schwartz is kind of hot right now because before he came to Miami he interviewed in Washington and Atlanta. The Dolphins, on the face of it, were interested in a bright guy with a bright future even though he had no connection to Parcells or Ireland. The Dolphins were being thorough, right?
Except that the agent who represents Schwartz -- Jimmy Sexton -- also represents Parcells. So how hard is it to suppose that this interview was just to keep Schwartz's name in the loop of hot interviews while also serving the Dolphins by making it seem they're being thorough? Not hard.
I hope this is not the best web the new Dolphins can weave. Otherwise it hearkens back to the days when the team conducted a grand and complex nationwide GM search that included Ted Thompson, Phil Savage and Tim Ruskell -- all of whom went on to build fine teams in Green Bay, Cleveland and Seattle -- and having such brilliance in front of them, the Dolphins predictably promoted Rick Spielman, whose decisions we are still suffering today.
The new Dolphins must do better.
So hopefully they pull a surprise no one expects. I would love it and commend them for it. It would be eye-popping. It would also command respect if Sparano is their guy and they just stand on that, not looking elsewhere, showing confidence in him and thus giving him a credibility he frankly lacks in South Florida.
But if Sparano is their guy and they're still going through the hokus pokus interviews to fool somebody then it's time to worry. Because nobody is fooled.