MIAMI GARDENS, FL - AUGUST 19: A Miami Dolphins fan during an NFL preseason game against the Carolina Panthers at Sun Life Stadium on August 19, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Yesterday, I had a Twitter discussion with several Miami Dolphins fans. The catalyst for this discussion was yesterday's protest by Dolphins fans, wanting to see a change from the team - specifically the firing of Jeff Ireland. During this discussion, Chris Joseph, also known as "The Dude" from FinsNation and I traded a series of Tweets as we each tried to explain our personal positions a little better.
I had made a comment in which I said I try very hard on the site to stay "level headed." Joseph, very understandibly, took that to mean I was calling the people who were actively displaying their displeasure to be not-level headed, or as he put it, "reactionary idiots."
I then explained that is not my intent at all, and all I try to do is stay neutral. I try hard to not take one side or the other when I post here, as I personally do not feel that is my role. I try to run the site in a way that allows the contributors, and all of you as readers, freedom to express your own views, while giving you items to discuss. But, I try not to swing your opinion one way or the other - and I'm not always perfect at that.
But, at the end of our discussion, I think Joseph and I better understood each other and what we were trying to accomplish. I also asked him if he would consider stopping by the site and doing a quick interview with me. He graciously agreed, and you can see that interview below:
Kevin Nogle: First, I would like to thank you for agreeing to come by the Phinsider and talk to us today. My readers have probably realized by now that I try very hard to stay neutral when it comes to things about the Miami Dolphins - never overreacting, never blowing things off. But, that's not the format you have used over on Fins Nation. You are a much more emotions based, express your frustration type of writer. Do you ever feel like you've gone over the top on the things you write?
Chris Joseph: No, not really. Our stuff is based on being snarky, sarcastic and, when necessary, satirical. Of course, it's all based on truth. We love this team. So when things gets botched the way it has all these years, it makes for good material, unfortunately. You have to be over the top when it comes to getting the message across. We want to be funny in the midst of the shitstorm. Bring some solace. It's not for everybody, but it has resonated with thousands of people.
KN: Obviously, the biggest criticism facing the Dolphins right now is general manager Jeff Ireland. You guys led the effort to fly the "Fire Ireland" banner over the stadium last season, and you used Twitter to plant the seeds for the protest outside the Dolphins' facility earlier this week. Are you happy with these efforts? What are you looking to gain from them?
CJ: The whole banner idea started off as a sort of joke, but then it snowballed into this real thing. We quickly learned that there were craploads of disgruntled fans out there. More than we thought. The ultimate purpose of the banner was to be a voice. And to put the powers that be on notice that fans were fed up of all the crap and banality surrounding this team. That it's not okay to embrace mediocrity. That our patience has run out and we were making a stand. It appears to have worked. They noticed. As for the protest, that had nothing to do with us. I think that's either an overspill from our banner thing, but mainly just more people deciding to express their anger towards Ireland. It's not just us.
KN: Do you have anything else planned - well, anything you are willing to share with us?
CJ: Haha... no, not really. Unless one of our readers blows us away with a fantastic idea. But I think we did our part. I think we can make more noise with our words than another banner, to be honest.
KN: I have readers on both sides of the Ireland debate. Some point to his only getting out from under Bill Parcells last year as to why he's doing well. Some point to the obvious things like Marc Colombo, and the sudden trade of Brandon Marshall, without an obvious replacement being brought in, as to why he needs to go. Of course, you are squarely on the fire Ireland side. Can you explain to my readers what your biggest criticisms of Ireland are?
CJ: When your sole claim to fame is that you once asked a player if his mother was a whore, you have a serious problem. Now, that MIGHT be forgiven if you'd followed it up by building a monster team. He hasn't. And I think it's lazy and way too easy to brush off his time working under Parcells, as if he had zero to do with any of those bad moves. His draft last year was okay. Obviously we need to wait and see, but none of those players are game-changers in any way. They just aren't. It's an entire draft of MAYBE marginal players. Pouncey was a nice pick, but Daniel Thomas -- whom we traded UP for -- was a disaster. His handling of the salary cap is very suspect. Our offensive line is crap. We have no quarterback. Yes, Brandon Marshall is a turd of a person, but Ireland gave up second rounders for him, only to get third rounders in return. The fact that he could not nail down Harbaugh, Fisher, Manning or Flynn. This entire off-season and the debacle of not being able to get us a franchise quarterback. He's not terrible. He's mediocre. And that's worse. And he's an asshole to boot. I think that Ryan Clark and the other players that have spoken out speaks volumes. We're a laughing stock, and it's pretty much all his fault. I think that Peyton having to be begged by Dan Marino to meet with us speaks volumes. I think there are dozens of scouts out there working for teams like the Packers and Giants who are better than Ireland, both as talent evaluators and as men, who Ross can easily fleece and interview and make this team's new GM. Again, being a jerk is forgivable, But you have to earn that forgiveness. You can't be an asshole and be middling at your job too. People have gotten fired for much less than what this guy has done... or not done.
KN: Other than firing Ireland, is there anything you can see happening that would calm, not only you, but the portion of the fan base that has become so vocal in their displeasure?
CJ: We've said it before, if Ireland gets us a franchise QB, all will be forgiven. But we don't see that ever happening, unless he gets REALLY lucky with Tannenhill or Weeden, or whomever this year. A lot of people like to pile on Stephen Ross. But the guy wants to win. He's just placed his faith in Ireland for some inexplicable reason. If Ireland was fired tomorrow, we'd feel a lot better. But then we'd worry about who Ross would bring in. And it shouldn't be that complicated. Look to organizations that know what they're doing, and go get one of their up-and-coming scouts. There has to be guys who have been banging it up for teams like the Ravens and Patriots who are looking to move up in the world. Ireland got this job because he was Parcells' guy. And they came from the Cowboys, who have been sucking for years too. Ireland has Cowboys-Parcells stank all over him. It's not that complicated, Mr. Ross. It really, really isn't.
KN: When you guys managed to land RZayo24/Rizzmiggizz, it was a sad day over here. He was a great part of the Phinsider, and I've seen him providing you guys some great stuff on Fins Nation, your sister site Miami Heat Nation, and, of course WAARF Records. What has he brought to you guys? And, please let him know we do miss him over here.
CJ: Obviously, he's funny as hell. He gets us. Has our voice. Has a knack for being a smart ass but being right -- at least in our opinion. The best comedy is intelligent comedy, and so he was right down our alley. And when he and the other guys started up WAARF, we just let him run with it. He's also become a good friend.
KN: Speaking of WAARF - where do you guys come up with it? The Peyton Manning song was epic.
CJ: The whole WAARF thing was started when my writing partner DRK had the idea of doing a video inspired by the old "Think Different" Apple ads. It was basically to start up the whole Suck For Luck campaign. Then Rizz and the guys -- Kevin and Vinbob -- did a "We Didn't Start The Fire" parody song after Tim Tebow beat us. And they've since just taken it and run with it. The name comes from Rey Feinga, whom the Dolphins have signed and released a dozen times. We Are All Rey Feiinga. It's poetic and ironic and simple because, under Ireland's watch, all Dolphins fans are Rey Feinga.
KN: This week, you started a world wide trending Twitter movement, #IrelandPokerMoves, after the South Florida Sun Sentinel's Omar Kelly described Ireland's offseason moves so far this year as "a GREAT poker game." What were some of your favorite moves submitted?
CJ: Oh man, there were so many brilliant ones. There was, "Sign people that play multiple positions badly, rather than one position well." There was also "Move starting RT to RG, bring in worst RT in the league to replace him." So many others though. And it's still going on, too! One of the more recent ones is "Manning? Naw. David Garrard, bitches!" I love our readers.
KN: Finally, what do you want to see the rest of this preseason? Who is your ideal pick at the 8 spot in the draft? And, where do you want the team to be when we hit August and start getting back on the field?
CJ: I think it still starts and ends with the quarterback. And that's going to have to be in the draft. However, with us out of the Luck and RG3 running, my personal wish would be to draft Justin Blackmon with our first-rounder. But we'd have to trade up for him, which I don't see happening. I like Weeden a lot, while I'm warming up to Tannenhill, who I see as a guy with a ton of upside. Of course, we'll pass them both over and draft OT Reilly Reiff. Because that's how we roll.
KN: Thanks very much for coming by, and taking the time to do this with me today.
CJ: Thanks for this. Again, I mis-read your tweet and thought you were looking down on those of us who oppose Ireland. It was a defense mechanism for me, because there are a lot of people out there that think being an Ireland apologist somehow makes one smarter than the anti-Ireland crowd. As if only they know football and those who protest and are angry are just mindless mongoloids. You're obviously not one of those. But that's where my being miffed came from. I'm glad we cleared it up. Thanks again!
KN: Thank you again for stopping by, Chris. And, Phinsider readers, make sure you stop by FinsNation to check out Joseph, RZayo24, and the rest of their contributors' content.