Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross met with the Miami media yesterday, giving his annual "State of the Dolphins" press conference. During it, he talked about head coach Joe Philbin, general manager Jeff Ireland, quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and many other topics.
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross met with the Miami media yesterday to talk about the "State of the Dolphins." During his press availability, Ross simply opened up the floor and asked for questions from the reporters present. He spoke about several topics, including how the Dolphins will use free agency, how they plan to build in the draft, the status of general manager Jeff Ireland, and how this regime is really his first time being able to work the Dolphins in the direction he wants them to go.
Here is the team provided transcript of the meeting. You can also watch the video from the press conference on the Miami Dolphins' website.
(Opening remarks) - "Thank you guys for coming. I apologize for it being before the BCS Bowl, but everybody's been asking what my thoughts were about the season and I said, ‘Hey, we'll do after the season.' I was down here and I thought it would be a good time to do it, not waiting too long. So if it interfered with what you're doing for the BCS, I apologize. I'm open to anything."
(On how impressed he was with Head Coach Joe Philbin in his first year) - "Well, I was really impressed with Coach Philbin. I think we can safely say, I think I've heard it from so many people, I feel it more importantly - yes, that we have a really solid head coach here and a guy that I think will be here a long time and hopefully bring all those victories that everybody wants."
(On how much of a success the season was in light of having a first-year head coach and rookie quarterback) - "You start the season, like in every season, you want to be in the playoffs. You want to be in the game. That wasn't fulfilled, but then you look back this season after and you say, ‘Well, what was the good and what was the bad?' I think certainly there was a lot... The good certainly outweighed a lot of the bad here and the fact is that we do have a head coach that I think will be here and we have the makings of a quarterback that will be here a long time that has a lot of great potential. I think, when you look at it from that standpoint, you can be very positive. I look at it from that standpoint certainly today."
(On having a lot of cap room and draft picks and if he can tell the fans that all resources will be used to make the playoffs in 2013) - "First of all, when I bought the team and I told everybody that whatever resources we have, what I have, I want to build a winning team. That goes first and I think Jeff (Ireland) and the whole organization knows that. This isn't one of these organizations that tries to slap together, keep it together just for the sake of doing that. I'm willing to spend whatever it takes to build it. I think sometimes people look at spending as a way of winning and in business it isn't money that solves problems. It's brains that solve problems and using your abilities. But certainly all my resources are there and if the right players are there, I don't care what it costs. We'll go after them."
(On if having stability with the coaching staff and front office was important to him this offseason) - "It's important every season. It's the nucleus of a franchise and I think having the right mix between the coach and the personnel department is essential. It takes those two ingredients to have a winning organization. I think if you have a plan and you stick to that plan, you're going to win. It's when you're changing all the time that you don't really know where you stand."
(On how excited he is this offseason given all the possibilities as a result of the cap room and draft picks) - "Right now, as you well know, we're well-positioned in the Draft. I think Jeff's done a great job from that standpoint. We had probably, I think it's the second-youngest team in the NFL and the question is what's going to be available in free agency and getting the right mix. I think that's not a decision that I make. It's the decision of what I think the Coach and Jeff will do together."
(On if he thinks the way to build a winning team is through the Draft and what role free agency plays into that) - "I think, as the Coach has stated, you want to build through the Draft and you certainly look and see what's out there in free agency and seeing you get the right player that will fit in in that locker room and would bring the right kind of ingredients and is still hungry enough, that isn't just signing for the big contract. Free agency certainly isn't the answer. We've all seen that. You can talk about the failures in free agency more than you can about the successes... Everybody gets all excited (that) you sign a player and, ‘My God, we're going to win.' You haven't seen that, I can't think of a player you could say that really happened with because I think the philosophy is you know you're players better than anybody else and you know who you want to sign, who you want to keep as part of that. Often times, there's a reason why a guy is out there as a free agent."
(On upcoming stadium plans) - "Right now, we're putting together a plan for and we'll kind of expose them very shortly. But today, I'd rather not talk about that. You guys want to talk about the season, about the football team the Dolphins, but I don't think about the plans..."
(On how he is certain that he has the right people and pieces to make sure the franchise is headed in the right direction) - "How in life are you ever certain? You take it one day, you look at it and then you deal with the people and they're the kind of people who are pretty consistent level people and I think that's one thing you can say about the organization there. I believe they have the talent to deliver day-in and day-out. But this is a business that's really measured. It's probably like no other business in the world. You measure it with wins and losses, but you want to see the direction they're going and just how it's moving and I think it's important to have not a volatile situation. I think the type of people we have aren't volatile type people."
(On what stood out about Coach Philbin and validated what he saw when he hired him) - "I think one of the characteristics that Joe had - he was probably one of the most organized presentations I've ever seen and you can look back at it and you can say he followed that. He did everything that he said he would do and he's probably, you guys got to know him pretty well. I think he's about as organized and consistent as anybody you'll ever meet. I was talking to his secretary (Ann Rodriguez) the other day and she said she's been here all this time and there's nobody that's more organized than Joe and really sets forth what his plans are. I think that's important because, when you hear what his plans are, you really believe in him."
(On how involved he'll be with personnel matters this offseason) - "I think the day I bought the team, I don't think that I belong in making, I shouldn't be the one making the decisions of who we pick and who we play and what the plays are. You want to have the best people doing that. This is a much more sophisticated game than all of us fans think it is. The more you get inside it, you really find out how sophisticated it is in the football operations. It's really like any organizations, I know the organization I built that I started, it's about the people and you're only as good as the people you have. It's just not the guy at the top. The guy at the top facilitates it and makes sure it happens and gives them the resources and the ability to do everything to become a best in class organization."
(On getting to know Ryan Tannehill this year and how he feels about him being the face of the franchise) - "Ryan Tannehill, what really impressed me is his intelligence and the type of person he is. I think that's come out. He's a hard worker. He's a high character guy and that's what you want. And a guy who wants to be here and hopefully that he'll accomplish all of those things that everybody would like to see him do."
(On his thoughts on games being blackout and it seeming like he bought tickets so that the games could be shown on television) - "I can understand when you're not winning why some people might not show up. I think we put a winning team on the field, I think we'll fill up those stadiums. That's what I'm counting on. I really believe that how important the Miami Dolphins are to South Florida and really bringing the community together. I think once we're winning that'll be evident and people will want to be here every Sunday. Hopefully, some Monday nights too."
(On if there was a play or a moment this season when he believed Tannehill has got it) - "I think the way he goes about it. I saw him before the game how he went about it. He won the starting nod in preseason and the guy was confident. When you meet him, you feel good. Certain people you meet, there's not a lot of trepidation that he has. He goes about his business in a very serious manner and he wants to win. I think that it was a great start that he had."
(On whether he was always set on maintaining stability in the front office or whether he wanted to see the season play out before he made a decision) - "Well as I said before I think it is important that you have a plan, you follow that plan, and you remain consistent towards that plan. When you no longer have confidence in that plan, then you make changes. I have belief in the plans that we set out, and we are going to follow that plan."
(On the plan for 2013) - "Win."
(On how that plan is different from the last couple of years) - "This is really the first time I've really gotten involved. I didn't select the people that were here before. I was handed a situation that, for one, I was kind of painted to the wall. When (Bill) Parcells left it was my fault, when Miami lost it was my fault, and all that. I have a lot of respect for Bill, but I didn't put together that organization. I also felt that I should learn a little bit before I started making moves. Making moves for the sake of making moves is sometimes probably the worst move you can make. You want to sit back and really assess the situation, which I was able to do, so that was probably good from that standpoint."
(On what he feels like he has learned from the past few years) - "Well I think having just watched the way it was, I knew there was something that I had to change, if you know what I mean. I mean I learned how sophisticated it is. As I've said before, (I'm) always a fan, and wanting to build the best organization, but you want to look at other organizations and see what they had. You know, talk to a lot of people. So I can't say there is one thing, but I think the more familiar you become with it and the more you talk to people and you're watching and assessing, I think that's how you really learn and put it together to come up with something. Look, what's important to everyone in this room is that the Miami Dolphins become a winning organization over a long period of time. As opposed to just talking about it, you have to put it together, you have to believe in the plan, and you have to follow the plan."
(On how hard it was not to panic and deviate from the plan) - "Well, I guess I learned from the real estate business that I started. That's a business where it's not like a day trade, you have to have patience. You have to realize that you have to look at things with a vision and a long term aspect. I look at things from a long-term perspective as opposed to a very short-term perspective. So, you might be suffering, and you know I hated those Monday mornings, and I still do when we have those losses, but it's something where I feel we are on the right track. We're moving in the right direction, and I feel good about it, more so today than I ever have."
(On whether his confidence in the plan every wavered throughout the season) - "We were in every game. When we lost those games we should have been winning those games. The expectations, though I was looking to win because I believed we were putting together the right thing, you didn't really know for sure and I think they certainly surprised everybody coming out of the box. We were what, 1-3? And then we won three games in a row, so you can see, other than the Houston game for the six minute period of time where we had the three turnovers, before that we were dominating the game and the second half, we were already so far behind, but theoretically we won the second half. It was really that six minute period of time where they scored, but in every other game we were in it. When we lost in Phoenix, God knows we should have won that game. When we lost to the Jets, we should have won. But you learn, football is a woulda, shoulda, coulda (game), but really at the end of the day, you look at your win loss record and not how you got there."
(On why Jeff Ireland is the only person still with the organization from the afore mentioned group of inherited personnel, and why he has confidence in him going forward) - "I think his football intelligence, his knowledge, his hard work. I think he has the respect of his peers, he is one of the youngest General Managers around. I like dealing with youth and enthusiasm and I think he has the knowledge and desire, he is smart and he is committed to building a (winning team). He laid out a plan, and we do have a young team, and if we are right on plan, we are going to be there for a long time."
(On the buzz surrounding a new logo, and whether the one that was leaked is the new logo) - "I mean there have been a lot leaked, so I don't know what you saw from that standpoint. We will have a new logo, we will have it by the (NFL) Draft. We're looking at it, finalizing it, but I am excited about that fact. It's time for an update."
(On his vision for the Dolphins for the next five to ten years, aside from wins) - "The end game is really, over five to ten years what is your win/loss record over that period of time? How many Super Bowls did you win? That's how you are going to be judged. So I am prepared for that."
(On whether he believes in a three or four year plan to get to the Super Bowl and his feelings on the progression to get there) - "Well I enter every year with the idea that I'm going to be in the playoffs. That starts every year, you know? If you don't have that mentality, then you shouldn't be in this sport, because you really want to be winning. You're not going to be in a rebuilding process, and I don't look at life as being a series of rebuilding. You want to put forward your best effort and believe in the team you've got that you can get to the playoffs. Now certain times you need a little bit more optimism to get there, like this year, we were going with a rookie quarterback, so what knowledge did you really have? You had to be somewhat optimistic, thought I thought Ryan (Tannehill) performed well. Certainly, once you get there, you don't know what year that is; it's not a magic formula and this is a very competitive game. So I would like to certainly think that next year we will be in the playoffs and we're winning, but I can't tell you for sure. I just know that we will be very competitive next year and that the idea is first you have to get in the playoffs, and then how that football bounces, you never know."
(On how much of a gap he perceives between the Dolphins and the Patriots) - "Well certainly they have a great track record. They have a quarterback that's been consistent, and they have built around that quarterback over that period of time. They are great, and that's not going to last forever. I think that certainly they are our biggest competitor, they are in our division and we have to be able to beat them. I like where we are going. Look, they have been the class outfit in the (AFC) for a long period of time now. They have a great quarterback, and they have a good organization."
(On how he would sum up his optimism for this team heading into the offseason) - "The two biggest ingredients in a winning team are your coach, I think that's important and I think we have our head coach, and second is a quarterback you can build around. This is a quarterback centric league and you see every great team that is there consistently has a quarterback. I think we have our quarterback. Once you are there, it is a lot easier I think to put the building blocks around. We have needs; you all know we have needs. Coach has indicated what needs we have; we have to be more explosive and we have to create more takeaways on defense. Those are the things that we have to improve upon. But I think when you start with a coach that you have confidence in, and I think everybody has seen that the character and the way this team has come together as a team, it is a high character team. They want to win, and you have a coach and you have quarterback, I think you have a lot of the first ingredients you need in order to create that winning environment. It's (up to) us and to Jeff to deliver the personnel to complete that so that we are playing for those championships."
(On not having a winning season as owner and if he's getting impatient) - "I mean, impatient to do something stupid, no. Am I disappointed? Yes, but I also look at it, you rationalize a little bit. Hey, this was the first year that I've really been there in terms of, ‘Hey, what I can say is my responsibility,' and I'm prepared to be responsible going forward and with what it is."