Expect a quiet weekend from Dolphins

Al Messerschmidt

The Miami Dolphins are not in this weekend's NFL Playoff games, despite needing just one win over the last two weeks of the regular season. The late season collapse has led to owner Stephen Ross considering every position with the team and looking for where to make changes. However, don't expect those changes to come this weekend.

All's quiet on the Miami Dolphins front.  With no NFL Playoffs in which to participate this weekend, there's little to excite a fan base all-too-used to watching 12 other teams take part in the NFL's championship tournament.  A fifth year of going home for January has Dolphins owner Stephen Ross considering potential changes for the team, and he is reportedly looking at everyone and every job to find the right moves to make.

Ross has spent hours at the team facility, with the assumption that he was meeting with the coaching staff and general manager Jeff Ireland about the direction of the franchise.  He's been meeting with his "advisers" throughout the week, trying to figure out exactly what he should do.  He's being methodical, considering every possibility.

But, he's also supposedly trying to keep his integrity.  Ross told Ireland a few weeks ago that he would be back for the 2014 season.  Then the collapse happened.  Now, Ross has to decide, was the two game losing streak to end the season a coaching issue, a talent issue, or an execution issue.  If he decides the Dolphins talent level is not where it should be, that would indicate an issue with Ireland.  Does he then go back on his word and fire a man he just assured?

Or, does he target the coaching staff.  Ross is believed to be a big supporter of stability within the organization, not wanting constant turnover of coaches.  Would he give up on that idea, firing a coach he hired just two seasons ago?

The most likely scenario has always been the firing of assistant coaches, specifically offensive line coach Jim Turner and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman.  That still seems to be the direction Ross is leaning, but is that enough to turn around a stagnant franchise?

When will Ross make a decision?  At this point, no one is really sure.  And, really, it doesn't matter all that much.  The team is transitioning to draft and free agent prep right now, so if they are going to fire a coach, there is not much his removal will disrupt.  The search for a new assistant coach, or even a head coach, will take place whenever it needs to happen, and there are plenty of candidates that, even if the decision takes a couple more weeks, there will be someone to consider.  Given that the Playoffs are just starting today, and a candidate could very easily come from one of the teams still fighting for the Lombardi Trophy, there really is not a need to fire someone today.

Add in the pending NFL investigation to the bullying allegations that surrounded the team for much of the season, and the waiting game may make sense.

Whatever the decision, and whenever it will come out, it likely won't happen this weekend.  Stephen Ross has a lot to think about, using the time now as the calm before the storm.   Expect a quiet weekend around the Dolphins.

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