Yesterday, the news broke that the Miami Dolphins had traded cornerback Vontae Davis to the Indianapolis Colts for a second round draft pick and a conditional sixth round pick. Immediately, the chants to Fire general manager Jeff Ireland returned, with Twitter exploding with people see the demise of the Dolphins and wanting to fly banners and call for the general manager's head. And, don't you dare defend Ireland in any way, otherwise, you may be a "zombie" fan.
As a fan base, this is our current state. We are all reactionary. A lot of us are over-reactionary. Any news that we don't quite understand - or see why it happened - automatically spins the fan base into a hatred for the team they follow. Sure, the word fan is short for "fanatics," but does that mean we have to be fanatical?
Two weeks ago, we were all bashing how bad a player Vontae Davis had become. We were all seeing his demotion as justified and were ready to see Richard Marshall succeed as the starting cornerback. Now, we are screaming that the Dolphins just traded their second best player off of the defense.
The second best player? Who doesn't even start at his position?
The Miami Herald's Armando Salguero today published a timeline of how the Vontae Davis trade happened. Essentially, the Colts called the Dolphins last week, offering a sixth round pick. Ireland, who, as Salguero writes, had not been shopping Davis, told the Colts no.
Then, they called back on Thursday with a fifth round pick. Again, Ireland said no. The plan was still to keep the cornerback, despite his on- and off-the field issues.
Saturday, the Colts offered a third round selection. At this point, Ireland became interested, but wanted to get his price for Davis. One Parcells mantra that Ireland still uses is, "Everyone is on the trading block all the time - for the right price." With that in mind, Ireland began full negotiations with the Colts to see if the deal could be finalized.
Saturday night, the Colts finally offered the second round draft pick. To complete the deal, the Colts added the conditional sixth round pick, and Davis was a Colt.
Clearly, this trade means the Dolphins are rebuilding, but didn't we already know that? We are starting a rookie at quarterback, with a huge hole at wide receiver. Did we expect to be heading to the Super Bowl?
With the announcement of the trade, the Fire Ireland crowd returned, vocalizing a frustration of many Dolphins fans. But, the real question is, should Ireland be the target?
Obviously, Ireland is the easy target. The arrival of the the 2008 Bill Parcells regime has been all but wiped out - with Ireland the only one left standing. The frustration of the last three losing seasons have all turned to that one man still standing.
With the trade of Davis, the illusion of making a run at the playoffs this year seems to have burst. But, how much of a difference could Davis have made for the Dolphins, especially if he could not stay on the field. The coaching staff that selected him is gone - a coaching staff that twice suspended him, once for being drunk at practice and once for getting into a fight with Brandon Marshall.
Davis also reported to camp in 2011 and again this year out of shape, and without the personal work ethic to focus on his weight, as well as on drills in practice. The coaching staff was unhappy with Davis. They had already demoted him. And, despite the positive steps shown in last week's Hard Knocks, Davis was still the third cornerback on the depth chart.
So, again, I ask, how much should we have expected out of Davis this year?
And, with the coaching staff obviously disappointed in his performance, why would we think Ireland made this trade with no input from head coach Joe Philbin? When he was hired, Philbin wanted to move Brandon Marshall. Ireland traded him. When Chad Johnson was arrested, Philbin wanted to release him. Ireland released him. Now, the Davis trade. With the Colts obviously wanting to get the 2009 first round pick, should we really assume Philbin was not consulted in the move?
I understand the frustration - but let's face it, this team was not Super Bowl bound in 2012. When I predicted an 8-8 record for the team a couple of weeks ago, many comments said I was way off; the Dolphins would be 6-10 at best. So, if the fan base feels like a 6-10 record is the best this team could have done, with Davis on the roster, why are are acting like we just gave up a shot at the Lombardi Trophy?
A new coaching staff, with a completely different scheme, coming in to Miami. Shouldn't we expect a turnover of players?
Of course, the argument against Ireland always turns to draft picks like Pat White and missing on players like Jimmy Graham. But, when Parcells has admitted that Ireland wanted to take Graham, but Parcells thought Graham would be there one round later and vetoed Ireland's pick, how much of that is actually Ireland's fault?
Since losing the Parcells shadow looming over every personnel move he has made, Ireland has demonstrated a desire to work with the coaches and get the players they want. Take, for example, Marc Colombo. Clearly, that was a bust - but Colombo had been a solid tackle for the Dallas Cowboys when Tony Sparano had been a coach there, and he perfectly fit the Sparano mold of players. So, Ireland signed Colombo.
Once Sparano was fired and Philbin was hired, Ireland began shifting the players he was chasing. He let Colombo and right guard Vernon Carey walk away, instead looking for leaner, more agile players for a zone blocking scheme. He dumped the players above, despite using high draft picks to get them (like two second round picks for Brandon Marshall), so that he could try to rebuild the Dolphins in the new head coach's image.
The "Fire Ireland" chants are a part of the fan base that will continue to be there until either Ireland is gone, or the team is holding up that silver football trophy. Of course, if Ireland were fired, they would simply turn their frustration to another person within the organization. And, just think, Ireland's replacement could very easily be Carl Peterson. Are we sure we want that?