There were, predictably, very few golden nuggets coming out of the Jeff Ireland meeting with the media this afternoon after the Senior Bowl's North squad morning practice in Mobile, Ala.
Ireland wants Jake Long back but it's a tough negotiation and he doesn't want to overpay. We knew that already. He would take Reggie Bush back but the Dolphins have depth at RB and he doesn't want to overpay. We knew that already. He said tight end Michael Egnew will have a good season in 2013, but that's exactly what anyone would expect him to say of a player he picked but didn't produce as a rookie. (Remember Gibril Wilson?)
None of that is news. None of that is all that interesting to me.
Ireland seemed to acknowledge for the first time that he better do extraordinary things that improve the Dolphins in extraordinary ways this offseason because the mircoscope is on him.
"I think this is the year you've got to do something," Ireland said at one point. "We look forward to making some big news before too long."
"This is a big offseason for us. We understand that," he said later.
He said he's going to be looking for playmakers on offense this year and that the draft, free agency and trades are on the table. He said the Dolphins would explore "revery single opportunity and avenue" for getting better.
So Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland is seemingly all in this offseason.
It's good that Ireland will apparently adopt that approach because I've complained the Dolphins have been all too passive and, in some cases, inactive the past two offseasons when it came to free agency and trades and alike.
But I believe the reason Ireland may take this new route this offseason has to do on some level with his own status. Ireland admitted he is a "polarizing" figure in South Florida. That's his way of acknowledging that fans hate dislike him.
But Ireland has had the favor of Stephen Ross despite the negative public sentiment because he's been able to convince the Dolphins owner that the franchise is headed in the right direction and has been making wise, long-lasting personnel choices. I suppose to some degree, Ireland has also made the case that he wasn't in charge under Bill Parcells although he's been the general manager since 2008.
But that argument can be made for only so long. And that window is now closed.
It says here Ireland has to emerge from this offseason a winner by making the Dolphins a winner. His moves have to significantly improve the team because A.) He's got so many draft picks and so much salary cap space at his disposal and B.) The argument that building a team takes time and he wasn't responsible for what happened in 2008 and 2009 and 2010 fades considering he was undeniably responsible for all the personnel decisions of 2011, 2012 and this offseason.
Ireland knows (or should know) that if we're sitting here a year from now, in January of 2014, discussing how far the Dolphins continue to be from being a winner, the responsibility for that gap still existing will fall squarely on him and no one else.
It won't be on Joe Philbin, whom the owner respects.
It won't be on assistant coaches, whom Philbin respects.
It won't be on circumstances, because that excuse was exhausted during the Parcells departure and Tony Sparano firing.
It'll be on Ireland, folks.
The bullseye is on him.
And Ireland knows it and is accepting that.
That is why I think Ireland will be aggressive this offseason. That is why I think he will spend money. That is why I think he will consider trades he might not have considered in past years.
The man needs to hit a home run. And to do that, you have to actually take some big swings.
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