I don't expect Steve Ross to have made any decisions about Ireland yet. Not at 5-7. Ross is no doubt disappointed that the playoffs appear out of the question, but he's probably thinking 8-8 and a 2nd place finish in the division is still very much in reach. That would be undeniable improvement from a year ago and that would really bolster claims that they're on the right track.
But Armando's source made it clear that the topic will be revisited if the Dolphins tank the rest of the way out. If the rest of the season goes how I think it's going to go, the topic will indeed be revisited. If they take a blowout loss to the 49ers here and then surprisingly lose to the Jaguars...Armando may want to check with his source again.
My guess is that if Steve Ross thinks that firing Ireland will improve ticket sales, he will do it. But my guess is also that Steve Ross thinks that firing the General Manager and replacing him with a Brian Gaine or some other guy that the casual fan won't instantly recognize will do nothing to put butts in seats. And my only reason for thinking that Steve Ross thinks that is that I personally think that firing Jeff Ireland will have no impact on ticket sales.
Now I am become coach, the destroyer of teams.
For me personally, I could take or leave Jeff Ireland. If he is fired I will be OK with it, but I won't be dancing in the street. If he is retained I will also be OK with it because I can see Ross' reasoning behind it. Again, if kept, I won't be dancing in the streets either. I am on the fence with him at this point.
The year they played all their backups against us, they headed into the game 13-2 quite literally unable to lose their #1 seed in the AFC playoffs no matter what happened in the Week 17 game against the Dolphins.
On the other hand, look at 2011. In 2011 the Patriots headed into a Week 17 game against the Buffalo Bills at 12-3 which was the same record as the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers BEAT the Patriots head to head earlier in the year, so if the Ravens and Patriots lost in Week 17 while the Steelers won, the Patriots would've lost the #1 seed to the Steelers. It's unclear to me whether the Patriots would have lost the #1 seed to the Ravens in a tie, because they'd have had the same conference record and I don't feel like figuring out the "common opponents" tiebreak.
Anyway, point being, there was a mere CHANCE that the Patriots would lose #1 seeding in that week if they took it easy and lost to the Buffalo Bills. They wouldn't have lost the bye week, mind you. Just gone from #1 seed to #2 seed. And you know what happened? Tom Brady played the ENTIRE game. You know what's interesting about that? The fact that the Buffalo Bills jumped out to a 21-0 lead right away, giving the Patriots every excuse to fold up their tents and rest their starters, and just accept that the #2 seed was a possibility if the Ravens lost and the Steelers won.
They didn't do that. They kept plowing away with Tom Brady. They scored one touchdown, then another, then a field goal, then another field goal to pull to 21-20. They took the lead with 1 minute left in the 3rd quarter at 28-20. Did Brady leave yet? Nope. Threw another touchdown to go 35-21 with 11 minutes left in the game. Did Tom Brady leave yet? Nope. Did they even start RUNNING THE BALL at that point? Nope. On the next drive, up 35-21 with the Bills pretty much in give-up mode, Tom Brady dropped back to pass on 9 of the 14 plays of the next drive, capping off with a touchdown to Gronk to go up 42-21 with 3 minutes left. Only with 1:30 remaining in the game, now up 49-21 because the defense returned a Fitzpatrick interception for yet another score, did the Patriots offense march out there without Tom Brady.
So don't go assuming that we'll be seeing Ryan Mallett in Week 17. This is the team that reinvented the idea of "running up the score" in the NFL. If there's a chance they could get the #1 seed or #2 seed, they'll be playing for every inch in Week 17.
Notice how Nublar is always the one looking for articles that says Ireland is safe. Dude is hoping he stays just as much as he wanted Sparano to stay.
I wonder if you fist pumped one last time when Sparano's-led offense beat our LA Dolphins, I mean Miami Dolphins.