Jeff Ireland is a very unpopular guy among many Dolfans and Dolphins columnist. Most of the ammunition these folks use relate to the years in which Bill Parcells had final say over personnel. It also relates to the years in which Ireland had to acquire talent for a coach and a scheme he didn't agree with. In light of that, even though people will undoubtedly say I'm wrong, Ireland, in reality, has one year under his belt as a full fledged general manager. In one year, what has he done?
1. Miami is loaded for the 2013 NFL draft. This allows them to do as the Patriots, and move up and down to acquire the players that best fit their system.
2. Miami is loaded with money for the 2013 Free Agency period. This allows them to go get any impact players that hit the open market.
3. His track record over the last 12 months is pretty impressive. Ryan Tannehill, Jonathan Martin, Lamar Miller, Marcus Thigpen, Olivier Vernon, Rishard Matthews, Derrick Shelby, Kheeston Randle, Josh Kaddu, Jonathan Freeny, and Will Yeatman (to tackle) is a pretty good haul for one year. I'd say seven have elite physical skills and the potential to be impact players for years to come, Tannahill, Martin, Miller, Thigpen, Vernon, Kaddu, and Yeatman. Don't be surprised if Kaddu and Yeatman have a big impact next year. The only free agent he signed for other than bargain basement numbers - Richard Marshall - looked good in the preseason and in the handful of games he was healthy. And, given his track record, nobody could have seen him getting injured. Michael Egnew, the lightning rod for most Ireland haters, is one potential mistake among many obvious successes. Nobody hits on them all. Now that said, the jury is still not out on him, although admittedly my eyes see toughness and work ethic issues.
I know I'm going to get hammered for writing this post. I get that. I just think it has to be said that people are being unreasonable in their pre-mature viewpoints on Jeff Ireland. I believe in him. I believe in his plan, or what I think his plan is. I believe he will build a Super Bowl contender. I think if others were honest with themselves they would scale back the hatred. You don't have to agree that he will make Miami a Super Bowl contender. However, if you know about football and how the dynamics within an organization work, you have to admit this has been his team for only one year. Just because things have been so bad since the Wannstedt-Fiedler years doesn't mean we throw critial thinking out the door and look for demons behind every door. Ireland has us in a great position. It's time to recognize that.