Ross included Philbin in the GM search to make sure they could work together. Don't forget, Ross hired Philbin when Ireland wanted McCoy. I won't get into that conversation again, but my point is....maybe Ross is learning...? My guess is that if Ross dumps Philbin, he would go after a big name, and if said big name said I don't want Hickey....I think Ross would let that happen. Assuming the big name is a Harbaugh or a certain big chin.
That said, I don't think Ross dumps Philbin unless we're sub .500 this year. Harbaugh's contract is up after 2015....I'd bet he would keep Philbin around for one more year to keep the seat warm. (He would never say thats what he's doing, but I'm guessing he would)