Posted: 3:26 pm Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
By Post Staff
Jeff Ireland believes that his Dolphins team has the potential to be good.
But “good” doesn’t cut it in South Florida, and Ireland knows it. Especially not when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Ozzie Guillen and Jose Reyes have helped the Heat and Marlins surpass the Dolphins in “buzz” factor.
“We have to continue to build a roster to be better than good, because good is just not good enough. We’ve got to be great,” Ireland said Tuesday morning at the Senior Bowl. “We’ve got to work on getting the pieces together to make a much bolder statement in South Florida.”
“We want championships. We want wins.”
That “statement” undoubtedly revolves around the quarterback position, where the Dolphins have their sights set on Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn or Robert Griffin III.
“Hey, this is a quarterback league, so we’ve got to do our best to make the position better,” Ireland said. “We need a quarterback that can lead us over the hump, no doubt about.”
One of those changes is a likely switch to the 4-3 defense. Ireland said he told his scouts shortly after Tony Sparano was fired in December to start looking at 4-3 personnel. A few players will have to be moved around – Cameron Wake back to defensive end, perhaps Koa Misi to middle linebacker – but Ireland said “it’s not going to be that big of a transition.”
Ireland said the Dolphins hope to create a spark next year with a new head coach like the San Francisco 49ers did this year in going from 6-10 to the NFC Championship Game this year under Jim Harbaugh.
“Obviously it’s an inspiration,” Ireland said. “They got a new leader in there and a new direction and that’s obviously what you aspire to be.”
A few other notes from Tuesday morning:
* Ireland said Joe Philbin is up in Green Bay today and will begin interviewing coaches tomorrow. He didn’t list any candidates, but Cincinnati defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle is one. He’s never worked with Philbin, but both are good friends of Mike Sherman’s, who is at the top of the Dolphins’ wish list for offensive coordinator if he doesn’t get Tampa Bay’s head coaching job. Three coaches have already joined other teams, and sources indicate the Dolphins are going to let almost the entire coaching staff go, although special teams coach Darren Rizzi will reportedly be retained.
* Ireland intimated that the Dolphins’ previous coaching staff didn’t use the players properly, which we wrote about back in October. “That’s one thing we’ve got to do a good job of, is utilizing personnel and strengths of each players,” he said.
* The Dolphins should prepare for a grueling and demanding offseason program and training camp. Karlos Dansby admitted early in the season that he arrived to camp 25 pounds overweight following the lockout, and we all remember how the defenders were out of breath in the first half of the season-opening loss to New England. “I don’t think our players were in tremendous shape coming out of the lockout, and I think we’ve got to do a better job this year, and we’ll make sure that that happens,” Ireland said.
* The full details of the Reggie Bush trade have finally been revealed. The Dolphins and Saints agreed to swap sixth-round picks while also swapping Bush for special teamer Jon Amaya. Good trade for Ireland, who picked up a 1,000-yard running back and kept him off the open market for a small fee.
* Ireland said Jake Long’s rehab is going well, but wouldn’t say much about negotiating a contract extension with Long, who is entering the last year of his rookie contract.
* Despite the Dolphins’ obvious desire to find a franchise quarterback, Ireland has a lot of respect for Matt Moore. “He took a beating back there and kept on ticking,” he said.
* Brian Gaine, the Dolphins’ director of player personnel, will reportedly interview with the Rams later this week for their vacant GM job.