Tis the Season For Relationships and Agendas
Black Monday came and went. The story lines change by the minute and I’m sure we have not seen the end of it. Regardless of the city, two things are already in play with the winds of change on the NFL landscape.
We have already read and heard that Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores was relieved of his duties, partially because his deteriorating relationship with his QB and his GM. I don’t have the inside intel to place blame, but the team building plan in South Florida has been a moving target of change for a while now. The signs were there. There were obvious cracks among relationships in that organization.
I have not loved owner Stephen Ross’s ways in the past, but I have to credit him for making what is very unpopular decision — pulling the plug on a respected coach. It was clear that a lack of communication and collaboration at the highest level inside the Dolphins facility were the main reasons for dismissing the head coach.
The knee jerk, impulsive decisions Flores made to sour on players whom he either drafted or acquired did not create stability or continuity. When the plan continually changes, its very hard to build anything for the long haul. The Dolphins viewed the flaws to be fatal. It will be interesting to see where this move leaves the Dolphins in their on-again, off-again interest in Houston Texans QB Dashaun Watson?
Ross chose his words carefully in his last press conference, giving me reason to suspect that Tagliavoa’s future in Miami is still in doubt. The Dolphins also made some other mysterious moves the last couple years, whether it was trading DB Minkah Fitzpatrick (after drafting him in the first round), cutting freshly signed free agent LB Kyle Van Noy after one year and paying him $15M, or scape goating behind the scenes productive TE Mike Gesicki. All of these things gave football people throughout the league some questions of concern as to what was the plan.
The Flores firing is yet another whiff by a team trying to recreate “the New England way” without having Bill Belichick and/or Tom Brady as part of the deal.
Look no further than the Big Apple for head scratching. Once again, the best laid plans of mice and men have gone awry. New York Giants head coach Joe Judge once again produced sub-par results on the field. His lack of leadership over the last few weeks was only outdone by the pure lack of execution of his team. Both phases have been failures.
Many times in NFL organizations, decisions get made by people internally who are trying to protect what is best for them personally. It’s clear that GM Dave Gettleman was going to retire (forget the semantics) and the wheels of change have already been in motion regarding a replacement. It has also become apparent that people in the personnel department, the Giants salary cap management “kingdom”, and even in other areas of ownership and administration, have made their own agendas paramount.
With personal agendas a priority, it’s been said that the Giants will just plug a new GM in place and leave everything else in the building alone. A new hire of a general manager from outside with some cache or skins on the wall, would almost certainly mean more change than maybe others internally are comfortable with. Heaven forbid people feeling uncomfortable or being pushed by a new boss.
IMO, the Giants needs as much change (and probably a new head coach) with the way they do business as can be made. This team is not only bad on the field, but also their salary cap situation is in terrible shape. Yet, they are willing to exercise two top 10 picks in this year’s college draft with nobody in the building who has ever made a pick of this magnitude by hiring a first time GM.
In fact, if it’s true and they plan to look for someone with the New England background, similar to Joe Judge, it would be like doubling down on the current hand that’s in play. A move like that would not win any press conferences with New York media or fans.
Sometimes personal agendas have to be put aside for the best interest of the overall team.
The Chicago Bears are in a similar situation. The Bears are one of the iconic franchises in the NFL and the league as a whole is better when this team is successful.
To that end, they now have a chance to reset the path of a franchise that has been flawed in both team building as well as talent evaluation and developing the talent they do have. There are personal agendas at work within the Bears organization but the addition to their hiring committee of Hall of Fame GM Bill Polian should help the process. Unless those personal agendas are set aside, this team will continue down this compartmental road within a flawed structure.
Internally, in order to hire the best guy for the job of head coach or general manager, it takes setting pride and agendas aside, in order to hire the best guy for the job, no matter who might be threatened in the building.
The clock is currently ticking for several teams.