Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bill Parcells moves into consultant role as Jeff Ireland takes over

In what seems like the creation of an necessary distraction five days before the regular season opener, the Miami Dolphins have announced that Bill Parcells will move into a "daily consultant" role, with general Jeff Ireland taking on a larger role.

According to the team's official press release, Ireland will "assume full control over all aspects and decisions in regard to the Miami Dolphins football team and support staff."

The move comes nearly three years after Parcells came out of retirement to become the Dolphins' executive vice president of football operations in 2008.

Soon after joining the Dolphins, Parcells brought in a handful of familiar faces from his most recent coaching stint with the Dallas Cowboys, which ended following the 2006 season.

Parcells first brought in Dallas exec Jeff Ireland to be general manager, and the two subsequently hired Cowboys' assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tony Sparano as their replacement to Cam Cameron as the Dolphins' head coach.

A steady stream coaches and players with ties to Parcells has been coming into Miami since Day One, and it has continued even to this week as Parcells' brought his 2006 first-round pick—linebacker Bobby Carpenter—to Miami yesterday.

Although Ireland was given full control over personnel decisions upon his arrival in Miami (which contractual wording was necessary to bring him over from Dallas, as a lateral move would not be allowed), it has widely been assumed that Parcells was the one with final say.

Now, it appears Parcells will begin to ease himself out of that role, with Ireland taking on the more traditional role of a general manager that has full control over the roster.

The moving isn't surprising, as Parcells has never been known to stay in one place for very long. I also don't consider him a good fit with new owner Stephen Ross, who is probably a little too into the entertainment aspect of football of the liking of an old-school guy like Parcells.

I think worries of this becoming a distraction for the Dolphins are a bit overblown. The Dolphins probably consider this a "non-event" and something that doesn't directly affect the 2010 team, so there is no harm in announcing it now.

Still, if this isn't such a big deal, why wait until now to announce it. Would there have been any harm in releasing a press release in June, when nothing is going on in the league, just to say, "Hey, once this season starts up and beyond, Ireland's going to be running things?"

As Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post points out on Twitter, the move likely came now because all of the 2010 scouting has pretty much wrapped up, and the scouting for 2011 will be getting underway shortly.

It's hard to say whether or not the move will have any kind of impact with the Dolphins, as we don't really know what moves have been motivated by Ireland, Parcells, or both over the past two-and-a-half years.

The front office has certainly had its share of miscues during that time, including free-agent gaffes like Ernest Wilford, Gibril Wilson and Reggie Torbor, and draft busts such as Patrick Turner and Pat White.

I'm not really worried this move because I trust Ireland's experience and ability to craft the team.

In the end, there are two long-term concerns I have about the Dolphins. First, I'm most concerned about Parcells retiring, resurfacing with another franchise a few years down the line, and taking coaches and players from the Dolphins as he did with Dallas.

Secondly, I'm concerned that without a strong, renowned figure like Parcells leading the Dolphins, Ross will do what he pleases and shake up the foundation Parcells put in place.

If Carl Peterson ever becomes our general manager, I am going to be pissed.

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