Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dennis Hickey is the new Dolphins' GM

It's not because he's the most qualified or the most coveted, but more likely because he was the only fresh face remaining in the pool. Buccaneers director of player personnel Dennis Hickey is indeed the next general manager of the Miami Dolphins.

Dennis Hickey, 43, spent the last 18 seasons in the Bucs' organization.
He replaces the departed Jeff Ireland, who was fired on Jan. 7 after six seasons on the job. Now, there may actually be Dolphins fans that regret that move.

Hickey's only pro experience comes from spending the last 18 years in Tampa Bay, including the last three in his current title under GM Mark Dominik. who was fired this offseason.

He previously spent six years as the Bucs' director of college scouting after initially working as a pro personnel assistant and then a college scout. He was in the college scouting department in 2002 when the Buccaneers won their first and only Super Bowl title over the Oakland Raiders.

Prior to working for the Buccaneers, Hickey served as an assistant coach and in-state recruiter at Blinn (Tex.) Junior College after playing defensive back at Tulsa, graduating in 1994.

If you're wondering what "settling" looks like, this is it. Despite a great cap situation, a roster certainly not lacking in talent and a team that was one win away from the playoffs last year, the Dolphins failed to attract any of their top choices for the job thanks to a confusing power structure and an embarrassing owner that has no idea what he's doing in Stephen Ross.

Hickey is clearly the Dolphins' last resort, who seemed set on hiring anyone but in-house candidate Brian Gaine and named Hickey GM only after he and Gaine remained. Numerous other candidates spurned the team for other opportunities (Jason Licht becoming the Bucs' GM) or to remain in lesser roles elsewhere (Ray Farmer in Cleveland, Lake Dawson in Tennessee and Nick Caserio in New England).

Dawson and Caserio both dropped out during as finalists after second interviews this weekend, while a Saturday report even had Caserio having been offered the job only to turn it down almost instantly. Caserio would have been a huge win for the Dolphins after such a bleak process, but of course it was too good to be true.

None of us can really comment on Hickey's capabilities as a general manager. He could be a dud or a star. Tampa Bay, despite its recent struggles, certainly did well drafting and bringing in talent, and Hickey may have played a large role in that.

The issues are not so much with Hickey himself, but rather the process that clearly had him as a last resort. Ross made the job so unattractive thanks to his meddling nature, his insistence on keeping Joe Philbin on as head coach and the power given to capologist Dawn Aponte. Any self-respecting GM candidate would see the scenario and run, leaving only someone inexperienced and hoping to make a name for himself in the mix.

Given Ross' indecisive nature and his complete unwillingness to ever totally "clean house," it's hard to be optimistic for the future. We have no idea who is really making the decisions right now and if everyone is on the same page, and that's rarely (read: never) a recipe for success.