Owner says Dolphins have keepers at coach and QB

Owner says Dolphins have keepers at coach and QB

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross thinks years of instability in the coaching and quarterback jobs are over, and the team's losing will end soon, too.

Speaking with reporters Monday, Ross said he was pleased about the work of first-year coach Joe Philbin and rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, even though the Dolphins went 7-9 to finish below .500 for the fourth consecutive season.

``The two biggest ingredients in a winning team are your coach - and I think we have our head coach - and second is a quarterback you can build around,'' Ross said. ``This is a quarterback-centric league, and you see every great team that is there consistently has a quarterback. I think we have our quarterback.

``Once you are there, it is a lot easier, I think, to put the building blocks around them.''

Ross believes those blocks can be in place in 2013. When asked the organization's plan for the coming year, he laughed and said: ``Win.''

Philbin was hired a year ago as a first-time head coach - and Miami's seventh coach in eight years - after Ross unsuccessfully courted Jim Harbaugh in 2011 and Jeff Fisher in early 2012. While Philbin wasn't the first choice, Ross said he was impressed by the coach's organizational skills on the job, and the way he followed through on the plan he laid out before the season.

``We have a really solid head coach here, and a guy that I think will be here a long time and hopefully bring all those victories that everybody wants,'' Ross said.

Tannehill, the first quarterback drafted in the first round by Miami since Dan Marino in 1983, became the first Dolphins rookie QB to start all 16 games.

``What really impressed me is his intelligence and the type of person he is,'' Ross said. ``He's a high-character guy, and that's what you want.''

Ross completed his purchase of the Dolphins in January 2009, when Bill Parcells was the football czar and Tony Sparano the coach. Parcells stepped down in 2010, and Sparano was fired late in the 2011 season.

But according to Ross, only now does the organization bear Ross' stamp.

``This is really the first time I've really gotten involved,'' he said. ``I didn't select the people that were here before. I was handed a situation that, for one, I was kind of pinned to the wall. I have a lot of respect for Bill, but I didn't put together that organization. I also felt that I should learn a little bit before I started making moves. Making moves for the sake of making moves is sometimes probably the worst move you can make. You want to sit back and really assess the situation, which I was able to do.''

One position of stability for the Dolphins has been general manager Jeff Ireland, who is beginning his sixth year with the team even though many fans consider him the chief culprit for the recent losing.

Ross was asked why Ireland is the lone holdover from the Parcells regime.

``His football intelligence, his knowledge, his hard work,'' Ross said. ``He has the respect of his peers and he is one of the youngest general managers around. I like dealing with youth and enthusiasm. And I think he has the knowledge and desire. He is smart, and he is committed.''

Ireland has the Dolphins well-positioned this offseason, with five of the first 82 draft picks and more than $40 million in cap space. Philbin has said he prefers to build through the draft, and Ross agrees.

``Free agency certainly isn't the answer. We've all seen that,'' Ross said. ``Oftentimes there's a reason why a guy is out there as a free agent.''

But the billionaire real estate developer said he's willing to spend whatever it takes to build a winner.

``Certainly all my resources are there, and if the right players are there, I don't care what it costs,'' Ross said. ``We'll go after them.''

The Dolphins have reached the playoffs only once in the past 11 years, and home attendance is in decline. This season, they ranked fourth-worst in the NFL at 57,379 per game.

``I can understand, when you're not winning, why some people might not show up. We put a winning team on the field, I think we'll fill up the stadium,'' Ross said. ``We're moving in the right direction, and I feel good about it, more so today than I ever have.''


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Bradley Beal sees Phil Chenier's jersey retirement as something to strive for

Bradley Beal sees Phil Chenier's jersey retirement as something to strive for

The relationship between Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal and Bullets legend Phil Chenier goes beyond your average friendship between a current and former player, or a current player and team broadcaster. Beal and Chenier are close to the point Chenier often offers advice as a fellow shooting guard who helped lead the organization to some of their most important accomplishments.

Beal is always open ears when Chenier is talking and took great honor in being the one to tell Chenier personally that his jersey would be retired by the Wizards. The day has come for Chenier's No. 45 to be raised to the rafters and Beal feels a unique sense of pride in seeing a man he reveres to the highest degree finally have his day in the sun.

"It's unbelievable. It's more than deserving," Beal said. "I was happy to be the one who told him about it. It's a special night for him. He's been a mentor to a lot of us for many years."


Chenier was a three-time All-Star for the Washington Bullets back in the 1970s. Following his playing career, he became a legendary broadcaster calling Bullets and then Wizards games for over 30 years.

Beal is now an NBA All-Star himself, having earned the honor for the first time this season. He is a shooting guard, just like Chenier.

Chenier was the color analyst for Wizards games for the first five years of Beal's career and Beal has always seen Chenier as a model to follow both on and off the court.

"It's always motivation for me to get better and I feel like this is the final touch of it, having your jersey retired by the franchise that you played a part in their success," Beal said.


The honor Chenier is about to receive is another goal to strive for. Beal wants to achieve a lot of what Chenier has accomplished in his life from winning a championship to making All-NBA to now having his jersey hang in the rafters at Capital One Arena.

"It definitely motivates me for that to be a goal of mine. Especially with the fact we both play the same position," Beal said.


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For more on Chenier's jersey retirement, check out our in-depth interview with him on the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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Ravens' Eric DCosta not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 16

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Ravens' Eric DCosta not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 16

And with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select.... a quarterback?

Assistant general manager, and soon to be general manager, Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility that the Ravens use their first-round pick on drafting a quarterback to eventually replace Joe Flacco. 

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of draft a quarterback in the first-round. 

Quarterback is just one of many offensive needs for the team. Joe Flacco's stats have been trending downward as the 33-year old is entering his 11th season.


Owner Steve Bisciotti though may disagree with DeCosta.

At his annual State of the Ravens press conference, Bisciotti said, "That’s not really something that we’re worried about right now. We’ve got bigger fish to fry, I guess. I don’t consider that a big worry," in regards to looking at life after Joe. Bisciotti also noted the team would be looking at all options in free agency and the draft for weapons for their QB.

From the sound of that, it appears the team's first choice would be a wideout, but the Ravens haven't drafted a quarterback since Joe Flacco back in 2008. 

The 2018 NFL Draft class has a handful of strong quarterbacks to choose from and not a ton of first-round wide receivers. 

Former Ravens scout, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has predicted the team with take Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield in the first-round. 

"It basically depends on our evaluation and how we feel about the guy, what we think he can become as a player and what we think his upside is and if he's there," DeCosta said

Backup Ryan Mallet is a free agent so the organization will have to find someone to fill the role, whether it's someone on a one year-deal, or the future QB of the franchise.