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No, I didn’t see this coming. No, I’m not going to pretend to have all the answers about new General Manager Dennis Hickey. We’ll all have to wait for that. What I can tell you is this: The importance of this being the right choice, and of Hickey making the right moves, can not be overstated.
This is a crucial time for this franchise. The roster is filled with potential and hope. The head coach and quarterback will both be entering their third seasons. But there is work to be done and decisions to be made. There is an offensive line that needs a new look. There are questions at running back and at linebacker and throughout a roster that needs upgrading. There is free agency and the draft and the potential of trades and so many different things that will go into shaping what the 2014 Dolphins are all about.
Dennis Hickey has a huge challenge in front of him. There is little time for introductions, little time to do much of anything other than seize this unique opportunity and jump head-first into all the various responsibilities that define his job.
It is premature to judge Dennis Hickey at this early date, just as it does little good to spend too much time focusing on what transpired during the interview process. That is all yesterday’s news and right now there is simply no time for that. This is a crucial offseason. The Dolphins must focus on where they are going; not where they have been.
The bottom line is this: Hickey will be judged the same way Jeff Ireland was judged. He’ll be judged on who he brings in and who he lets go. He’ll be judged by the draft picks he compiles and by the bold moves that he makes. He’ll be judged by free agency and trades. Mostly, though, he’ll be judged by wins and losses and playoff appearances. And, in truth, that’s exactly the way it needs to be.
The fact that Hickey has spent the last 18 years with the Tampa Bay Bucs, serving a variety of personnel roles, only tells you that he has the training necessary for this position. He was one of the key principals in putting together the 2002 Super Bowl champion Bucs and has shown a good ability to evaluate both free agents and draft picks. Now, he must take everything he has learned over those 18 years and apply it to the most imposing challenge of his professional life.
Now, he must produce. And that, far more than any of the other outside variables, will define whether Stephen Ross made a prudent hire.
Personally, I’m just glad the process is over and glad that the Dolphins are bringing in someone with new ideas and a different perspective. I’m anxious to see Hickey’s strategies. The way he approaches free agency. The manner he goes about compiling a draft class. His general philosophy on procuring talent.
There is no need at this juncture to chronicle the mistakes of past regimes. If there weren’t mistakes, those people would probably still be here. Change was mandatory because mediocrity wasn’t satisfactory. What’s important now is that we give Hickey the benefit of the doubt and a real chance to prove himself.
Much has been made during the interview process of the relationship between the head coach and general manager. Who is the boss? Who listens to whom? But the important thing, from my perspective, is that Joe Philbin and Hickey work as one and share similar goals and philosophies. They need to exchange ideas and evaluate differences. They need to form conclusions together and build a real, deep trust.
The only thing that should matter is improving the product on the field. If that’s what this relationship between Hickey and Philbin becomes then hierarchy becomes far less significant. That’s what I’m hoping to see.
So be glad that the process is over, that the Dolphins can now move on to other things, like piecing together an improved roster for next season. As I said earlier, it really doesn’t matter whether you know of Dennis Hickey or have a real conviction about his long-term potential.
All that matters now is that Hickey gives the Dolphins what they clearly need: The right decisions. The right players. At the end of the day, that’s how he’ll be judged and should be judged.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.