But there are reasons to be encouraged:
The Dolphins are not the same organization they were in 2010. Ireland is more experienced and running the show without Bill Parcells. Philbin and the coaching staff are different.
And so far, that’s working out quite well.
There is a growing sentiment around the NFL that Philbin, still unproven and still admittedly trying to become a better coach, is quite good at evaluating talent. He knows a good football player when he sees him.
That’s encouraging because after spending much of his first offseason attending to fundamental coaching duties, Philbin this offseason has had more time to devote to personnel.
“In the first year, you’re putting together a staff. You’re putting your calendar together, time frames, all those things,” Philbin said. “Obviously, we have a much better handle on that at this point. I would say definitely more of my time has been devoted to personnel.”
The truth is also that the shotgun marriage between Philbin and Ireland is apparently working very nicely now. The coach and general manager, strangers a year ago, have a very good working relationship now. There is an expanding and significant understanding between the two about what kind of players the Dolphins want and should have.
“Yeah, it’s a collaborative effort,” Philbin said. “Jeff and I work closely together. His staff does a great job with their film evaluations. Our coaching staff, I think if you ask Jeff, has worked their tails off in regard to both the free agent evaluations and they’re into the college draft process as well. So it’s a cumulative effort.
“Certainly, I’m not the money guy. I don’t discuss contracts and offer this much or that much. That’s not my area of expertise. They certainly kind of take control of that, but I think we both kind of decide that we like this player, we think he can help us, he can contribute to our success and let’s go after him.”
With that overall organizational vision coming into focus, it is fair to say that the additions of Wallace, Ellerbe and Wheeler — the highest-priced free agents signed by Miami this offseason — come with a stamp of approval from both the personnel and coaching staffs. They agree those moves will work.
Both also agree Tannehill, unlike Henne, won’t be a flop. That is encouraging.
It all raises hopes that 2013 won’t be a replay of 2010.