All of this traces to the offensive line, what coach Joe Philbin rightly calls the starting point for any offense.
A man named Jim Turner coaches that unit, if he would even admit it these days. He is a former Marine, so his toughness is not in question. But the toughness of the men he coaches is. Results invite doubt about his job security, but this is the burden of Ireland.
Ireland is the personnel chief who went into this season with two quality, NFL-starter-caliber linemen center Mike Pouncey and guard Richie Incognito and a bunch of discards and spare parts.
The left tackle Martin, a 2012 second-round draft pick, is a nightmare, a perpetual work-in-progress at the last position you can afford one. Right tackle Tyson Clabo, a 2013 free agent pick-up, has been almost as bad. Each has already allowed six sacks.
Ireland knew Martin was a weak link and risk, and yet he let Jake Long go in free agency to St. Louis, and then failed to consummate negotiations with Kansas City to trade for left tackle Branden Albert.
Retrospect tells us Long, even with his sketchy injury history, was worth spending more to keep, or that Albert was worth spending more to get.
There were free agent options not pursued, such as Patriots tackle Sebastian Vollmer.
There were draft options passed by, in a year when three of the first four picks were tackles and Miami was in a trade-up mood.
There also have been recent trade options. Just last week two starting left tackles changed teams Baltimore getting the Jags Eugene Monroe and Pittsburgh the Cardinals Levi Brown, both for modest draft picks. Each would have immediately helped Miami.
The Dolphins history of great offensive linemen only magnifies the 2013 woes.
From Hall of Famers Larry Little, Jim Langer and Dwight Stephenson to Bob Kuechenberg, Richmond Webb and Long, this has seldom been a club that couldnt protect its passer and run block. Heck, whats happening now is enough to make you get all wistful for Vernon Carey!
The lack of protection is blindsiding Tannehills progress and this seasons prospects.
If only Ireland had the excuse to say he had been blindsided by this problem.