Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told the Miami Herald on Monday that first-year general manager Dennis Hickey will return next season.
Hickey did good work with the draft, especially with Miami’s top two picks (offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James and wide receiver Jarvis Landry) and snagged some promising players that were selected either late in the draft (defensive end Terrence Fede) or weren’t drafted at all (running back Damien Williams, linebacker Chris McCain and defensive tackle Anthony Johnson).
In free agency, Hickey upgraded considerably at left tackle with Brandon Albert and at safety with Louis Delmas, then made a savvy move by signing center Samson Satele during training camp. Knowshon Moreno, another one of Hickey’s pickups, led the league in rushing in Week1 but played only three games because of a major knee injury.
In his final media availability of the season, Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor praised quarterback Ryan Tannehill, including a completion to Brandon Gibson in which Tannehill stood “in the pocket with two guys coming off blocks and made the throw while both of the guys were about to hit him. … I watch those things that tell me, ‘Hey, this guy is playing quarterback.’”
But asked if he has a conviction that he has a good starting quarterback moving forward, Lazor said: “Those aren’t my kind of statements to make.”
▪ Asked how he celebrated receiving the news that he would return as coach next season, coach Joe Philbin said: “I had one Guinness.”
In a more serious moment, Philbin said his emotion, upon hearing the news, was “mostly gratitude. It wasn’t relief. … It’s important for a head coach that the owner believes in him. If you don’t have that type of belief and faith from the owner, it’s not going to work. [Players] have to believe in me as the head coach or we’re not going to achieve any type of success here.”
▪ Philbin said even though the Dolphins (8-7) were eliminated from playoff contention Sunday, the Week17 game against the Jets is important because “we’ve got a chance to have a winning record at home … to have a winning record overall, [and] to have a winning record in our division. Those are very important things.”
▪ Though Lamar Miller had 92 yards rushing on 19 carries, he had only one carry (for 6 yards) in the fourth quarter.
Lazor said Miller didn’t play every snap late in the game because “of the wear and tear of the game. I wouldn’t call it an injury. Anther part of it is when we get into that kind of game, we think Damien Williams can help us.”
Miller played 60 of Miami’s 76 offensive snaps, compared with 20 for Williams and five for LaMichael James.
▪ According to Elias Sports Bureau, Sunday’s Dolphins game marked the first time in NFL history that a team had a go-ahead safety in the final minute of a fourth quarter. The Dolphins won last season’s Bengals game with a safety in overtime.