One last thing about the Baltimore Ravens game that could leave an enduring mark on owner Stephen Ross and could determine how the team handles its rebuild beginning in 2020:
You will recall the 2018 draft. It was one in which the Dolphins’ personnel department fell in love with then Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. And when Fitzpatrick was available to Miami when it was slotted to make a selection with the No. 11 overall pick, general manager Chris Grier didn’t hesitate to put in the pick for his, and indeed, everyone’s guy.
Except Fitzpatrick was not Ross’ guy.
Ross stopped the proceedings and suggested trading down. Ross confirmed to me that he wanted his people to think more strategically. He wanted them to consider multiplying the team’s pick by trading down for extra picks.
Ross wanted the Dolphins to consider more outside-the-box strategies and possibilities before merely turning in the Fitzpatrick selection.
And later I reported that Grier, running his third Dolphins draft as general manager, worked to talk Ross off his position. I was told by a league source Grier even told Ross he was picking Fitzpatrick and if the owner wanted to fire him, then he could fire him.
So the Dolphins got Fitzpatrick.
But multiple other professional media outlets have since reported one of the things Ross also wanted Grier to do after making his trade-down was consider picking Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson.
I have never confirmed if this reporting as accurate, but if it is accurate, it’s now very bad news for Grier. That would mean on Sunday, the player Ross wanted completed 85 percent of his passes for 324 yards and five TD passes.
And he did it against the Miami Dolphins not for the Miami Dolphins.
And Fitzpatrick, like most of Miami’s players, didn’t play well.
So what you potentially have is the player the owner wanted, a quarterback no less, playing well while the player the general manager got struggled.
How, one wonders, would this make Steve Ross feel as he sits in his luxury suite watching his team get pummeled 59-10?
I sometimes talk with former Dolphins people. Coaches. Players. Personnel people.
We cry on each other’s shoulders a lot.
And I asked a couple about Ross. Is he the kind of guy who would let an obvious mistake like that go seemingly unnoticed? Or would he say something?
And I’m told Ross would routinely say what was on his mind about different decisions within the organization — especially if he was right and others were wrong.
And, guess what, he has a perfect right to do that.
That $1.1 billion he spent on the team in 2009 gives him that right.
So in this case — if the reporting of other media is correct — Ross had a better grasp of what his team needed and should have done in the draft than his current general manager. And he had it figured out better than his entire personnel department, actually, most of whom remain employed by the Dolphins.
This would not be a good look for Grier.
And here’s the lasting effect: How can Ross, seeing his guy ballin’ when he was told by his experts their guy was better, keep a high confidence that he has the right people steering the franchise into the future?
Could this cause Ross to wonder if the general manager he tapped to run the entire organization and find a quarterback in 2020 be the right guy?
I don’t know the answer to these questions.
Ross was herded through the bowels of Hard Rock Stadium after Sunday’s game and into the Dolphins locker room while reporters were held by back by security. Then when reporters were allowed in the locker room, Ross was herded out a side door so as to avoid running into anyone like me.
The Dolphins have not allowed Ross to speak with reporters since training camp opened, and I expect they will continue to try to keep it that way.
But I’m not ready to dismiss these questions because they matter.
This also matters: Grier is expected to lead the decision to find Miami’s quarterback in 2020. I think we understand already the dry run to find that guy in 2019, which Grier also led, isn’t going too well right now.
Josh Rosen, you see, came to the Dolphins in trade because Grier thought Rosen might develop into the guy. Except he hasn’t been that.
He’s a developmental quarterback at this point. Rosen, in his second NFL season, has not been good enough to beat out a career journeyman so far.
And behind the offensive line the Dolphins are fielding this year, the idea of trading for Rosen seems misguided now because there’s no way he can succeed even if he did earn playing time.
That cannot be the vision Grier had for Rosen when he gave up a second- and fifth-round pick for him last April.
So again, the man slated to lead the search for a franchise quarterback in 2020 looks like he probably should have listened to Ross and taken Jackson in the 2018 draft. And looks like he probably should have kept those No. 2 and No. 5 picks instead of trading for Rosen in the 2019 draft.
Grier better hope Ross is not keeping score.