Barry Jackson

There’s one main reason the Dolphins never thought of embarking on rebuilding project

Miami Dolphins vice president/football operations Mike Tannenbaum believes the team can remain competitive even after dumping three of their best players.
Miami Dolphins vice president/football operations Mike Tannenbaum believes the team can remain competitive even after dumping three of their best players. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

A six-pack of Dolphins postscripts from the NFL owner’s meetings:

▪ The question I posed to Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and executive vice president/football operations Mike Tannenbaum was a simple one: After deciding to part ways with some of their best players (Ndamukong Suh and Jarvis Landry, and later, Mike Pouncey), was any thought given to blowing it up and embarking on a rebuilding project instead of merely trying to fill holes with older stopgaps?

Ross deferred to Tannenbaum, and the answer wasn’t surprise: absolutely not.

Ross, at 77, has no desire to begin a rebuilding project, even if some might see merit in that.

Tannenbaum — who, like any executive, wants to keep his job — is of no mind-set to sell Ross on a long-term rebuilding job.

Tannenbaum reiterated the goal is to put a “competitive product” on the field.

Plus, Adam Gase, Tannenbaum and the front office are convinced quarterback Ryan Tannehill is good enough to make them a playoff contender.

Tannenbaum had no interest in a rebuilding job “because I believe of the people in our building. I believe in our players and coaches. There are a lot of players we’re counting on to do more. And we’re excited to see their progress. We’re trying to be opportunistic. And we were in acquiring Robert Quinn and Daniel Kilgore and Josh Sitton. We’re excited to get our starting quarterback [Ryan Tannehill] back. And I’m excited to watch him, with our head coach. So there are a lot of reasons we’re excited.”

Tannenbaum, asked to specifically articulate the organization’s plan, said this: “Our plan remains the same: to put a competitive product on the field each and every year. As Steve said, 6-10 wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t good enough for any of us, and it starts with us. We start ... 

“To have sustainability in our system, you have to correctly evaluate your own and there was some guys that played for us, contributed and we wish them well. They were notable names, and you know who they are. With that said, we felt like that created a lot of opportunities. We feel like we’ve increased the depth and the competition at receiver, at offensive line. We’ve added a few other pieces and there’s still a lot more work to be done. With the changes we’ve made, we feel good about it. We feel like we’re going in the right direction. We’re going to be getting our starting quarterback back and we have a draft to look forward to.  

“Our vision remains the same. We have a very clear idea of the types of players we want to keep trying to acquire, keep developing the young guys and there are a number of young players on our team that we feel will take the next step this fall. That’s something that you can’t really see right now; but based on their character, their work ethic and their ability, we’re confident that there will be a number of young guys that can contribute more and play more.” 

Dolphins coach Adam Gase meets with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine.

▪ With the Dolphins having parted with Lamar Miller, Olivier Vernon and Jarvis Landry after their first contracts, what would Tannenbaum say to players wondering if they will be jettisoned after their rookie deals expire?

“We’re going to try to keep as many of our own as we can and we’ve done that recently with Reshad Jones and Ryan Tannehill, and we’re going to keep trying to do that when it’s appropriate.”  

▪ After signing Frank Gore, the Dolphins aren’t pursuing a trade with Denver for C.J. Anderson. And we don’t believe the Broncos would have traded with Miami anyway because of bad blood between Dolphins coach Adam Gase and Denver executive John Elway. 

▪ The Dolphins do not expect to find their third starting linebacker with anyone left in free agency. Unless a starting player is released, the third starter is likely to come from the draft or a trade. 

▪ Our understanding is that even though the Dolphins intend to add at least one more defensive tackle, they don’t believe that he absolutely must be a starter. They would be fine entering the season with Jordan Phillips and Davon Godchaux as starters.

If they find a reasonably priced starting-caliber tackle — or if they can draft a potential impact one in the first two days of the draft — they would be interested in doing it. But they don’t feel like they absolutely need a starting tackle; simply adding a rotational tackle would do. 

▪ The Dolphins auditioned former Seahawks and Vikings kicker Blair Walsh, but didn’t sign him. Miami continues to audition draft-eligible kickers, with Gase joking that special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi might have been in Vancouver this week because he was traveling so much looking at players….Though he has some support on the coaching staff, the front office has made no attempt to re-sign defensive end Terrence Fede.

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