First, let me comment on Stephen Ross. I think he desperately wants to win, but I also think he needs to put a strong, knowledgeable GM in place and let him build this team. He has shown he is willing to spend the money necessary, now it time to put the right people in place.
At this point, I think this organization from the football side needs to be cleaned out and rebuilt, from the GM to a new coaching staff.
A couple of names that come to mind are Cincy DC Mike Zimmer and Stanford HC David Shaw. Zimmer is a no non sense, tell it like it is type of guy and he speaks his mind. This is what unfortunately hurt him the 1st time, as he told Ross and Ireland what he liked and did not like with the Dolphins and apparently they did not like it. Well, the truth hurt, get over yourself and do what is best for this team.
David Shaw just seems to have that "IT" factor, and he has prior NFL experience and has done a fabulous job of building on what Jim Harbaugh started at Stanford. I know John Gruden is a popular choice, but Gruden will want to bring his people in and Gruden does not need to be involved in any shape or form on personnel issues. He took over a Tampa Bay team that was built by Tony Dungy and Rich McKay built and won a championship with that talent. Then he slowly tore that team down with his personnel decision along with Bruce Allen, who he bought in after McKay left. If Gruden wants to coach, fine. Anything else, No Thank You.
Now, on to the personnel issues. I have said this many, many times and will say it again. You start the process of having a winning team by having dominant personnel on the offensive and defensive line, in other word, you win in the trenches. The Dolphins have tried and FAILED miserably to draft to build the offensive line. Miami cannot run block and have given up a league worst 37 sacks in 9 games. Some folks have questions about QB Ryan Tannehill, some legitimate, but when you have been sacked this many times in just 9 games, and hit as many times if not more, this will help stunt your growth.
Put quite simply, the offensive line needs to be rebuilt. OC Mike Pouncey would be the only holdover. Some might be kept for depth, but that is the only way some of the present OL personnel would be kept if I were doing this.
I like Miami skilled personnel for the most part. Mike Wallace needs to earn his money, but he also needs to be used in a fashion that best fits his strengths. Brandon Gibson and Brain Hartline are very solid and the emergence of Rishard Matthews last night was a very pleasant surprise. TE Charles Clay has taken his game to another level this year, but he still has room to improve. Dion Sims provides you versatility and a blocking TE as well and Michael Egnew is finally starting to show a little something.
RB Lamar Miller is a potentially big time back. Last night, I thought he did a solid job in blitz pickup, which use to be a big concern for him. To me, he is a homerun threat on every play. RB Daniel Thomas is a serviceable backup, nothing more, nothing less. I really thought Miami made a mistake not signing a sledgehammer FB in Vontae Leach. The Dolphins have used Charles Clay as a FB, but to me he should only be used in that formation when you want to take advantage of him in the pass game.
QB Ryan Tannehill had a solid rookie season and I thought he got off to a very good start the first 3 games of the year. As the sacks have added up, his game has regressed. There are certainly some concerns, but I would like to see this kid with a solid OL and run game that he could take advantage of before I give up on him.
Defensively, the Dolphins have some big decisions to make. DT Paul Soliai and Randy Starks are free agents, and Miami probably can't afford to keep both. If I had to choose one to keep, it would be Soliai. It hard to find DT/NT with Soliai size and power. He is a force in the run game and younger than Starks. The run defense has really struggled this year, but 2 years ago with these same 2 DT, Miami was a top 10 run defense. Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, Jared Odrick and Dion Jordan give the Dolphins a solid core of DL personnel.
What is wrong with LB Darnelle Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler. Are they as bad as the look or are they used in a way that best fits their skill set. Not sure about that right now, but the Dolphins have HUGE money in both guys, and they need more production out of those guys. Koa Misi is solid, but Miami has to add more depth and talent to this group. When you are having to use Jason Trusnik, a special teams guy at LB, you know there is not enough quality depth at this position.
In the secondary, when he is on the field, CB Dmiti Patterson is a difference maker and his partner on the other side, CB Brent Grimes is a MUST resign. He is healthy and has returned to his Pro Bowl form he showed with Atlanta in 2011. S Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons have had some issues, but for the most part they have been solid. Jimmy Wilson and Nolan Carroll give the Dolphins some depth, but Carroll is a kid that is best when he is in the nickel package. You can never have enough good cornerbacks in this passing league.
Return specialist Marcus Thigpen needs to show me something. He made a key mental error fielding a punt inside the 10 yard line. I know that you are told to set up at the 10 yard line, and that anything over your head, you let it go.
Rich knows a hell of a lot more than I do when it comes to the salary cap, but I know Miami will be in decent shape. Not nearly as good as this past year, but they can make some moves.
I am one that believes in building thru the draft and being smart in using free agency. This is the 1st time that Jeff Ireland went this heavily into using free agency, and so far the result have not been what you want to see. Tyson Clabo, Darnelle Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler have been disappointments. Brent Grimes has been a very pleasant surprise along with Brandon Gibson before he got hurt.
Sorry if I was a little long winded, but just wanted to share a few thought on what I would do.