MIAMI — In the wake of the Dolphins‘ late-season collapse, owner Stephen Ross immediately began contemplating an organizational shakeup.
Ross has been meeting with his top advisers before deciding whether to fire anyone, two people familiar with the situation said.
One of the people said the meetings began Sunday night and will resume Thursday, and that a decision could come then. The person said that during Miami’s season-ending loss Sunday to the New York Jets, Ross became so upset he turned away at one point because he could no longer watch.
Second-year offensive coordinator Mike Sherman is considered the most likely to be fired, and sixth-year general manager Jeff Ireland’s job is also in jeopardy. Coach Joe Philbin is likely to return for a third season, the two people familiar with the situation said, but that’s not a certainty.
The Dolphins, who finished 8-8, were on the verge of earning the final AFC wild-card berth before being outscored 39-7 while losing their last two games to the Buffalo Bills and Jets, two non-playoff teams. If the Dolphins had won either game, they would have made the postseason for the first time since 2008.
Miami had four victories over teams that made the playoffs but also lost three games to last-place teams. In addition to inconsistency on the field, Miami had its season nearly derailed by a locker-room bullying scandal that drew national scrutiny and remains under NFL investigation.
Ross is concerned about the impact of the late collapse on attendance, which has sagged during the playoff drought.
On Monday, Philbin said the team was close to contending for titles. The Dolphins have improved from 6-10 in 2011 and 7-9 in 2012, but Ross expected a playoff berth after spending more than $100 million in guaranteed money last offseason to upgrade the roster.
Sherman’s offense ranked 27th in the NFL in yards, allowed a franchise-record 58 sacks and scored just once in its final 24 possessions.
Ireland, a protege of Bill Parcells, was hired as general manager in 2008, and the Dolphins won the AFC East in his first season. But they haven’t been above .500 since, the longest such stretch in franchise history, and fans have vented about him for several seasons.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press