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Commentary: Dolphins' Steve Ross holds all the power, which means he now deserves all the blame

It was a straight forward question, direct and to the point. Maybe that's why it produced an answer that matched.

The Miami Dolphins' search for a new general manager hit a couple snags because the team's owner wasn't willing to give his prospective GM candidates the power to hire and fire the head coach.

Whether that decision could be made tomorrow, or after the 2014 season, or four years from now, everyone deserved to know why Steve Ross insisted on holding onto control?

Ross paused for a second, offered a smirked, and then answered.

"I own the team. Let us start there," Ross said before letting out a chuckle.

Never mind the fact that few NFL GMs actually hire or fire their head coaches, and vice versa.

Say whatever you'd like about the Dolphins' GM search, the organization's power structure, how many people were offered the job (technically three), or Dennis Hickey's qualifications to be a GM (18-years in a NFL front office proves they are legit), but the Dolphins' offseason drama starts and ends with that one decision.

From now on call him Steve "The Boss" Ross, and his arrival to the Dolphins facility should feature Rick Ross' song "The Boss" as his theme music.

He's a young NFL owner -- in experience, not age -- still finding his way. And while Ross is sensitive to public perception, and uncomfortable with the many missteps his franchise had taken the past few years, the real estate mogul isn't scared to try new things. Or to fail.

That's usually a trait of successful business men. And considering Ross' net worth is reportedly $4.4 billion, and his company routinely does deals that feature figures with three commas in it -- finalized a $25 million deal this week -- it is safe to assume the description fits.

Ross also isn't willing to let the NFL establishment bully him, which is bold and admirable. But it doesn't mean he will deliver the Dolphins a winning organization.

Only better quarterback play, better coaching, more player development, and the additions of proven leaders will do that.

"I want to win," Ross often repeats.

But Boss Ross also needs to be the man everyone answers to, and if you paid $1.1 billion for something, like he did for the Dolphins franchise, you'd understand why.

Ross doesn't want to be a controlling owner like Dallas' Jerry Jones, making his team's draft pick, or viewed as a meddler like Washington's Dan Snyder.

However, Ross, who became the team's majority owner in 2009, hasn't exactly found his lane yet. He's the first to admit he's a football fan who signs the checks. And he's committed to giving Hickey the resources needed to remake the Dolphins roster yet again.

But Hickey and Joe Philbin make the football decisions.

"I've always told both the coach, and I'll tell it to Dennis, if I tell you to draft a player, or play a player, or call a play you don't have to listen," Ross said. "You rely upon people who know what they are doing. You have the best people there, and you don't micromanage them.

"If you're working together as a team that's the best kind of chemistry, and you're going to have a winner. That's what I want to see in an organization."

That doesn't mean Ross doesn't have the right to probe for answers, especially when turmoil engulfs his team, like what took place during last season's bullying saga, or at the end of the year when the franchise lost the final two games with a playoff berth at stake.

Ross needed answers for those embarrassments, and created change because of what he learned.

Ross feels he deserves the right to pick his employees. Whether the fans, the media, the NFL community like his decisions or not is secondary.

However, Ross needs to understand Philbin is the head coach he picked back in 2012, and Hickey is the GM The Boss selected.

There are no more fingers of blame to point at others now. If Ross' new circle of trust doesn't turn the Dolphins' tide it is because Ross failed at picking the right people to build, and coach his team.

There's nobody else to blame anymore. When you hold all the power you accept all the blame for what transpires. But that's just another day in the life of the Dolphins' boss.

(c)2014 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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