MIAMI (CBSSports) — Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland isn’t particularly popular with fans.
This is what happens when the team languishes from one year to the next and Ireland either jettisons its best players (see: Brandon Marshall) or fails to even get in the conversation for others (see: Peyton Manning). But it doesn’t mean he’s not trying to improve the club.
In Tuesday’s episode of Hard Knocks, viewers got a behind-the-scenes look at the trade that would ultimately send cornerback Vontae Davis to the Colts for a second-rounder and a conditional sixth-rounder.
While there are reports that some Dolphins players are “dismayed” by the decision to ship Davis out of town, it appears to be the right move given the concerns that the third-year cornerback struggled to keep his focus.
Two examples: in the preseason game against the Falcons, Davis had what appeared to be a pick-six — except that he was flagged for pass interference after throwing the receiver to the ground just before the pass arrived.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. Just a total lack of awareness,” defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo said during Tuesday’s episode.
Then, when Ireland sat Davis down in his office to let him know he had been traded, Davis stared blankly into the distance for several awkward moments before offering up this: “I’m going to call my grandma.” Ireland suggested they take care of the issues at hand first and then Davis could make the necessary phone calls.
Look, we have no problem with Davis wanting to inform his family but his total lack of awareness in that situation seems to be indicative of what had been troubling the organization. “I like the kid, I do,” coach Joe Philbin said when discussing the possibility of trading Davis. “But I wonder if we’re ever going to be able to get him to where we would all like him to be.”
To Ireland’s credit (though we don’t expect it will earn him much political capital with his critics), he was a tough negotiator. The Colts initiated trade talks (turns out by text and not direct message), first offering a fifth and a sixth-rounder for Davis. That eventually improved to a third-round pick. Ireland informed the Colts that “It has to be something that’s going to blow me away” before reminding them that “You called me.” Ultimately, Indy upped their offer, Ireland took it to Philbin, and the two concluded that it would be in the Dolphins’ best long-term interest.
Now it’s just a matter of whether Ireland sticks around to be part of the ongoing rebuilding process. He has the support of owner Stephen Ross but at some point the on-field product has to get better. Otherwise, we can expect more of this.
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