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Dolphins GM: Drafting Help For Tannehill

Miami Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland spoke with media Thursday about the draft and help for starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

(On if having so many picks in the draft changes his approach to the combine) It doesnt change too much, we brought every single person in the building. So we have eyes on every single player at the combine, we brought 55 personnel and coaches to the Combine, so weve got a lot of eyes on a lot of different guys so it really doesnt change the process. We are trying to prioritize who we are looking at, what we are looking at, this is an information gathering process. No firm decisions are made during this time period, we are just gathering all the information in and then we will start analyzing it as the information comes in.

(On philosophy with the 12th pick, fill a need or best player available, in the 2013 Draft) - Its early in the process, but we are going to try to, thats obviously the first goal you would like to take the best player available, but it depends on what you do in free agency, it depends on some of your needs and depends on whats there when you take the pick.

(On taking a player when public perception may think its a reach) Well if history repeats itself, I really dont care what the public perception is. I care about what my scouts say and what my eyes are telling me. So we have our own evaluations that we go into and sometimes you have a need there, sometimes you have the grade and they have to marry to each other when they do you take the player.

(On if this a do or die or make or break off season for the Dolphins) I would probably say neither of those, I think its a very, very important time period for this off-season. We have put a lot into getting into this position, so obviously we are in a position by design and so we plan to use some of the money and plan to draft the best players available if we can and try to address some of the needs and musts that we have on our football team.

(On how important it is to resign Brian Hartline) Well in terms of our free agents, were going to address every player that is a free agent. As it relates to anyone in particular, I am not going to discuss how our negotiations are going at this point, but it is important to get the guys that we are trying to get back, its important to get those guys done certainly before the (March) 8th, no doubt about it.

(On his opinion of the franchise tag and the likelihood of the team using it in 2013) Well its a resource certainly, and you have to evaluate how negotiations are going with certain particular players, but there are a lot of things that go into the franchise tag. A lot of different opinions, a lot of different aspects of when you use it when you dont use it, why you use it. So in terms of this year, there is certainly a likelihood that we could use it, but on particular who we havent made that decision yet.

(On how much stock is put into what a player does at the Combine) I always say that if youre doing your job your making decisions based on what they do when they have pads on and so we try to put a grade on them at the end of December and maybe at the end of February that we just got meeting on and that doesnt change when you get the results from here you just try to analyze what they are. Certainly the higher draft choices you want the ability on the field to marry to the ability in shorts. And certainly the later draft choices in my opinion you are looking for upside so you are looking for very good athletes and some of the things like that, so you are looking for more athletic ability at least that is what I am looking for.

(On why none of the Dolphins free agents are signed yet) Well we are going through a process, I dont think that we had to get them done on the first of January or there was no date, right now the date that I have in my head is March 9th is to get those guys done before they get into that period. So we have taken on the evaluation of our coaching staff we have been very thorough in that process, finding out what fits and when you have as many of them as we do you just cant make knee jerk reactions on certain guys and getting certain guys signed. So we have taken a very thorough evaluation, we have met on it many times so this is the time period we are starting to talk to them and get some things done.

(On if he learned anything new about Joe Philbin that he didnt know during the hiring process) Not really, Joe and I kind of hit it off from the beginning. He is very thorough, he doesnt get too high, he doesnt get too low. A very highly organized, got a great thought process involved, so all those things I knew going into his first year and its more enhanced now that we have got better communication and we have spent more time together. I think he knows what I am about and I know a little bit more of what he is about so it has been a very good marriage at this point.

(On if he thinks that he has a mainstay at quarterback in Ryan Tannehill) As I have said before, Ryan has got 35, 36 games under his belt as starting quarterback combined from a college and pro career and you would normally like to have 35 games under your belt as a graduating senior, so I think that there is a bunch of upside left in Ryans potential and I like what I see so far. I love his intangible makeup, I love his athletic skill set. We have a long way to go, he knows that, but he can get a lot better, I am very confident in that.

(On how wide he sees the gap between the top team and the rest of the division) There is a gap, certainly they have won the division quite a bit, so we have to close that gap. To say that, I think its a five game gap right now in wins and losses, so thats where the gap is. So we have to close that gap and we plan to do our best job, put our best foot forward getting that done this off-season. Now whether we can completely close the gap, we have to get back on the field and close the gap on the field, it doesnt make a lot of sense to talk about it right now.

(On what he got out of the Hard Knocks experience and if he would do it again) We sat and talked about whether or not we were going to do it or not and Joe I think made the famous statement I dont think any games are going to be won by doing it and I dont think any games are going to be lost by doing it, and I still feel the same way. It was a good experience, those guys are extremely professional people. The days go by and you really dont really know that they are there, other than the fact that the guy is sitting there with a mic as soon as I open my door in my office. I enjoyed it, it was good exposure for our franchise and again NFL Films and Hard Knocks they do an outstanding job.

(On using Ryan Tannehill mobility more going forward) You are asking the wrong guy, my title is General Manager not Head Coach, so I know he did some of that in college, he had some long runs. Again, I like his athletic skill set, that is one of the reasons we drafted him as high as we did. But how we use him and things like that, that is going to be up to (offensive coordinator) Mike (Sherman) and Joe (Philbin).

(On his theory or philosophy on how he approaches big-ticket free agents as opposed to the less expensive) You are always looking for value, and certainly to get production you hope that matches the value for what you are going to get. Everybody wants a bargain, and free agency, if you are going to play in free agency there are not just a ton of bargains out there especially if you are playing at the top of the market. So you just have to feel confident that what you are paying for is what you are getting, and that has always been a philosophy of mine is that the value and the production, the value and the ability and the evaluation, they match and that you are not overpaying for a lesser talented player.

(On how he compares this years draft to past years in terms of difference makers) I think there are some difference makers, difference makers I am sure you are referring to maybe some of the skill positions players, but I look at it maybe a little bit differently. I look at difference makers in the offensive line, maybe defensive line, maybe there is a safety out there, so maybe your vision of a difference maker may not be the same. I think there is good depth in the draft, I think in our last meeting we talked about 250 players that we liked a lot, so I think that there is pretty good depth.

(On how he brings the coaches into a process that he has been working at for months following the end of the season) I have always used the saying, scouts help you bring the information to the bridge and without the coaches you cant cross the bridge. So you have to have both involved in this evaluation, period. So again like said we brought our entire coaching staff here. This is the first time that as General Manager I brought every single person. Our building is empty right now so, but again, its a very critical period for us. I wanted all eyes on all the players and the mental aspect of the scheme fit is important to us and so we have our coaches talk football with them so we get them involved in that regard. I think its a very important aspect of things. In terms of the final decision, I mean thats a collective, its a collective process. Joe and the coordinator and position coach on that particular player, maybe. Were going to sit down. Were going to watch them together. If we dont see it eye to eye then well sit down and well watch the tape together and in trying to get that process right.

(On if there is any friction between the scouts and the coaches) - Ive never really been involved with a lot of friction. Were all professionals. The scouts, we work in professional football and I expect my scouts and I expect my coaches to be professionals in their regard. No we live in a world where were paid for an opinion and so youre going to have an opinion and youre going to have an opinion and they dont always mesh, they dont always marry. You like it when they do. Quite frankly I like when they dont. But it creates more debate involved in that and debate is problem solving and thats ultimately what the head coach and the GM are interested in, charged with as solving problems.

(On the new aptitude test that is being administered) -I really dont know a whole lot about it and they have not given us a lot of information about it, so theyre just going to give us the results and how its being tested. Im sure its early and new and so were going to get into it a little bit more.

(On what the Wonderlic was not providing) - Its been used quite a bit and I think theres maybe some concern that maybe people outside the combine are getting a hold of it possibly.

(On CBA and the salary cap roll over) - Well weve got good cap space so I like it. So right now I do anyway. I think that its been a positive thing for us. Being able to, what you dont spend

(is that what youre talking about. What you dont spend in one year you can roll back over the next year?) I think its good because certain things, you know, certain players youre trying to get done maybe in the current year, you cant get that person done so youre going to use that money to do him next year. So you dont want that money to go away. You want to be able to use that process. And now with the cap not going up is, maybe the 7% and I think teams need all the dollars.

(On if there is a percentage that he has in mind for his current free agents as well as going after other free agents) - I havent necessarily look at from a percentage stand point. We know the guys we want back on our team and we know the guys that were going to potentially go after in the market so well maybe analyze it, maybe a little bit different than that. Right now I think the plan is, its a strong plan to try to do a little bit of both and well see where it goes from there.

(On teams taking a chance on a talented player with character questions) Well character and makeup, Ive talked a lot about it. Always talked a lot about it, its been part of my philosophy since I was in Dallas. I certainly like guys that are highly competitive, that can learn. Theyre dependable. Highly passionate about football. So thats always going to be a part of my process of player procurement process and Joe certainly wants those dependable guys in the locker room. Look, were not, theres going to be guys on our football team that are going to make mistakes and were aware of that. You know moving forward those decisions that were in the past, those werent all just character. There were some other things involved that which Im not going to get into. But Im proud of the team that weve assembled. Ive got a great, strong locker room. I think thats, you its youthful, and I think that gives you the best opportunity when you have a good locker room, with good chemistry to continue to grow as a group.

(On how important it is to bring back players from a continuity standpoint) - Well I think its important to bring back key members of it. Again, its going to be their choice too. Well they want to come back but its a process involved. And were going to try to bring back the guys that we feel like are necessary to bring back to continue moving in the right direction.

(On if he looks at what guys do with their Twitter feeds) - Its something new, for sure. And Im not very good at it but I know I have guys on my staff that are very good at it and they follow it and they look at it. I dont know how much of the evaluation process that its taking in. Again its more information in what theyre saying and maybe theres a sense of maturity that goes along with being a heavy twitterer, is that right language, heavy twitterer. My guys on my staff are very good at it. They follow a lot of college athletes and I think its going to be a little bit bigger process as we move forward.

(On when he started putting more emphasis on Twitter and Social Media) - Might have been in the last two years for sure that we spent some time talking about it but more or less its on the individual scout to really to grind in to what theyre saying and you know we dont actually pull up their twitter page or anything in a meeting aspect but the individual scout or the national scout or may be even the college director may bring a snippet of information to the process.

(On if theres an obligation to sign a big name, high priced free agent) - You know were just trying to help our football team move in the right direction. I dont really feel the pressure there has to be a name guy. If that particular player we thinks going to help our football team move forward and take a big step then if he has a big name, great. If he helps our football team thats our first and foremost primary reason why were signing the player.

(On the 3 day window going to change what he does as a team) - You know I dont exactly how its going to change things. I dont know that theres going to be a lot done in the first 24 hours of that time period. Thats just a guess. Some of the bulk of what we can get done needs to happen before that time and so thats what were trying to get done and then that 3 day window is going to be, its obviously going to be competitive because of that openness of negotiating. So but exactly how its going to change things Im not exactly sure yet.

(On if the first day of the negotiating period is now replacing the first day of free agency) - Yeah, you could look at it that way. I mean, you know, you can now exchange papers but you cant bring the player in. But then theres three days of that. So whatever you give to an agent in the first 24 hours youve got 48 hours left to continue doing your work. So, its a sketchy.

(On if there is a role for Reggie Bush on this team) - Certainly, certainly, certainly would. Youd love to have his skill set on the football team. I mean Reggie has a unique set of skill sets. Hes been a receiver, hes been a primary running back. So I definitely see a role for that type of skill set.

(On if its realistic for Reggie Bush to be an every down back on this team) - Again, youre asking the wrong guy for that. Thats a coaching question.

(On him having to make the contract commitment) - Yes. Absolutely. So we know again, well just have to see how things go. Weve got a couple of more days of talking to our own guys and well see how that goes.

(On Jake Long saying its up to the Dolphins now if he would be back) - Well, you know weve talked with Jake. Weve talked with his representative as well. Weve made our desire to have him back on this football team known. But thats a tricky one as I said at the Senior Bowl. Theres a lot of different things that normally you dont have in that particular case. Some of the details I dont really want to get into, to be honest with you but theres just a complicated negotiation. But, you know, so well have to see how things go as well. Id love to have it back. Hes been a pillar for our football team since the day he step on campus and I dont see that thing changing either if he get him back.

(On Jake Longs injury history playing a factor in whether he comes back) - No. Its just something that we look at. I dont want to say its issue. I's something you look at. We have more intimate knowledge of his health than probably anybody else so its something that were aware of. And not something we have to get over or its an issue but something we know about.

(On the tight end position and how his evaluation of the position has changed) - No it goes back to whats being played in college and that position thats not primarily playing a traditional on the line of scrimmage, hand in the dirt, wide tight end as we would call it. You got a lot of detached receiver types that fit a tight end body type and so and then then when you play a system that uses a Y in the hand traditional tight end youre trying to sometimes project that player and projection in business is difficult. But you dont have to project the aspect of him being in the slot and running down the middle of the field and maybe getting open from different prospective, but you just have to make sure that player that youre drafting from the college standpoint, where he plays, marries to the scheme that youre playing you scheme. Basically.

(On the franchise tag and continuity at cornerback) - Well I think theres several players that are our current free agents that would be an option for the tag. I have not ruled out Sean (Smith) as being an option there. But again, weve got several more days left before we have to make that decision. Pretty good idea where were going with it but things could change daily, hourly. Continuity at the cornerback position always something youre looking for. So certainly Seans an option and maybe if we do use the tag, you know thats for continuity reasons and then obviously you know having him back on the team would be certainly I would like to do as well.

(On how important is having Randy Starks back) - Well its very important to have Randy back if we could get it done. Im not really worried about where were playing (Jared) Odrick or the fact of the matter is we have a very good defensive line and keeping that in tack is a focus of mine. Its a strength, continue to build the strength is a focus of mine. I dont want to let that strength become just average. I like where its at and keeping that a main stay is important to me.

(On how much he would like to have Matt Moore back) - Well again Matt, theres a lot of reasons why youd want Matt back on your football team. Matts been an outstanding teammate. Been a good mentor for Ryan. He was excellent when Chad (Henne) and him were in the room last year. So theres a lot of things of why you would want him back in the football team. So, again, like every other free agent weve talked about theres a process in place and you know they are all great character guys and its a business decision we have some tough decisions to make but again, I wish I could have them all back but Im going to be disappointed and maybe possibly one of those guys are going to be disappointed if this doesnt get done.

(On bringing back experienced corners and how it affects the Sean Smith negotiations) - We have some guys, I dont know where you see a leverage or not, we have a guy that was injured and two guys that were injured that ended up one didnt finish the season and one we end of claiming, Dimitri (Patterson). So Sean started almost every single game hes been since 2008. Having that continuity back with Sean is important but well have to see how that thing goes.

(On talks if talks with Sean Smith have been optimistic) - I guess optimistic. We had a meeting the other day and I left it optimistic, but, still a long way to go with that one.

Source: Miami Dolphins Media



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