ORLANDO—When the Dolphins’ power trio of Mike Tannenbaum, Adam Gase and Chris Grier proposed their offseason plan to unload the best player on each side of the ball, their boss didn’t exactly leap out of his chair to embrace it.
Stephen Ross has little patience for more mediocrity and dropped an f-bomb in the locker room at the end of last season because he was so exasperated by going 6-10. He’s not eager for more of that.
But when his football people explained why they intended to cut Ndamukong Suh, even with a massive dead money salary cap hit looming, and trade Jarvis Landry, Ross eventually bought in to their blueprint.
“I questioned why,” Ross said this morning at the NFL league meeting. “You want to know why. There has to be justification for it, and you want to hear what their plan is. We’re constantly reviewing it. Certainly you don’t just do things and (not) ask, ‘Why was that done?’ Gotta ask that question.
“I saw the logic, but certainly I had questions. I think everybody has questions when you lose two players of that quality. You have to have reservations and questions.”
The Dolphins also shed center Mike Pouncey and did not re-sign Damien Williams and Michael Thomas. All three players had been with the organization for years.
There was a CBS report last season saying the Dolphins intended to move on from Suh, and Suh responded by saying he came to the team to play for Ross and win games, as well as indicating that they spoke about the report. Suh added that he planned on ending his career in Miami.
Ross was thought to be particularly close with Suh, but that attachment did not factor into this decision.
“Yeah, you like guys and certainly they gave an awful lot and you hate to see people go,” Ross said. “That’s true in life. We’re here to win football games. It’s not about making friends.”
Ross assumed there would be change after another frustrating season. There’s no way to hide from a 6-10 season, particularly one that could’ve been easily turned into 3-13 if a few plays had gone differently.
At the end of the year, he cited Ryan Tannehill’s season-ending knee injury in training camp as the biggest reason for the drop from 10 wins the previous year, but it was obvious that wasn’t going to fix all the Dolphins’ problems.
“I like where it’s going,” Ross said. “Most importantly I think the coach and the general manager and the whole team believes it’s been a successful offseason so far. Like all of us, I’m a fan. I have to wait and see. But I believe in them and what they’re doing and the game plan they have.”
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