As the Sports Ticker
framed it, "The Bill Parcells
revolution continued Thursday" as the Miami Dolphins fired coach Cam Cameron
The change comes only a day after Parcells, the team's new executive vice president of football operations, named Jeff Ireland as his new general manager. Randy Mueller was fired from the role on Monday.
Cameron's future had been in the balance since his team wrapped up a 1-15 season with a 38-25 loss to Cincinnati on Sunday.
Following Cameron through the door are all of his coaching staff except assistant special teams coach Steve Hoffman and linebackers coach George Edwards. Cameron had met with Parcells on Tuesday amid widespread speculation that he would be fired, but it took two more days for the decision to come.
Part of the delay was Parcells' desire to consult with Ireland on the coaching situation.
According to Profootballtalk.com editor Mike Florio, there's a strong belief in media circles that the Dolphins waited to fire Cameron in order to bolster the appearance that Ireland -- and not Parcells -- has the final say over the coaching staff.
Even though the Cowboys allowed Ireland to jump to Miami without a fight, Florio suggests (and correctly so) that Dallas owner Jerry Jones would be quick to seek compensation after the fact if there's proof that Parcells is the one pulling the strings.
Speaking at a press conference that doubled as his own introduction, Ireland said the decision to fire Cameron was not based on the Dolphins' dire record alone.
"Bill and I talked at length yesterday about what direction we're going in," he explained. "We just felt like, in order to look forward and not back, we needed someone in place that shared the same philosophical compatabilities that we share.
"We didn't really know (Cameron) that well. From that point, we wanted to try and get someone who did share our views and we weren't completely sold that he did."
Asked to rank the factors weighing in the decision, Ireland put the Dolphins' 1-15 record third behind shared philosophy and familiarity.
The coach was informed of his firing on Monday morning.
"He was a perfect gentleman," Ireland said. "He's a high class man."
Ireland joins the Dolphins after seven years in Dallas, spending the last three as the Cowboys' vice president of college and pro scouting.
"I want to tell everyone how excited I am for this opportunity," he said. "It's a great chance for me and it's a great chance for the Dolphins, in my opinion. This is one of them more storied franchises in professional sports, one of the premier franchises in the NFL, and I'm excited to have this opportunity.
"My commitment is to try to rebuild this franchise and to put it back on top of, one, the division, and two, the conference."
Ireland played a key role in determining draft strategy for the Cowboys, and as well as finding a coach for Miami, he must now start planning how to use the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft.
A quarterback could be on top of the list. "I think that's very high," he said. "You've got to have a quarterback."
But finding a coach obviously comes first.
Ireland said that both he and Parcells are firmly on the same page when it comes to the future of the franchise. Now they must find a coach who shares their vision.
"We want to build a culture around here and we want to get someone that shares the same opinions that we do," Ireland said. "You'll see those things, we won't just talk about that.
"We want strong characters around here, we want passionate football players."
According to Associated Press sports writer Steven Wine, the early front-runner to replace Cameron is another Cowboys employee, assistant head coach Tony Sparano. He's scheduled to interview Friday for the head coaching vacancy in Atlanta.
Other pundits have suggested current Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett as a possible candidate. There have also been reports suggested former Cowboys assistant and current Cardinals coordinator Todd Haley and even one rumor speculating that current Browns head coach Romeo Crennel might be targeted.
Ireland said plans for the coaching search were still being formulated.
"We're going to try to make a quick decision, but we don't have a timetable," Ireland said. "We'll have a broad range of candidates. We'll look into every possibility. ..."
Meanwhile, the Miami Herald reports that Parcells apparently has reached out to at least one player whose Dolphins future appears in doubt -- Ricky Williams.
Williams' agent, Leigh Steinberg, wrote in an e-mail to the Herald that Williams received a letter from the Dolphins dated Dec. 31 and signed by Parcells renewing Williams' contract for 2008.
Steinberg wrote that he will wait until Parcells has a chance to settle in with the Dolphins before contacting him. Steinberg also wrote that Williams is doing well in his rehabilitation from a torn pectoral muscle that ended his 2007 season after six carries against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 26.
Herald staffer David J. Neal suggests that such a letter would seem to indicate that Parcells wants Williams back next season. That is not surprising from a practical perspective.
Although his rehab is reportedly going well, there is no certainty how soon -- or if -- Ronnie Brown will recover from a torn knee ligament that ended his season as he was piling up 100-yard rushing games at 5.0 yards a carry. Even if Brown recovers fully, having a healthy Williams would give the Dolphins the kind of two-back tandem that is popular in the NFL.
Also, if Williams can shake off the rust of being a 31-year-old who has played 12-plus games in the past four seasons, it would give the Dolphins another asset they could trade. Neal went on to note that Ireland doesn't have a track record as far as trade tendencies, but his direct boss is well-known for being willing to deal, and he might encourage Ireland in that direction.
Williams is set to make $730,000 next season, hardly expensive for a running back playing well.