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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Dolphins Tip Hand, Leaning Defense?

It’s so hard to tell when it comes to the NFL draft whether information is just that, or if it’s misinformation. You don’t know what’s been planted by GMs and coaches for purposes of gaining leverage in trade negotiations. But of all the things they say, some turn out to be true. For instance, not long ago everyone thought the Texans were crazy when they talked about building a franchise around defense, with Mario Williams as a cornerstone who would pressure Peyton Manning for years to come. Everybody laughed it off (with the exception of one person I know). At a news conference on Tuesday, Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland did the same thing, only this may have been an unintentional blunder:

”Of course I want guys who have great upside — this is the first pick in the draft,” Ireland said. “This guy is going to be, you hope he’s a pillar of your defense for a long time. Of course you hope he’s going to have upside. The economics to me . . .”

Ireland stopped mid-sentence, looking over at two reporters who were smiling about what they thought they just heard. Ireland gave the reporters a curious smirk of his own.

”Defense?” one of the reporters said.

”What’s that?” Ireland responded. “What did I say?”

”Pillar of your defense?” someone else said.

The laughter in the room escalated as Ireland tried to rebound.

”Pillar of your defense, your offense, your team,” Ireland said, as even he couldn’t help but laugh at his own wording. “That’s a Freudian slip.”

Man, would I love to have seen the video of that exchange. From the sounds of things, Ireland really did show his true feelings and made an honest mistake. Was he just dropping a test balloon to get everyone thinking they want to go Chris Long and maybe get someone desperate to trade up? Or did he really slip up? I think it was a screw up. After all, the Dolphins were the ones making it “public knowledge” last week that they were negotiating with Jake Long. Now why would they make that public unless they were trying to create some leverage? The pieces are starting to fit together for me. I’m guessing they’re going Chris Long at this point.

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