Head coach Joe Philbin recently concluded his exit interviews with the Miami Dolphins players and coaches, and now he'll hold his own sit-down chat with his boss, owner Steve Ross.
Ross, who works out of New York and resides part-time in Palm Beach, arrived at the Dolphins' Davie facility around 11 a.m. on Thursday to sit down with his head coach, and General Manager Jeff Ireland.
Following last Sunday's 20-7 loss to the New York Jets - which prevented the Dolphins from finishing 2013 with a winning record and advancing to the playoffs - Ross told the Sun-Sentinel he wouldn't guarantee anyone in the organization was safe.
Ross needed time to think about the direction of the 8-8 Dolphins, which hasn't put together a winning season since 2008. The Dolphins were one of the NFL's hottest teams in December, then had an embarrassing collapse in the season's final two games, losing to the Buffalo and the Jets.
In those two contests the Dolphins scored all of seven points, and couldn't stop their opponents rushing attacks. The losses gave Miami a 2-4 record in the AFC East.
Ross is in Davie to get answers, and sources say those answer could possible determine the fate of Ireland, and that might impact whether Philbin coaches a third season in Miami.
Ross spent $280-plus million on free agents, contract extensions, and draft picks this offseason with the belief Ireland had assembled a playoff team for Philbin and his staff.
However, the Dolphins offense remains one of the NFL's worst. The Dolphins finished 2013 ranked 27th in total yards per game, 26th in rushing yards per game, 28th in net passing yards per play, 30th in sacks per passing play, 29th in first downs per game, and 26th in points per game.
And the defense took a drastic step back from the forceful 2012 unit, when coordinator Kevin Coyle's defense was one of the NFL's stingiest against the run, one of the NFL's top teams defending third downs, and the NFL's best in the red zone.
This season the Dolphins defense allowed 1,998 rushing yards, which is the most allowed since the 2007 season, where the Dolphins finished 1-15. The Dolphins defense finished 21st in total yards per game, 24th in rushing yards allowed per game, and 17th in third down efficiency. But the unit did finished eighth in points allowed per game, and possessed one of the lowest passer ratings for opposing quarterbacks.
It is possible that Ross might remove Ireland, who has served as the Dolphins' General Manager since 2008, and that might lead to the removal of Philbin if a new executive is allowed to pick his own coach.
It is also possible Ross could request Philbin change coordinators, removing offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, Coyle, or both. Some assistants, like offensive coordinator Jim Turner, could also be in jeopardy.
But it is also possible Ross might opt to show patience and loyalty, by giving everyone involved one more season to turn the Dolphins into a winner in 2014.
Ross might also wait for the NFL's independent investigation on this season's bullying scandal, which involved Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito, before determining the fate of Ireland, Philbin and others.