Jeff Ire­land has not worked for Dol­phins owner Stephen Ross in five years. But peo­ple in foot­ball cir­cles believe Ire­land is help­ing di­rect Ross to Den­nis Allen as a re­place­ment for Adam Gase as head coach.

Miami Herald (Sunday) - - Sports - BY ADAM H. BEASLEY [email protected]­ami­her­ Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-2387, @AdamHBeasley

Dol­phins in­ter­view Saints as­sis­tant Den­nis Allen in coach search,

New Or­leans Saints de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Den­nis Allen made his pitch to Stephen Ross and Chris Grier on Satur­day, be­com­ing the third wouldbe coach to in­ter­view for the team’s va­cancy.

The word on the lips of many ob­servers when the news broke Fri­day: Why?

Why did Ross and Grier grant a fo­rum to Allen, who failed pretty spec­tac­u­larly in his first go-round as a head coach?

Allen went 8-28 in twoplus sea­sons with the Raiders, and al­though he has re­ha­bil­i­tated his rep­u­ta­tion in New Or­leans, it still seems like an un­usual choice. The Dol­phins are the only known team with in­ter­est in Allen.

So again, why?

Per­haps Ross is fol­low­ing the ad­vice of a high­pro­file former em­ployee.

The be­lief around the league is Allen was rec­om­mended to Ross by Jeff Ire­land, the former Dol­phins gen­eral man­ager and ar­chi­tect of the Saints ros­ter that earned home­field ad­van­tage through­out the play­offs.

Yes, the same Ire­land that Ross fired five years ago.

Ire­land and Ross were al­ways an im­per­fect fit dur­ing the former’s six sea­sons as Mi­ami’s gen­eral man­ager. H. Wayne Huizenga hired Ire­land along with Bill Par­cells and Tony Sparano in 2008, Huizenga’s fi­nal year as Dol­phins owner.

Ross as­sumed own­er­ship the fol­low­ing sea­son, and two years later, he was al­ready ready to move on from Sparano. Ross, with Ire­land on-board, flew to Cal­i­for­nia to sur­rep­ti­tiously in­ter­view Jim Har­baugh for the job Sparano still held.

Then, the plan fell apart. Har­baugh chose the San Fran­cisco 49ers, and word of the meet­ing was made pub­lic. The re­la­tion­ship be­tween Sparano, who passed away last year, and Ire­land was never the same again.

And Par­cells re­port­edly was not happy with Ire­land’s lack of loy­alty to Sparano, and they had a fall­ing out as well.

Ire­land’s turn in the Dol­phins tem­pest came two years later. In 2013, he wasted enor­mous cap space and the No. 3 draft pick on a bunch of play­ers who made very lit­tle im­pact; Ross canned him af­ter the sea­son.

Five years later, Ire­land has a good chance to win a Su­per Bowl as the Saints’ as­sis­tant gen­eral man­ager, and Ross is look­ing for his third per­ma­nent coach since Sparano.

And yet, be­hind the scenes, Ire­land ap­pears to still have sway with Ross.

Ire­land and Allen have worked to­gether in New Or­leans since 2015, and un­der the lat­ter’s stew- ard­ship, the Saints de­fense has im­proved from 27th in 2016 to 17th in 2017, and ranked 14th in 2018.

Allen seems to be a long shot to get the job. He is one of at least seven can­di­dates the Dol­phins have tar­geted as po­ten­tial re­place­ments for Adam

Gase, who was fired Mon­day.

(Gase, it should be said, is a man in de­mand. He is set to in­ter­view for the Pack­ers’ open­ing and has al­ready met with the Car­di­nals and Jets.)

Ross and Grier on Fri­day met with Pa­tri­ots de­fen­sive play-caller Brian

Flores and Chiefs of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Eric Bie­niemy. ESPN first re­ported that Kris Richard, a Cow­boys de­fen­sive as­sis­tant, will in­ter­view with the Bucca- neers, Jets and Dol­phins Sun­day.

Dol­phins spe­cial teams co­or­di­na­tor Dar­ren Rizzi will get his chance to present his plan on Mon­day. And Vic Fan­gio and Mike Mun­chak are in the mix as well, al­though Mun­chak seems likely to land in Den­ver.

The Dol­phins are al­ready be­hind the pace they set in their last coach­ing search. In 2016, they hired Gase the Satur­day af­ter the sea­son ended, but this seems like it will take more time. More than half of their can­di­dates are in the play­offs, mean­ing they are off lim­its un­til their sea­sons end.


Den­nis Allen, who went 8-28 as the Raiders’ head coach, is now the de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor for the Saints.

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