by Chris Shashaty, Columnist

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This is the first offseason I can truly say that I have confidence in Stephen Ross as Miami Dolphins owner. I just like how he is going about his own business, and the team’s business.

Here are three things that inspire confidence.

1) He spends money: players, staff, facilities... you name it. Ross wants a first class, winning franchise in all aspects and isn’t afraid to open his wallet to make that happen.

2) He doesn’t meddle: Ross prefers to hire good people and let them do the jobs they are being paid to do well.

3) He learns from his mistakes: Ross is not afraid to confront issues, even if they are of his own making. Each year since buying the team from Wayne Huizenga, he has improved his acumen as an NFL owner.

From these behaviors, we are seeing a well thought out purpose and method in Ross’s offseason actions thus far which are reassuring.

Ross appreciates and values head coach Joe Philbin for his organizational and leadership talents, and his dogged determination to change the culture of the Dolphins. But when Ross sat down with Philbin at season’s end, Ross was also armed with facts that suggested a coaching change on offense was in order. While Ross couldn’t order Philbin to fire Mike Sherman (Philbin’s contract gives him sole authority on those decisions), he let the facts, rather than emotion, make the case. Philbin, a very smart man, looked at the situation objectively. He saw the position that Ross artfully and rightfully put him in, balanced his loyalty to Sherman with reality, and made the right move.

Ross also met with General Manager Jeff Ireland. It’s no secret that Ross admired Ireland’s scouting talents, but he also put indisputable facts on the table: the GM’s moves (and non-moves) hadn’t produced a winner for the fifth consecutive season, and he’d lost the confidence of Philbin and Senior Vice President of Football Operations Dawn Aponte. In short, Ireland had put himself in an untenable position and Ross tactfully pointed it out to him. This compelled Ireland to essentially resign.

Again, the right move.

The search for a new offensive coordinator (Philadelphia Eagles QB coach Bill Lazor) was solely Philbin’s choice. Early returns on the Lazor hire are positive, though the on-field production is what will really matter. For now, another good move.

Of course the big move will be the choice of the next GM. He knows it has been the weak link in the team’s front office over the last decade. He also knows his faith in Ireland was misplaced, and has owned up to that by running Ireland off.

Choosing a new GM is a decision that will define Ross, and he seems determined and purposeful in meeting this challenge. He could have rushed it, could have hired a ‘right now man’ instead of the ‘right man’ (as a team source told The Herald’s Armando Salguero this week). Ross knows that he needs to get the ‘right man’ if his Dolphins are to get right.

Many in the local media are impatient. They interpret Ross’s delay to mean he has no plan. They are irritated by their lack of inside perspective, so they create their own stories rather than report the truth. It’s curious and irritating all at once.

Folks, Ross didn’t become a billionaire by listening to media wags. He smartly recognizes that there is no rush. He knows he isn’t competing with any other team for candidates, and that the scouting combine is still weeks away. And Ross does know what he wants, which isn’t necessarily an experienced or overrated GM that local media types clamor for, and the ego that comes with such a man.

What the Dolphins need is simple, really: a man who can make consistently good decisions and who can work collaboratively with his colleagues (i.e. teamwork).

The trick here is in evaluating the decision making. In other words, when presented with reams of good data from a very competent scouting staff, which the Dolphins have, can a guy consistently make good decisions?

This is no easy trait to judge. Even a Hall of Famer like Bill Parcells got it wrong when he brought Ireland over from Dallas. And experienced candidates out there, like Scott Pioli and Bill Polian, have a long list of dogs that tarnish the good they have achieved. What to believe? And their egos demand a hierarchical, rather than a collaborative structure.

It takes a very special candidate, someone like Don Shula, Jimmy Johnson, Nick Saban, or Parcells to justify that sort of organizational structure. In my opinion, there isn’t a man out there who deserves that sort of power. And it isn’t necessary.

So it says here that Ross is doing the right thing by looking for a hungry up-and-comer, someone who can grow with the organization. If I were to offer him any advice, it would be to love the candidate you hire. Don’t settle.