Steve Ross and Jeff Ireland

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross (left) talks with Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland (right) during the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Sun Life Stadium. (Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE, US PRESSWIRE / September 16, 2012)

DAVIE - Sometimes it is not what you say that's important, it is what you don't say. Or the message within the message.

Slips of the tongue are cool. But I've discovered those can be intentional (like the pillar of defense comment in '08). The best indicators are when someone is holding back, forced to dial it down a notch.

Part of my job is to figure that stuff out based on what's said, listening out for what's not said, then matching it with what I know.

Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross is a pretty easy read in this regard because he's a billionaire, and usually plays by his own rules.

That has gotten him in trouble - we call that foot in mouth syndrome - the past few offseasons. But lately he's gotten the hang of talking to the media.

Ross understands his role as the owner NOW, and I believe he's come to terms with the fact you'll never love him until he provides a Super Bowl title.

Today's lunch with Ross was informative on many fronts because it filled in a couple of gaps.

Let me try to explain.

Ross said: "The good certainly outweighed a lot of the bad here and the fact is that we do have a head coach that I think will be here, and we have the makings of a quarterback that will be here a long time that has a lot of great potential. I think, when you look at it from that standpoint, you can be very positive.”

Ross likely meant: We finished 7-9 with a rookie quarterback as the starter, and the head coach laid a pretty good foundation for his culture. That's not bad for a first-year of a new regime in hindsight.

Ross said:  “When I bought the team I told everybody that whatever resources we have, what I have, I want to build a winning team. That goes first and I think Jeff (Ireland) and the whole organization knows that. This isn’t one of these organizations that tries to slap together, keep it together just for the sake of doing that. I’m willing to spend whatever it takes to build it. I think sometimes people look at spending as a way of winning and in business it isn’t money that solves problems. It’s brains that solve problems and using your abilities. But certainly all my resources are there and if the right players are there, I don’t care what it costs. We’ll go after them.”

Ross likely meant: I told you I'd spend whatever it takes to produce a winner, and I mean that. I'm not cheap, and my first two years I spent more cash than any other NFL owner. But we've got to spend money wisely.

Ross said: "[Stability] is important every season. It’s the nucleus of a franchise and I think having the right mix between the coach and the personnel department is essential. It takes those two ingredients to have a winning organization. I think if you have a plan and you stick to that plan, you’re going to win. It’s when you’re changing all the time that you don’t really know where you stand.”

Ross likely meant: When I didn't fire Ireland last offseason I knew I'd see this thing through. He helped me hire the coach, selected the quarterback, and now we need to see if he can find that coach and quarterback the pieces they need. Now is the time for Ireland to deliver.

Ross said: "We’re well-positioned in the Draft. I think Jeff’s done a great job from that standpoint. We had probably, I think it’s the second-youngest team in the NFL and the question is what’s going to be available in free agency and getting the right mix. I think that’s not a decision that I make. It’s the decision of what I think the Coach and Jeff will do together.”

Ross likely meant: We've got draft picks from trading away talented player that didn't fit, and now its on Ireland to find quality players to replace them. I don't get involved with personnel decisions. I'm not Jerry Jones."

Ross said: "As the Coach has stated, you want to build through the Draft and you certainly look and see what’s out there in free agency and seeing you get the right player that will fit in in that locker room and would bring the right kind of ingredients, and is still hungry enough, that isn’t just signing for the big contract. Free agency certainly isn’t the answer. We’ve all seen that. You can talk about the failures in free agency more than you can about the successes… Everybody gets all excited (that) you sign a player and, ‘My God, we’re going to win.’ You haven’t seen that, I can’t think of a player you could say that really happened with because I think the philosophy is you know you’re players better than anybody else and you know who you want to sign, who you want to keep as part of that. Often times, there’s a reason why a guy is out there as a free agent.”

Ross likely meant: Philbin wants to build his team through the draft, and we all know most free agents are damaged goods, and usually overpaid. But Ireland needs them to fill some holes he can't find in the draft so hopefully he spends my money better than he has in the past. Man did they make me waste a lot of money in the 2009 offseason. But fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, that's your ....."

How certain are you that the right people are running the Dolphins?

Ross said: “How in life are you ever certain? You take it one day, you look at it and then you deal with the people and they’re the kind of people who are pretty consistent level people and I think that’s one thing you can say about the organization. I believe they have the talent to deliver day-in and day-out. But this is a business that’s really measured. It’s probably like no other business in the world. You measure it with wins and losses, but you want to see the direction they’re going and just how it’s moving and I think it’s important to not have a volatile situation. I think the type of people we have aren’t volatile type people.”