Losing Faith

Should Time be Ticking on Sparano's tenure in Miami?

If you ask around the Miami Dolphins fan site circles, our message board (which you can join here), and anyone else who knows me, they will tell you that I am a very big supporter of Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano.  I have always defended their actions on the field and off.  Players they hit on and missed on.  I also believe/d that Bill Parcells had more to do with the way this team has performed than any of the coaches and that his presence hindered the team more than it helped it.

Parcells still uses the old style of play vs. prototype on the field and in 2010′s NFL that doesn’t work anymore.  Proof is squarely sitting in Miami.

Many fans believed that Parcells left the team because he didn’t like Henne or he saw what was coming and wanted to bail so he wouldn’t have his name attached.  But truth be told, it always will be attached to this group of management team and coaches.  He hired them and if he saw that they were failing, then he should have done something about it.  Instead, he took the money and ran.  Either way, he failed.

This however is not about losing faith in Bill Parcells, he’s gone and he was done a long time ago.  This is about losing faith in Tony Sparano and perhaps even Jeff Ireland.

Last nights game showcased a ton of injuries on the offensive side of the ball.  From Long’s shoulder to Henne’s knee and then the loss of Cory Proctor and Brandon Marshall.  But make no mistake about it, this team was not prepared for last nights game before those two went down with injury.  In fact, the putrid smell that emulated from the grass field became apparent in the first quarter when you realized how unprepared this team really was.

Yes, I get it, they had two days to prep an inexperienced QB to run the offense.  Yet Thigpen hadn’t taken snaps with the first team unit since way back in training camp and that was only once or twice.  That is a coaching mistake.  Coaches need to prepare for what happens next and having a viable number 3 QB on your roster that is not involved with the way the offense is being run, sets you up to fail when what happened last week actually does happen.

In the scramble to get your number three QB in line to start, you game plan around his inexperience.  In other words, you run the ball and try and control some momentum and help your QB adjust to the speed on the field, the flow of your play calling.  Instead, the Dolphins ran the ball 8 times and one was on an end around.  What does that mean?  It means the coaches let Thigpen throw the ball and that takes timing, reads of the defense, and blocking from your offensive line.  The coaches failed.

This season the Dolphins have had one of the worst offenses in the league. Conservative, boring, and unfortunately stalling.  Last night, they needed a conservative game plan.  One that put the ball into the hands of your best players, Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams, and Brandon Marshall.  Instead, they simply went to the air and forced Thigpen to make decisions.  Oddly enough, last nights game plan said more about the way these coaches feel about Chad Henne than anything else.  Thigpen was given the opportunity to throw whereas Henne is controlled.

Again, the coaches failed.

All of this comes on the shoulders of Tony Sparano.  The players like his no-nonsense style of coaching.  He is stern and fair.  Still, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that Sparano needs to make immediate changes to the way this team is being coached.  From decisions such as punting to Devin Hester, from Dan Henning calling any play at all, and then a strong look in the mirror for him to realize that if he wants this to be his team then he needs to stop fist pumping FG’s and start ripping asses instead.  Last night was an embarrassment and for the first time in my life, I am glad I didn’t go to the game.

It’s hard to say whether Tony Sparano has lost control of this team or not.  Injuries alone may save his job at the end of the year if it was ever on the line at all.  My concern is that this team will simply do enough to keep the coach instead of doing better to show he belongs or worse that he loses his job.  It sets the team up for failure next year if they simply do enough to save it.

I’m not saying Sparano should be fired.  I like the coach.  In fact he is my favorite since Don Shula.  But this team is a mess and what is on the field performing is a result of game planning and coaching and that all falls on the shoulders of Tony Sparano.

There are some names this year that are open to a return to the NFL.  Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, and Brian Billick to name three.  But Ross has to be ready to part ways with a Bill Parcells guy and possibly Jeff Ireland as well if he plans to land someone like Cowher.  In any case, last night didn’t secure anyone’s job, but it did put a lot faith in this regime squarely in the toilet.  You can’t help but wonder if it’s time for yet another overhaul.

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Tags: Bill Cowher Jeff Ireland Jon Gruden Miami Dolphins Tony Sparano

  • onole1

    Welcome to the dark side Brain. I know I have taken heat for my disgust for Sporano and have even had discussions with you about it, but I am just not buying what he is selling. I am also off the Ireland kick as well. I said a while back that I thought the Trifecta built this team with the 90′s mentality and it does not work in the NFL of 2010. Ireland said they wanted to get bigger and stronger, well they did, but they also got slower, and today the NFL is about speed which is something Miami sorely lacks. Time for yet another rebuild…

    • http://phinphanatic pjam70

      Man Nole. This situation really seems horrible to me.

  • BrassMonkey

    Hard to judge this team (or the staff) accurately considering the injuries over the last two years. Of course the coach has to pitch his “next man up” line, but there is a reason why Proctor, McQuistan, Moore, and Coobs don’t play regularly- they’re not as good as the starters.

    That said, I agree 100% with you- Thigpen’s performance last night proved that Henne is not the problem with our offense, somethign I have been saying all along. Dan Henning and Jeff Ireland MUST go this offseason. I love Sparano’s manner, but he may need to go too if we can land a Gruden or a Cowher.

  • Kurt

    -With the lights out its less dangerous, here we are now entertain us…

  • Da Genius

    I have said it all along, what we need is a Dominant Canter. Not a mutt or a project center, we need a pedigree player at the position. Someone lets say that has played the position throughout college and understands it! Not a kid that played Tight end and then was moved to center for a year in college and has some potential! Everyone says all we need is a QB well you are wrong! We have two QB’s!! Look at the jests back when they had Kevin Mawae, he would take out Zack Thomas and help Curtis Martin run all over us! Does that mean Zack sucked? Nooo!!! He was just taken out by a bull who was dominant at his position! Heck he even made vinny testaturde look good! Look back when Marino played. He had Richmond Webb and Dwight Stephenson blocking for him!!! You can only go as far as your O-Line takes you. Thats the truth, like it or not!

  • Chris C

    I agree that they were not prepared for last night. I would guess they spent more time trying to find a QB than preparing for last night.

    That being said, and I also like Sparano better than anyone other than Shula, if they come out against the Raiders and are crisp, play well, I will regain my faith. I honestly thought that 8-8 was what they would be, and that was before all the injuries hit.

    Finally, it was obvious that Marshall is soft. With Jake Long, Anthony Fasano and others out there playing through injuries, he is in street clothes for the second half. That should be one of the ESPN’s “C’Mon man” for the week.

  • Joey

    Now is the time to fire Henning. Statistically we are still in the hunt but realistically 2010 is over for us. Lets cut bait and allow David Lee to finish the season as the OC. What would it hurt. I cannot see how we were so unprepared for a much needed game. Playing not to lose rather then playing to win is not the right thing to do but it appears that our OC calls games that way. You beat a cover 2 defense by throwing seam passes yet we did not use or TE and slot WR effectively.

  • Maroun

    I just don’t understand the struggles for this team. I’m talking since 2000, is it Ownership always hiring the wrong staff? Then I said ok Stephens is in maybe this will change For once… Then thought we were going in the right direction but last night was absolutely horrible to watch 39 yards rushing? seriously…Ricky and Brown sitting just blocking? Thigpen doesn’t warrant too much heat, as mentioned in the article the guy was practically thrown in and told to throw the ball. Last nights game plan didn’t make any sense at all…. the bears out played us, they stacked the box and didn’t even worry about our WR, and if we did throw, thigpen and his WR would not be on the same page, wrong routes etc…. We have the Talent we just need the right management.

  • Jimbo111

    I love reading your posts Tx, guess it’s because you echo so often, exactly what I’m thinking… Thanks.

  • mike

    Dan Henning needs to go! He should be fired as of the week 1 win @ Buffalo.

  • Jimbo111

    Proud of the team!
    Ok so they lost. But I tell you what, they played their hearts out against a much better team. It was basicly our 3rd string, against a smoking hot Chicago Bears fist team. The defense played lights out, and the offence though they were totally outmatched, never gave up. Well, I can’t include Brandon M in that though, I though his play and his sportsmanship sucked. But the rest of the guys, GREAT EFFORT. Fire Henning…

  • bob

    yes coaching is a problem.too conservative on offense,by not even attempting to throw deep lets d stack the box.have to put some short slants in playbook,let them catch ball on the run.and very little toughness on the team,after wake and maybe long they are soft and week.not the kind of football i want to watch.toughen up you wusses and start tackling…and blocking…and catching the ball….and stopping 3rd and long…..and better play calling..etc

  • bob

    sparano is coaching to do just enough to get to playoffs.even if we did make it to playoff(which we are absolutely not)we would get ousted first round anyway,so either we need to change our coaching phylosophy or change our coach(es).try a killer intinct phylosophy for the rest of year.start benching people (even for a series or quarter) during the game when they miss blocks,tackles,catches,get penalized.

  • bob

    in response to the poll about hennes benching.henne has made some not so good throws…but 3 or 4 of his ints have went off the hands of his recievers.the wr’s miss alot of balls every game.so that doesn’t help.they hardly throw deep(partialy cause they have no speed).playbook,don’t even know if they have any quick slants in the playbook.not much playaction and i heard they wouldn’t let henne audible when he saw something on def.play calling sucks….hennes not problem…atleast not the main one