It was the fourth quarter of yesterday’s game. The Miami Dolphins got the ball back, Chad Henne rolled the team down field and managed to get the team into not only field goal range, but a chance to pull off his first real fourth quarter comeback on a last minute drive. His throws sharp, he actually directed the offensive players, he looked, briefly like a quarterback. Then, the Dolphins lined up on second down in the Wild Cat formation. It was at that moment that Tony Sparano plopped his rear end in the proverbial coaches hot seat. It was the moment that I and many others, came to the realization that Tony Sparano is not doing his job.
No, the play wasn’t called by Sparano, it was called by Dan Henning. But it was relayed through Sparano who could have changed it. Should have changed it. Instead, this team played for the tie, for a field goal in swirling winds with a kicker who missed on four long attempts already. Once again, as often the case throughout the year, the Dolphins drive down the field only to have their rhythm squandered by poor play calling.
Fans already want to see Dan Henning fired, and soon would not be soon enough. For the most part, Tony Sparano has had the support of the fans. He has undeniably had mine. I like his fire, his respect for the players, and this team. I like his motivation and he has a way of making you want to throw on a uniform and knock heads. I know because I have sat in a room and listened to him answer my questions.
But this is not the coach that the Dolphins need anymore. Continuity or not.The Miami Dolphins are a reflection of their coaches. On defense they are feisty and want to hit. They are a young group who are striving to become better. Maybe they become all-pro’s, maybe the become wasted draft picks. It is way too early to tell how any of these guys will work out. But we can all thank Mike Nolan for these changes.
Offensively it’s simply disgusting. It doesn’t matter if you support Chad Henne or hate Chad Henne, the offense is sluggish, there is little line protection, it’s clear that Henne doesn’t receive the kind of coaching that he needs to become better utilized, and the play calling is the worst the NFL has ever seen. There is zero effort on the field and the plays are set to fail.
Three times in yesterdays game the Dolphins came out with a fresh methodical approach that not only moved the ball but made Henne look good. He drove the field, utilized Brandon Marshall, the backs out of the back-field, and TE Anthony Fasano. Then, on all three drives, the team brought out the WC when the offense was close to the goal line. One drive stalled and the team settled for a missed field goal. The second was a TD by Ronnie Brown out of the WC that was all Brown. The play should have been for a 5 yard loss but the Bills player missed the tackle and Brown turned the corner and got in. The other drive ended in a Henne to Marshall TD on second down from the 8 after Dan Henning used the WC on first down for a two yard gain.
Henne ran off the field with a smile.
What happened yesterday was not simply a loss to a division team. It was a showcase of how miserable the Miami Dolphins offense actually is. The running game is non-existent and the passing game is like riding a kids rollercoaster. The hills aren’t deep and the turns are soft so they don’t scare the children. In other words, it’s conservative.
Tony Sparano is my favorite Dolphins coach since Don Shula. Hands down. But this team appears to be further from a simple offensive coordinator change. If Sparano is going to rely so much on that position, then perhaps he should move to it himself. He often called plays in Dallas as the Oline coach, so he can do it. Yesterday was a disaster and Sparano has to be accountable. He coached the team to a tie yesterday when they had a chance to win. Instead, he may have coached himself out of a job.
Stephen Ross is hard man to figure out. He is a showman and knows that the product on the field will enhance all the pomp off the field. He may be looking at HC’s candidates this morning. Yesterday, and Email was circulated among Miami Dolphins fan “webmasters” that talked about an ESPN report that Miami is the first choice of Bill Cowher if the position should come open.
Ross would likely love to have that coach on the sideline. His presence alone would sell seats. But would he be the right man for the job?
It’s all just talk at this point because Ross won’t fire Sparano before the seasons end and it’s very likely that he won’t fire him at all. If that is the case, then let us all hope it was the OC that made this season so miserable, and yesterdays game unbearable.