The Miami Dolphins, according to a report, will not be on the hunt for a new head coach come the end of the season. According to a source close to Bill Parcells, Mike Lombardi, Parcells has convinced Stephen Ross to keep Tony Sparano for the 2011 season.
On Tuesday nights, “On the Fin Side” internet radio show, you can listen to the show by going to Finsradio.net and clicking on the archive and selecting Tuesday nights show, I reported that a source I have had confirmed that Ross would retain Sparano provided he replaced the offensive coordinator…Dan Henning. I also mentioned the Dolphins may have interest in Texans coach Gary Kubiak if he loses his job…something I am hearing is not a definite…yet.
So on Wednesday, this article in the Miami Herald confirmed my report both in terms of Sparano and the interest in Kubiak.
This is not necessarily a bad move if it proves correct. For the Dolphins, Sparano has not lost his team. In fact, his team is rallying around him. Sparano is a hard coach, he doesn’t let the players skate by practices and doesn’t pull any punches behind closed doors. It’s that approach that won him the teams respect from day one. In fact, Sparano is so revered by his players that in Dallas, many players who were coached under Sparano have quietly spoken about him rejoining their staff as the HC in the event that Jason Garrett was fired. According to someone I know within the Cowboys organization.
The fact is that Sparano isn’t a bad coach, he is an inexperienced one. He has relied heavily on his coaching staff particularly his offensive and defensive coordinators. The former has the ire of fans and media alike. So far this season, players have come out of the woodwork to support Tony Sparano but no one has spoken in favor of Dan Henning, a Bill Parcells disciple who has stated on several occasions that he has “retired twice already and came out of retirement as a favor to Bill”.
Brian Catanzaro, or “Cat”, one of my co-hosts on Finsradio’s “OTFS” brought up a good selling point if he were Tony Sparano going in to meet with Stephen Ross. He said he would take this approach. “We had a problem last year with our defense and I went out and fixed it by bringing in Mike Nolan. We had a problem with our special teams and I fixed it by firing John Bonamego and hiring a young up and coming coach to take it over. Now we fix the offense. I’ve done it twice before, I can do it again.”
That is actually a solid argument because Sparano has done exactly that. Turning around a defense that ranked 25th in the league last year, give or take a spot, and completely changing the way the Special Teams played after Bonamego was let go. In fact, the latter has been a noticeable difference.
So whether or not the “reports” pan out, Chris Mortenson of ESPN still maintains that Sparano will be fired at the end of the season, there is reason to keep Sparano around. Especially given the amount of competition that will be out there for the top 3 or 4 coaching candidates. There is expected to be close to 6 or even 7 vacancies at the conclusion of next week.
Those teams on the coaching watch with Miami? Cincinnati, New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Carolina Panthers, and the Tennessee Titans. Those teams could possibly join the already “vacant” interim coaches in Dallas, Denver, San Francisco, and Minnesota.