The Miami Dolphins travel to Cleveland this weekend to play the first of a three game road trip. Most teams hate road trips and can’t wait to get home to play. However, Miami has only won one of the last twelve games in Miami. Sparano told Jeff Darlington of the Miami Herald after the loss to Houston that he didn’t have the answers to why they can’t win at home. Not the best thing for a coach to say to the media especially for a coach that came into the season on the hot seat and that the owner tried to replace but failed in the off-season. Judging from comments from Jason Taylor and Yeremiah Bell about the lack of intensity and sloppy practice habits it seems like Sparano is losing the locker room and losing it fast.
Tony will take the heat for losing the locker room but it’s not all his fault. Ross and Ireland put him in an impossible situation when they flew to Californiato try and make Jim Harbaugh the coach of the Miami Dolphins while still having Sparano under contract. Ross failed to lure Harbaugh from Northern California to South Florida and instead of firing Sparano and moving forward he tried to heal the wounds to Sparano gave him a two year extension. Note to Ross, if you want to make a change then do it. Doing what you did just chopped Sparano off at the knees and any respect he did have in the locker room and of the fans was gone.
Tony was done before he ever began this season, and so were the Dolphins. This is one of the major reasons most pundits predicted Miami to only win 4-5 games. We Dolphin fans tried to look at the season optimistically, but just as we have done in recent years that optimism is crushed early on giving us nothing but next year to look towards.
If you haven’t read or seen the article yet from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald titled “Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano firmly on hot seat,” I would suggest you click on it and give it a read. Much of the article is Greg’s opinion, but he does have some sources close to Ross that admit Ross is “not a happy owner,” and “running out of patience.” Greg Suggest that if Tony goes 0-3 on this road trip that he may not have a home to come back to, but I will take it one step further and suggest if he doesn’t win the next two games at Cleveland and at San Diego Sparano will be fired going into the buy week and Mike Nolan will be name interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
At that point Ross will start weighing his options. We all know he loves the flash and start potential. So it seems obvious that Bill Cowher and John Gruden will be at the top of his list for coaches. The problem with that is they will want full control over the team. In Cowher’s defense that may not be such a bad thing as it is rumored that he would like to bring Kevin Colbert and or Ron Hughes in fromPittsburgh if he goes to a team. If he can lure one of those guys with him to South Florida I might be ok with it, but in general I don’t like the head coach having GM responsibilities as well. I like Gruden as a coach, but not so much as a talent evaluator. He seems to fall in love with guys and doesn’t always see the worst in them.
I do think Sparano will be fired at some point this season, and my prediction is during the bye week. I also think Ireland will be replaced as well and the replacement will depend on if Ross brings in a flashy name with full control or does it IMO the right way and bring in the GM to hire the coach. No matter what it looks like Dolphin fans may once again be talking more about the off-season during the season than the actual season itself for the remainder of the 2011 season.