If Stephen Ross had any reservations about his head coach and whether or not replacing him was an option now or at years end, last nights game should be the answer to that. Did the Miami Dolphins come out flat? No. Did they get outplayed? No. Did they simply have a bad game? No. What they showed last night is that they simply are not prepared to play an NFL football game. And that is on the shoulders of Tony Sparano.
Fans deserve far better than what they witnessed last night. This game was similar in style to last years dreadful showing against the Chicago Bears on national TV. You would have thought the NFL would have smartened up. Luckily only the Thanksgiving day game against Dallas remains on the National schedule. Last night proved that these Miami Dolphins are not conditioned to play and are simply not motivated.
You would think that at this level, players would not need to be motivated by their coaches but they do emulate them and this team emulates Tony Sparano. I have always liked Sparano. He is a tough coach with a good head on his shoulders but it’s apparent that he simply can’t do the top job in the NFL. He can’t. The team lacks inspiration. They lack an identity. In the locker room they talk about rallying for the coach and then turn in games like last night. It’s pathetic.
The Dolphins opened the game defensively by putting the Jets into bad situations and a series of three and outs that would leave the Jets without a first down until the 3rd quarter. Then they imploded when they failed to make a single half-time adjustment. Again on coaching. There was no pass rush, no pressure, and Mark Sanchez missed more open receivers for no reason which made the Dolphins defense look that much better. Then Sanchez found his rhythm and the defense looked like normal.
Offensively, for the first time this year a Miami QB had time to throw, unfortunately, Matt Moore was behind center and did nothing more than dance around the pocket and throw bad throw after bad throw. On two occasions Moore failed to identify a WIDE OPEN receiver. Lex Hilliard for a first down and Charles Clay for a touchdown. With the way the evening went, it would be more than likely they would have dropped them anyways.
The “monster” didn’t bother to rear his ugly head but instead Brandon Marshall was all smiles towards the end of the game on the sideline even after dropping two passes, one another TD, and ran out of bounds all alone up the sideline that would have been six. Perhaps to Marshall, playing like a monster simply means he goes over 100 yards. Perhaps the team would have been better off had he go ejected like he promised.
The reality of this situation is this. Miami needs to change this regime and they need to do it the day after the season ends, I mean hell why bother doing it now your best chance to land Andrew Luck, if he declares for the draft, is to allow Sparano to continue to coach the team. Why mess with success? Teams are 1-4 this year coming off bye’s but that is no excuse for the horrendous play last night. Sparano appears lost in his attempt to get this team ready to play and his fist pumping field goal antics is becoming a national joke.
Last night, the team would have been better off allowing Jon Gruden to coach them from the MNF broadcast booth, he had answers. Some figure that Gruden is out as a coaching candidate after signing a five year extension to stay with ESPN, but it’s very likely that he has an opt out clause in his deal. His new contract also does not begin until the 2012 seasons first game so if an owner offered up the cash, Gruden would leave the booth. The deal for Gruden gives him leverage to ask for more than what he is making at ESPN. For those of you wondering about Gruden’s future.
This however is not Jon Gruden’s football team. It’s Tony Sparano’s and here we are four years into his coaching and there is still a serious misuse of time outs and time all together. There is zero two minute drill and zero desire to try and move the ball at all with any urgency. It’s an “aww shucks” we are losing again attitude that needs to go.
If Stephen Ross wants Andrew Luck then Sparano is the guy to get him to Miami. If Ross wants to turn this around and make this season respectable, then he needs to can Sparano now. The problem? Who do you replace him with? Mike Nolan? Worst defense in the league. Karl Dorrell? He is a converted WR coach to QB coach. Todd Bowles? Bowles is part of the defensive problem. Brian Daboll? Give me a break. So we stick with Sparano.
Next week the Sun-Life Stadium crowd should be louder than they have all year. Of course that has more to do with Tim Tebow making his first start of the year for Denver at his homecoming “Gator appreciation day”…nice job there Mike Dee. That’s alright, Sparano will likely find a way to win this game and likely find a way to win at least one more. Just enough to screw the team and put them drafting in the third or fourth spot.
You know, each week I spend about ten hours looking over game replays and really seeing what the problem is…I don’t think I need to do that anymore, they don’t show enough of the sidelines anyways.