Sparano On The Hot Seat?
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins are entering their 3rd season removed from the Cam Cameron debacle that is no longer mentionable. 3 years into the Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland regime. 3 years into the Tony Sparano regime. How long are Miami fans to wait?
When the trio came to the Dolphins some said “give it 5 years” others said “give it 3“. The only reason I bring this up at all, is because we are heading into year 3. Is Tony Sparano on the hot seat? It’s hard to say when a coach has run his course. Sometime, in the case of say Dave Wannstedt, that course was realized far too late and should have ended after year 3. For Cam Cameron it was year 1 and then done. Nick Saban? Well, he really doesn’t count because he quite on the team before the fans and ownership lost faith in his ability to coach at this level.
Jimmy Johnson? He too left on his own accord but that was probably the right time for him. He had already given an extra year when he didn’t want to. Now we have Tony Sparano.
Despite his first year jitters that produced errant challenges and untimely time-outs, he pulled the team together after an 0-3 start to finish 11-5, give the Dolphins the AFC East title and their first playoff birth in what seemed like forever. In his second year he cut back on his own mental mistakes although still making a few, failed to put the team into the playoffs despite bouncing back from an 0-3 start when the team simply faded at the end. Now, entering year 3, will this season put him on the chopping block for year 4? Does he have to take the team to the playoffs or simply continue to improve a team that on paper is getting better talent each year?
This is simply a question for all of those fans who 3 seasons ago said this group had 3 years. Nothing more. I’m not suggesting that he should be on the chopping block or that he will if he fails to deliver a contender. Simply stating that many believe year 3 would officially end his honeymoon.
Sparano needs to do a few things, if we are saying that he will be on the chop. He needs to open the season with a win, or at the very least leave the first month of football at .500 instead of 1-4. A slow start this year and the Dolphins could very well be done for the rest of it.
Sparano needs to get the most out of the talent he has on the field. He has built one of the best young offensive lines in the game but that is his forte’. He must utilize the likes of Brandon Marshall and Chad Henne’s arm strength to take advantage of defensive mismatches. He needs to find a way to win late in the game where the Dolphins blew more leads than they came back from.
Sparano is really good about getting on his players about mental errors and yet he continues to make them himself. The called time0ut against New Orleans on 4th and goal was critical and those kinds of mistakes will keep this team from winning football games.
So here we are, year three. A headstrong head coach that the players respect and love to play for. (Joey Porter not included). I personally don’t think he will be on the chop until the end of year 4. And even then I don’t anticipate him going anywhere regardless of playoff appearances unless the team disintegrates or he loses control. Sparano needs to keep moving forward and showing progress and for now, that will keep his job secure.
But the speculation is always interesting. So to all of you 3 year guys…what sayeth you? Is Tony Sparano on the hot seat?