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Dolphins coaching was a problem versus Bill

There are complaints aplenty about the Miami Dolphins today.

Some of them come from fans, as blogs, message boards and radio call-in shows will be loaded today with complaints about play-calling and coaching.

Some of the complaints come from Miami's locker room and coaching staff. That's the one I decided to focus on for my column in the Miami Herald Monday. Players and coaches alike looked at their fourth-quarter collapse against the Bills, a collapse which turned a 14-7 lead into a 31-14 loss, and everyone agreed the Dolphins have a problem finishing.

The Dolphins are perhaps the NFL's worst team at finishing games. They've blown games against Indianapolis, New Orleans, and the Bills in the final stanza this year. They also got outplayed by San Diego in the fourth quarter of that game.

Read the column and answer the following question: How does a team that cannot finish games, expect to successfully finish the season?

As to matters not in the column:

The coaching by the Dolphins staff was horrible on Sunday. I have great respect for the Miami coaching staff because I believe they often get the most production out of some limited talent. But this blowout upset loss was different.

This was embarrassing.

The facts are the Dolphins were facing an inferior team on Sunday. The Buffalo starting cornerbacks of Leodis McKelvin and Terrence McGee did not play on Sunday. The Buffalo offensive line was missing two starters and had another dude playing out of position. The Buffalo head coach is a rookie. And Ryan Fitzpatrick from Harvard? Really?

The Bills had nothing to play for but pride while the Dolphins' season was on the line.

Then one has to understand the Dolphins had 10 days to prepare for this game.

And the Bills still won?

"We've got 10 days to prepare and I didn't do a good enough job obviously preparing them," coach Tony Sparano said. "I've got to do a better job."

Sparano, the former play-caller for Bill Parcells in Dallas, has to do a better job of riding herd over offensive coordinator Dan Henning. Henning, who has forgotten more football than most people will ever know, is normally a fine offensive coordinator.

Sunday was not one of those occassions.

Consider that on Miami's first possession the Dolphins moved from their own 45 yard line to the Buffalo 3. Chad Henne completed a 15-yard pass. Ricky Williams ran for 11, then 7, then six, then 5 yards. The Bills were on their heels.

And then on first-and-goal, Henning got cute by calling a halfback pass for a player that hasn't thrown a pass since 2000.


Momentum lost.

"Yeah, you know, I got the ball and Joey Haynos was supposed to block the outside linebacker and then go, and I saw him, and I just didn't put enough arch on the ball and it was picked off by the backside linebacker," Williams said.

But why call the play at that point? I can understand if the Dolphins weren't running well? But they were rolling. Not smart. They used their best runner to throw, thereby not using their best runner's or best passer's greatest assets. Not smart. 

Sparano relegated the criticism of the play-call to "Monday Morning quarterbacking" and said the problem with the play was in its execution. It sounded like a coach who would prefer to blame a player than another coach for a play's failure.

There were other head-scratching offensive calls also.

In the second quarter the Dolphins took a 7-0 lead and then stopped the Bills on a three-and-out. Then the Dolphins complete a pass for 11 yards, Williams runs for 6 yards, Williams runs for 5 yards. And then Henning gets cute again.

He calls an end-around to Ginn on first down. It loses 4 yards. And you know what? The Dolphins make 11 yards on the next two plays but have to punt because they needed 14 yards for a first thanks to that reverse, So that reverse to Ginn costs the Dolphins a chance to keep driving.

The Bills then get the ball and tie the game at 7-7 on their next possession.

Finally, can I ask about continuing to force the issue with Pat White? He is neither one of the team's better runners nor it's best passer. And yet he continues to get plays at strange moments when Miami runs its spread option.

White ran once for 2 yards on Sunday. When did that first taste of action come?

In the fourth quarter. Right after Buffalo took a 17-14 lead. What changed at that point that didn't happen in the three previous quarters when Miami was winning? What was the freakin' point?

The defensive coaching staff doesn't get a pass here, either.

We all recognize the Dolphins are starting two rookie cornerbacks. We recognize they are talented. And we recognize they are capable. But why put them in one-on-one coverage a large majority of the game, every game?

Hello? Other teams watch tape, also ...

It is begging for a game-changing TD. And the Dolphins got exactly what they were begging for when Terrell Owens caught a 51-yard TD pass over Vontae Davis in the fourth quarter. Fitzpatrick said he recognized the coverage pre-snap and called an audible.

Dagger to the heart.

One more thing: We keep hearing how Cameron Wake cannot get into games more because he is a work-in-progress as a run-defender.

Well, how long does it take to coach up a player to defend the edge of the defense? We're 11 games into the season and Wake's still not ready to tackle somebody running wide?

And if Wake isn't, what makes coaches think Joey Porter is ready? Porter blew edge run assignments time after time on Sunday. Yes, he had a couple of sacks against reserve tackles. But that was Porter blowing the run defense against Fitzpatrick as the Ivy League QB set off on a 31-yard TD run.

So the young player can't be taught to defend the run 11 games into a season and the veteran can't be reminded to keep his assignment discipline? Yes, the players have a responsibility to get this done. But the coaches have an equal responsibility to make sure those players do their job or take a seat on the bench.

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Anyone else wonder why Sparano doesn't nix some of these stupid play calls? He's the HC and it's his job to change it if he doesn't like it.

It is said that it's just a game and being a fan one should not live there life through sports,but DAMN yesterday hurt.

we all forget that we are on year 2 of a 3 yr plan. when this mgt team took over the most horrific dolphins team in the hx of the franchise,we expected a reconstruction. well they are doing that.last year's playoff appearance was a blessing and a curse.2 problems with the 09 season both out of any one'
s control:1 the most difficult schedule in the nfl.2. 6 key starters out for the season. who are we gonna blame that one on? nt even the marquee teams can overcome 6 key injuries. it is what it is?..do you wanna go back to what it was?? 1-15? the best thing about the 07 season was that my dad was not alive to witness it...i'll pass judgement at the end of next season.

No way we should allow a weak Bills team to beat us. A win would have lifted talk of a wildcard and makes the Pats game more intringing. Instead Fins lay an egg and the season is pretty much shot. Will someone please tell the Fins to throw the ball INTO THE ENDZONE MORE!!! You can't score unless you try. Dinking and dunking only allows a weak divisional opponent to hang around. Then they realize they have a shot and they bomb YOU!

We are still a young team. I really see potential in this team. The Phins are going to be a major force to be reckoned with in a couple of years. Have patience. Go Dolphins!!

Ok for the last time for anyone else who keeps bringing this up after 3 weeks instead actually reading up on things. Miami had absolutely ZERO, ZIP, NADDA chance at getting Chris Chambers. It has been mentioned a half of dozen times on this blog not to mentioned on every sports website out there. Chris Chambers was claimed off waivers by the Chiefs. Miami would only have been allowed to claim him off waivers if everyone ahead of them on the list passed him up. The list goes off record, therefore the Chiefs had one of the first cracks at him. It wouldn't have matter how badly Miami may have or may not have wanted him, they had NO CHANCE at him once the Chiefs claimed him.

i agree lets have patience and believe in the brain trust...we need a wr, tight end and a better secondary...we're almost there. ps seems like the brain trust expected ginn to have a break out yr for on the 3rd yr is when we see it. well lets keep him for ko returns or trade him. lets draft for wr's and te's

nice to see some people still have faith for the future.I do,but the present still hurts and I'm not getting any younger.

enough on Chad Henne already. This kids is going to a gun fight with a butter knife. He's got nothing NOTHING! ROnnie is out, no WR, patchwork OLine, oldest d-lin ein football history, rookie corners and coaches that have a "spin the wheel of plays" mentality when it comes to play calling. He's a 1st year starter, thrust into a position where he's finally getting full practice reps and needed a full training camp. What did you expect. Look, I'm not looking or Henne to be Marino, that's foolish. Just let the kid develope. Young QB's take their lumps, it happens. And don't think Sanchez is better than Henne, because he's not. He does however, have much more to work with. Back off and let the kid develop. He's not going anywhere. and Penny WILL NOT be the starter next year, unless you want to lose Henne for sure and have to start your QB search all over again. Seriously, it's been a crapfest for so long, as we used to say with the Celtics in the 90's up here, eh, what's one more year.

ok i agree no real weapons ..yet...but we are getting there. the fins are relevant once again and beleive me taht NE,specially brady does not want to paly us next week..if we go 8-8 and henne learns to be a starter in this league...i'm happy because i know that parcells will look for complimentary players

Thank you mafishfan I said all that b4 when henne has a great game every one lives him when he has a bad game they all jump on the ban wagon. Give the kid a chance get him WR and TE that can do somthing! If ur gonna blame henne blam the guys that can't catch and when they do can't get any yards. Back off him and let him devlop thanks mafishfan I'm on ur side!

Boy, there are actual GOOD fans on this blog that know what's going on!!!! Parcells and company are getting there and the future is exciting!!! We will get the players to compliment Henne and be a team to beat for years to come!!

I disagree with you guys. Henne will be fine, he has no weapons that's fir sure. But with an expensive o line, expensive defense, and coaching, the proof is in the games! This was the season, and the coaches are blowing it. We shouldve had wins against the saint colts and bills. We owned those games. Does anybody question that? No. So we should be in the lead, not 5-6.

FUTURE,FUTURE,FUTURE, things Id like to see in the Future, The mighty air breathers win a super bowl, jobs for every one,prosperity for all,NJ fin fan banned from all blogs(Nj you notice that blog and clog rhyme?)(one you should be fixing and the other one your on all day unable to do your job)Great movies, unlike the animated garbage out there today(e.g the Godfather,Apocalypse now etc.) And the ticket of DODDSWORTH/MENACE IN 2016 to succeed, guys like the song goes"the future looks bright,I think I need shades".........

You people are retarded and I wish I was joking.

Last week we were gunning for a playoff spot with this team that is AVERAGE AT BEST...

Now...all of a sudden...people want to fire Sparano and the rest of the coaching staff.

If you thought this team was any better than 7-9 or 8-8, you were DELUSIONAL.

Doesn't matter we lost our 2 best defenders, our best offensive player, and our starting QB...no..."fire everyone...we are underachieving!!!!!!"

Just stop it. Henne needed a year to cut his teeth and he now has it. Ginn will be special teams and a few offensive plays here and there after we bring in a legit WR. The defense will be better through the draft and free agency.


Relax people...JUST RELAX.

Stop being delussional, this year was all about getting ready for a run next year and 2011...if it happens.

As beat up as the fins are, I can't find a W anywhere down the remaining schedule. Man, the season seemed so promising and the excitement about the dolphins seemed so positve. It's all good though because Henne will gain experience and be in camp as the starter. Upgrade the d-line and the #1 priorty must be to upgrade the receivers. I like the energy, discipline, and emotion that sparano brings but guestion hennings play calling at times. I think the fins will be competitive in all the remaining games but face it, not a playoff team at this point. I look very forward to next season because that is what we're playing for!

do these coaches cook at home or they order cheap chinese food to go ?

Let's see some 3 and 4 wide receiver sets. Give Henne some options to throw to.

Same receivers as last year, less David Martin, adding Hartline. We threw for way more yards last year. Less drops, etc. Some of the blame is the play calling, but Henne has to take some of the blame. He does not appear to be a receiver friendly quaterback.

I have my hopes for Henne, but I am definatley not sold. Let the kid play. Let's find out now instead of waiting 2 years to find out and starting all over again with a new quaterback. Hey, maybe White will be are starter in 2011.

Henning has to go. The game has passed him by. Reminds me of Ronald Reagan. I think I saw a vidio of him sleeping in the both at the start of the 4th qtr.

You might be on to something with henning, it's probably time to go

BILL, wait a minute, is that you Bill(slick willy)Clinton.....

Remarks regarding the coaching:

- Henning has called contrarian plays all year long (runs when should pass, and vice-versa). But Parcells will put that to a halt after the Ricky blunder.
- Sparano is still learning his job. The guy was a position coach, not even a coordinator in Dallas, so we should be a little more patient with him.
- Sparano is a Parcells guy: he'll always feed the media with BS, and keep the real debate in-house
- Saprano will leave the team only when Parcells does

Remarks regarding the rebuilding process:

- it is still year 2 boys, and we are playing a bunch of young players (3 years or less experience): that is good
- OL, DL, secondary have already been fixed and we have a good foundation in those sectors
- QB (Henne) is fixed too. The guy will be above average when he plays with decent WRs. And Pat White will be the next Wild Cat triggerman. Parcells doesn't spend a 2 rounder on someone if he doesn't plan to let him play at least 10 snaps per game.
- they tried to fix WR, but they missed badly on Turner, who won't make the 2010 roster

So next year they will fix the still pending problems:

- WR
- LB
+ add depth at NT, TE, RB (Ricky is one injury away from retiring, Brown cannot finish a season)

I am very disappointed by our performances this year, but I think we are heading in the right direction.

None of this suprises me seeing how I had already called 8-8 before the season started. Second year of a complete overhaul, no top tier WR, A first year starter at QB, Injuries to 4 of our key players at the most important positions on the team (RB, DT, C ,TE) AND an old man calling plays from a playbook he started in the 50's. What is the suprise here, That they lost to the Bills? That's how a team goes .500 on the season. They win a couple of games that they shouldn't and lose a bunch of games that they shouldn't, like the Bills game. What is the big suprise here people?

Hey D, we just got beat....out coached and out played.... by the 2nd worst team in the league. Wish that was a delusion.

With a new coach...and 10 days between games..

its just sad.....

Armando you put it exactly how i wanted to get my expression heard. THIS WAS ON THE COACHES PLAIN AND SIMPLE, OUR DEFENSIVE CORDINATER HAS RAN OUT OF TIME,TIME TO FIRE HIS ASS!!! I'M SICK OF IT!!!

Sparano is still learning his job. The guy was a position coach, not even a coordinator in Dallas, so we should be a little more patient with him.

Posted by: Yann

NFL means not for long - Jerry Glanville

When the team wins everyone credits the players and when they lose everyone blames the coaches. This is not a new phenomenon as it has happened in every sport and started back when there was barely any media coverage. It's the way it is because people idolize players and pick their favorites and do not want to blame a favorite player for messing up a play when they can blame the coach. There were plenty of plays yesterday that if executed properly would've worked perfectly. Blown assignments led to plenty of meltdowns as well as stupid penalties. Yes the coaches need to be held accountable (especially like Mando said with the offensive play calling) but ignoring a players blunders is stupid. There are many play calling questions and just as many stupid plays by veterans who shouldn't need to be "coached" in how to do something properly after an 8 year career. Don't really see what coach Sparano did wrong but hey it must've been something because they lost. And that's the only time he gets credited with doing something for the team. They won = Yaaaaayyyyy Joey and Woo Hoo Henne the hero. They lost = Sparano sucks and they should fire him. Which by the way is such a great idea. The players are getting too comfortable having one coach and we should create a carousel at the head coaching position so the team can start over again under a new system every one or two years. Yep, that's what's going to shoot us right to the top. I wish more people would use the sign in name "retarded guy" because it seems to explain why half of Dolphin nation acts the way they do, completly clueless.

these LBs are horrible. the point of the 3-4 is to free up the LBs and still they do nothing and only amass tackles 6 yards down the feild. can merling and langford make any plays? if all theyre supposed to do is tie up blockers to free the LBs why draft em that high? we could get 5th 6th rounders to do that. and what the hell is hene overthrowing everypass for? even over the middle. where the @#$% is wake? stand him up in a creative position like denver does with dumervil how fn hard is that when the coaches are admitting hes their best pass rusher? or anderson? anderson led the team in tackles both games he started

Lastly it's very funny that all of the most retarded useless posts come from people who don't have a sign in name and use many different names to post. It was really tough picking a sign in name and sticking to it. God, it must've taken all of 2 minutes and who has that kind of time? Jackasses.

Maybe if people had some sort of semblance of a life outside of watching the phins they wouldn't get so upset over a loss. Seems like some of these people are actually angry over a football game. Sheesh I can't imagine how they act when something actually goes wrong in their own life. Stop living vicariously through other peoples accomplishments and maybe you won't have to waste an entire week of your life being mad over a game that doesn't effect your life in the least bit. Wow, pathetic.





Sparano relegated the criticism of the play-call to "Monday Morning quarterbacking". It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the play was crazy right off the bat....even if they complete it, I would not sing any praises over that play call. What were they thinking.

Armando, Could you guys from the Herald please get in Coach Sparano's face about Ted Ginn? He stinks! Period. Why isn't Jim Mandich on this case? No gonads to throw a player under the bus? This is not an emotional personal attack on Ted. I have no ill feelings for Ted. For what, three or four years we've been waiting for this 3 million dollar man to perform and he hasn't except for a couple of anomalies against the Jets. Why is this regime covering for Ted Ginn and why is Mr. Ross putting up with it?



I say get rid of henning and Miami will have alot more W's. Instead of his nonsense bullcrap calling

"You people are retarded and I wish I was joking.

Last week we were gunning for a playoff spot with this team that is AVERAGE AT BEST...

Now...all of a sudden...people want to fire Sparano and the rest of the coaching staff."

posted by D


All those things you mentioned doesn't explain why Ricky Williams is throwing passes in the red zone. He is not Ronnie Brown. Ricky is a RB pure and simple. He hasn't thrown a pass in a game in a DECADE. No way should that play have even been attempted with Henne on the sideline.

Thats not the real Gopats.

fire tony morono

Dumb play calling kept the bills in the game and let them keep hope alive.

Ricky runs that ball as opposed to throwing it we win the game.

Dumb Dumb play calling.

The Pat white Draft was a major F up; what I would give for a WR or ILB in that pick.

Also am always Po White Trash.

From birth.

can't believe the media haven't asked him about morono's timeout attempt when bell did the INT...

this morono guy couldn't coach a little league football team

Well said nuts and bolts! And mando? Y are we stating and reading the obvious? We've got a coaching problem. Duh!

Sparano admitted to his mistake saying it was his fault not having the team ready. He brought us back to relevance. Give him a pass. I do think he needs re-evaluate his staff. David Lee our quarterback's coach was the inovator of the Wild Cat and was a huge reason why we made the playoffs last season. Henning does a decent job in spots but he is past his prime in play calling duties. The half back pass on the 3 yard line was a ridiculous call. I have the Sunday Ticket and watch every game and I can say by far that was the worst call I have seen all year.

I'm with you carlito!

Still pissed off about the play calling though.

Po White,

Yes you are right. This game should have been put away long before the last 4 mins.

The Dolphins will beat the Pats after being blown out by the Bills. Its just how things work...


Henne’s laid a “steaming dump” in the 4th quarter. The Bills thought they found a “giant gold nugget”.

This proves that sh%$ can be good. It all depends if it's happening to you or to someone else.

Carlito ,

what do you believe in since we r out of playoffs and we have pat white and jason won't retire and crowder is sucks and ginn is sucks and henne gets paid standing on the side line while ricky trying his luck playing qb and the coaches playing poker w/the team game plan .

my girl friend forgot to add fresh mozzarella to my meat balls sub ? i am mad now and she's crying b/c she takes bride in her cooking .


What are u shorting?

2nd request Gopats,

What are you shorting?

i was in srs until the close on friday and i bought the skf at the close today after seeing the fas up 7 percent .


Don't say "we" when you talk about the Dolphins. You are not Dolphins fan or player.

Dolphins are not out of playoff race. They need to win out, but they are not out of race.

Thats my man.

Great Pick son!

Cant trust these folks and their screen names.



i didn't mean to hurt your feelings but based on your post the bills are still in the playoff picture also and i myself can be the heavy weight champion of the world .

Why not FAZ?

b/c i am familiar w/ uyg and skf for long time .i don't have the feel for 3x any thing .


You didn't hurt my feelings. I am only correcting you. The Dolphins are not mathematically eliminate from playoff. The Dolphins have 5 games left against most teams fight for playoffs and wildcard. Its a looooooong shot, but its not over.

I am no stranger to reality. I know that things are not looking good for the rest of the season in dolphin-land, but I still believe, and that is what being a fan is all about.

Quit preteding we have a good defense-put in Wake + other new defensive playmakers-who make plays whenever they are gatiously permitted to play.
Henne-our WR's are not ten feet tall. throw with authority, but don't bresk their fingers-and win aagainst the Patriots.

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