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Was Sparano calling plays in the 4th quarter?

Tony Sparano put a major emphasis on Miami's fourth-quarter play last week and the work done by the Dolphins obviously paid dividends because they outscored New England, 3-0 in that period.

But there was seemingly something more interesting involved in that quarter. At one point I focused on the Dolphins sideline when Miami had the ball and it seemed as if Sparano himself was calling plays.

Normally, Miami's offensive plays are under the auspices of offensive coordinator Dan Henning. But as we know from the Buffalo game, Henning has endured moments when his play-calling has been questioned.

So it would not surprise if Sparano took over the duties for a series even though that would be news. And that's what it looked like from the press box. The Dolphins had failed to move the ball their first two series of the fourth quarter, in fact going three-and-out on their previous series when Sparano, who called plays in Dallas years ago, seemed to take over.

The Dolphins marched from their own 24 to the New England 39 on the series Sparano seemed to call but the drive ended when a fourth-and-2 pass from Chad Henne to Davone Bess fell incomplete. The entire time, Sparano was on his headset, barking orders from behind a play sheet that he used to cover his mouth.

It was typical offensive play-caller stuff.

The next series the Dolphins went with a no-huddle look and Sparano definitely was not calling the plays then.

I must warn you I was not able to confirm the head coach took over the plays on this series and have not been able to do so this morning. I will, however, ask Sparano about it at his day-after press conference today.

I could be wrong. But maybe not. We'll see what Sparano says.

Come back a little later and I'll have an update of this plus whatever other news and notes that come out of the press conference.

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GO Sparano

Thanks Armando - I agree with your previous post and have felt this way for a while....It is time for Porter to move on. For a guy who talks so much he is entirely too ineffective.

Well that explains the win, take henning out of the play calling and "In goes the dynamite.." a victory....

It definitely looked as if Sparano was calling the 4th down plays but I'm not sure if it was the entire drive. I'm definitely curious if he was though.

I would also be appreciative if you could also ask Sparano some of these questions:

"What was the reasoning behind the unbalanced line? We only ran out of it once so was it a decoy or something we need to know about our pass protection?"

"Coach acknowledged that he needs to play more of Wake, why not put him in there but keep Taylor in on his natural side of the line to replace Porter?"

"It has been seen a few times with us playing 3 safeties at times and using Yeremiah as more of a LB, what about permanetely making the switch for Bell to LB and moving Gibril to SS and then having a true Coverage FS?"

If thats the case, Henning better be damn good at sublimating his ego or he is done. It would seem unusual since Henning is Parcells' boy going back to the G-men days, but you know Parcells must have a chain of command where Sparano has final say.

Whatever happened though, it was transformational. This offense was quite different in that our receivers were actually part of the game plan. That was HUGE.

Great job Sparano
I knew you could do it.
Go PHINS!!!!!

Anyone else watch Jason Taylor moving in s l o w m o out there? Very little effort given from what I saw. Time for that Big Movie Career there Jason. LMAO!

Damn, Y. Bell is fast!

Porter did make the tackle on the game-saving 4th down stop of morris right before half time. I know the guys inside had just as much (if not more) to do with that stop than Porter did, but still it was a great play for which he deserves some credit.

Tony was probably reading the Defense and calling what kind of plays he would like to see. But Henning was more than likely calling the actual play. Four eyes are better than two type of deal.


Armando:

At one point in the game it seemed as if Heene was loving the shotgun, he was executing the shotgun formation so well That old giants QB sims utter slightly why don’t they put him in the shotgun, now i want to know if this is a mirage or did we all see the same thing henne executes the shotgun very well, NFL network aired pretty much the hole weekend the old Dolphins game's against the Pats where Danny Boy shred them from the shotgun, i could not help but make the connection while watching the game. Henne looked like Marino in the Shotgun.

Please keep henne in the shotgun formation.

and it was a lone gunman that shot JFK

Oh yeah. Now you all love Sparano right? I must have been reading another blog where everyone was calling for his head last week. What a joke!


Shotgun, Shotgun, shotgun. 5 receiver formations please call the draw from the shotgun if you want to run, we finally have a QB that can execute the shotgun vintage Marino

let me tell you something. this is a never say die team. they are going to win the super bowl next year.
they should sign more cfl players like cameron wake.
they should also nurture anthony fasano because he is a pro bowler in the making.
also, they should hire mando as assistant coach. then they would be better than san francisco

marc, check out the gemstone file.

More cameron wake please.

He was definitely calling the third and fourth down plays. I think he tipped his hand in the after the game press conf.

When reporters asked him about the "repetitive" plays and formations Henne played out of. Sparano commented that that was designed.

Since Henning is the OC and we all know how creative he can get with his formations and play calling during the game (Pat White). Making the play calling and formations "repetitive" would be indicative to me that "someone" other than the OC was calling the plays and purposefully made the formations vanilla so "they" can call the plays and make adjustments as they saw fit.

And of course, with Sparano barking in the headset with a play sheet stuck to his face all day during that game. In my opinion, Sparano took liberty to call series' when ever he so fit. And I believe he interjected himself primarily on third down plays and then fourth when needed.

I personally felt Sparano did this due to Henning is a "The run opens up the Passing game" type of an OC. With that bias Sparano wrestled the OC play calling away from Henning due to Henning doesn't have confidence in Henne to throw more than twenty times a game, yet*. Henning doesn't like that type of offensive football mainly. And doesn't want to put Henne in that situation with the lack of a #1 and a Middle of the field football eater of a TE.

Sparano knows Ricky cannot carry this team, Pat Whites not panning out quickly enough, the Wild Cat and running game is rudderless without Ronnie Brown, and this team is in the mist of making the playoffs. He needed to find out now if Henne can be successful in slinging the ball all over the yard to know if Henne is up to the chanllange of carrying this team on his shoulders. I guess Sparano and us found out cause Henne answered the call on that brilliantly.

Go Dolphins!!

Can you ask Sparano to please play a whole game with Pat White taking the snaps?

I like to see blooper plays.

Henne did look pretty good yesterday...he missed a few wide open opportunities,but with more game time experience,those mistakes will go away.

Mondays are so much better when the Dolphins win, thanks guys. Now i can talk crap to all those stupid Wets fans. Go Miami!!!

Everyone say a prayer... lets win the AFC EAST!!

To those who say its a waste, I respectfully disagree. It sends a message to the Pats that this is our division and we get all of our young players valuable playoff experience. A higher draft pick is nice but we will still find talent. Look at Carpenter, Bess, Henne (in the 2nd), Wake, etc.

We will get talented players at any spot in the draft. Plus they later they are the less they cost. Lets keep that $$ for a big time receiver in FA or trade.

I was thinking the same thing Mando. Something was definitely different in the play calling department in the fourth quarter. I didn't watch the game but I was getting updates. Then I saw was highlight film and it appeared to me that the play calling was not Henning like.

I must warn you I was not able to confirm the head coach took over the plays on this series and have not been able to do so this morning. I will, however, ask Sparano about it at his day-after press conference today.

I could be wrong. But maybe not. We'll see what Sparano says.

Armando, think about it, you are probably one of the more controversial reporters in our entire entourage. Even if he was calling plays, even on your luckiest day, do you actually think Sparano would admit that to you?

Its my opinion would go over about as well as a clap on clap off light commercial. He knows if he said yes you guys would twist it as he publically announced Dan Henning will be replaced this offseason.

Mando, you know you nailed it about a week ago. Henning tries to be to cute and cost us momentum all the time.

Sometimes its best to just play smash mouth instead of letting Ricky Williams throw a pass. Or Pat White lose 15 yard on a busted play. Henning needs to get with the program. This ain't 1972. This is 2009! Yeah yeah...he gave us Wildcat. So what?

WHAT HAS HE DONE FOR US LATELY? Cost momentum that's what.

BIG win but that BIG L against the bills is a killer. CROWDER STILL SUCKS.

You know what...I'm ranting today.

Henning tried to play off the Ricky pass as some high percentage pass inside the redzone. What he didn't say was that Ronnie and Cobbs were involved in most, if not all, of those plays.

The guy is stuck on rewind.

Might as well go for the playoffs, the difference in talent in players slotted to go between #s 15 and #20 isn't that great. Go for broke in '09!

No one jarring on Tony now?and Armando totally dissin' J.P.,what this is is a sorry excuse of fans flip floping on issues worse than politicians.Mando stop hateing on P,o.k he not producing but he's earned grace period.He'll b gone next year.all u fans have been asking for Tonys head,now u gotta bite ur tongue,like I say,can't blame coaches till next year!!!next year things should come together for those guys,if not we grab the pitchforks torches.....

This ain't 1972. This is 2009! Yeah yeah...he gave us Wildcat. So what?
Posted by: OverseasFan | December 07, 2009 at 11:47 AM

Agree with you about timing of certain wildcat plays. However dont underestimate '72 smashmouth football.

Dolphins still threw the ball on avg 17-22 times a game. Usually for big chunk yardage. Warfield avg about 18-19yds per catch. Its wasnt always 15 play drives.

There were many 6-7 play drives too. We were just the leagues best at 10-15 play drives and the reputation stuck with us moreso I believe to physical nature of our o-line and Czonka's bruising smashmouth running style.

All Bandwagon fans love Sparano this week after calling for his head only few days ago.

Big Win for Phins. Now the ball is on our side. We win were in we loose we are out. Playoff start this week for us. Why do I say this. Look we beat the Jags there out then the Titans and there out. the last 2 weeks Texans and Steelers would be out if we win. At 10-6 we should be a lock. Go Phins I still belive we can do it!!!

Porter still has some gas in the tank don't give up on him.We will need him to make the push to the end

morono should call the plays

All Bandwagon fans love Sparano this week after calling for his head only few days ago.


Posted by: carlito from golfito | December 07, 2009 at 12:05 PM

I thought it was so ridiculous I didnt even respond to it. How can you say you love your team when in year 2 the guy took your 1-15 "very un-tidy bowl," gave it a good cleaning and flush, then brought you a very unexpected Afc east title?

Well, there was a certain (I dont think I have to mention his name) guy who healed the sick, walked on water, turned water to wine, and raised the dead. But when time came to save him the crowd screamed Barabas too!

Mandi. Just heard monday press conf. U guys still let Sparano get away with vagaries in how hw answers questions. Come on ask him a followup and tell him he dud not answer ur question!!!!!!??!!

Sparano going for 2 in the 3rd qtr was a mistake. Could have really killed them if Vontae didn't bail the team out with that end zone interception. One of the plays of the year for sure.

That being said, I still like Sparano and the thoughts of firing him are ridiculous. He just needs to learn the lesson. No 2 point converts until the 4th qtr!!

It was great watching the Patsy fans walk out defeated. They were sooooo sure they would win easily. Focus on the past Patsy fans. Your time is up.

Mando, regarding your previous post on the aging Pats, lets not forget they traded away one the leagues best DL for another first round pick. unfortunately for me and other dolphin fans pats aren't going anywhere any time soon.

GO FINNSS!!

I ask this every week. Why don't they play Wake more? He always seems to make a big play when he is out there. For the limited time he is.

Chad Henne has clearly stepped up the last 2 games:
- his accuracy on tight throws has been impressive
- he showed great resiliance and the desire to come back after his mistakes (on the final drive, great throw to Camarillo after a horrible miss to Polite)

But:
- must work on his touch and learn to throw something else than laser passes
- must work on his deep passes (altough he's not helped by his receivers, who can't create separation)

The young guys have worked well. Davis is now ahead of Smith I think. He's more polished and he bites a little bit less on fakes.

On the Patriots: seems to me that they are getting younger (particularly on defense), and that is why they are not better than us.

Litos, a few years back (last year the Pats won the Super Bown) we beat them 22-0 (I think it was 22). I was at that game and saw a Pats fan balling his eyes out. It was classic.

Here's something I never understood.

When Bill Walsh was coaching the 49ers, John Madden would always say, "He scripts his first 16 plays." (Something like that.)

The idea was that, regardless of the situation, Walsh would follow a sequential order of plays designed prior to the game.

I never understood that. What if it's play #9, it's 3rd and 12, and play #9 calls for an off tackle? Do you still run the off tackle?

Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

Great game for the Phins!! I did not expect a win the way the game started, but they did not give up and hung in there!! I am proud to be a Dolphins fan today FOR SURE!!

Anyone have tickets for sale for the Titans game? If so email me at dolfan21083@yahoo.com

FINALY SEE WITHOUT OR CORDINATORS SCREWING IT UP FOR US WE CAN WIN!!! SPARANO KEEP PLAY CALLIN!!!! HENNING NEEDS TO RETIRE!!!!!

Armando

I do believe your blog could still be a fun place to hang out if you stick more to certified facts. Using the opinions of others, your opinions, and your personal beliefs not based in certifiable fact does nothing but drags downs your credibility among more informed posters.

Credibilty is one of the best allies a writer has. When that is all lost you may as well throw yourself upon the heap pile of fantasy and fiction chaminade.

Armando owes nobody an apology , especially the serviceman he was looking out for and honoring. It's called respect. Please leave this blog sir !

Armando owes nobody an apology , especially the serviceman he was looking out for and honoring. It's called respect. Please leave this blog sir !

Posted by: General Patton | December 07, 2009 at 01:22 PM

Not when youre using them to promote your own personal petty dislikes for a player. You are now dismissed pvt. pervert pinhead.


Shotgun Henne, Thats hes new nivkname, Sorry Carlitos i know you like Henne the Hero but shotgun heene is the right nickname to put on him he throws missles from the shotgun.

armando,
regarding your column about the pats, they aren't done yet though I would say that history shows that most dynasties go south after being up for so long...and the pats are no different. However, I wouldn't exactly put dirt on them yet. Wait until the season plays out before annointing the fins the next top dog in the east.

Armando,

"Miami Dolphins Amongst Playoff's Survivors" article on Sun Sentinenel gives an entirely different account of your Joey Porter war rant. Why did you try and decieve us with your blog?

Miami Dolphins amongst NFL's playoff survivors

> Posted by Omar Kelly on December 6, 2009 05:30 PM

Joey Porter came dressed in his military fatigues ready for an AFC East war.

This outfit sits in his locker during the season (all year) but he only puts it out at moments he views as war time. NFL war time.

There is no intent here to offend anyone who actually fought in a war, or those who have lost a loved one in a war. But that's how the Dolphins viewed Sunday's 22-21 win over the Patriots, which kept the Dolphins in the playoff talk for at least another week.

Lose to the Patriots this team, which has fought all year to keep a pulse, would lose their playoff life.

"There are just certain games that you know it's going to be a war out there. Today was one of those games for us because honestly if we lost we were out of it," Porter said. "We needed this win just to have a chance. We came out and played with a purpose, played with passion.

"Coach said passion had been lost a little bit, so we wanted to make sure we came out and played with some enthusiasm and some passion."

The Dolphins played like the season depended on it, and received a stay of execution.

"This is how we're coached, how a lot of us were brought up," cornerback Nate Jones said of the team's resilient nature. "This staff looks for certain type of guys. We preach mentally tough around here from day one. When you keep pounding 'Mentally tough, mentally tough' in a guys head you learn to stay resilient. It's more than a word. You have to do it, and live out those actions."

All Bandwagon fans love Sparano this week after calling for his head only few days ago.


Posted by: carlito from golfito | December 07, 2009 at 12:05 PM

I thought it was so ridiculous I didnt even respond to it. How can you say you love your team when in year 2 the guy took your 1-15 "very un-tidy bowl," gave it a good cleaning and flush, then brought you a very unexpected Afc east title?

Well, there was a certain (I dont think I have to mention his name) guy who healed the sick, walked on water, turned water to wine, and raised the dead. But when time came to save him the crowd screamed Barabas too!

Posted by: DyingBreed | December 07, 2009 at 12:17 PM

Dont be scared dying, say NJ NJ NJ NJ

You know that Armando has no proof whatsoever about Sparano calling the plays? He is just assuming and getting hits. But it would be suprising if the head coach didn't have input or final say on a play.

I agree with the comment "4 eyes better than two" comment.

Great game and for the Phins to beat the Cheatriots took some doing. My complaint would be that the Dolphins worked very hard for every score while the Cheatriots seemed to get there in one or two plays. I really hope we can get a number one receiver next year in the draft or free agency. Preferably in the draft. My guess is we will have to let Ginn go to make room. Hartline, Bess, and Camerillo are solid number two types. I just think the Phins need a number one receiver like Hakeem Nicks, or Percy Harvin taken in last years draft. Tie up Parcells and lock him in a closet til the draft is over and we have our receiver. Super Bowl 2010!

Coach has already states he vetos a few of Hennings plays per game. This wouldn't be anything new. I guess you could argue he took over a whole drive, but that's 6 in one hand and half a dozen in the other.

Porter has settled down his trash talking since the first NE game. I saw him on NFL channel after the Carolina game and thought he was very well spoken and not at all gloating. Yesterday he contributed on a key play at the goal line as was pointed out. The defense, other than a few breakdowns yesterday, played well. Wes Welker kills everybody. If he keeps it up, then he's "HOF" material. Personally, I'm OK with where Porter is right now. He's stopped the talking and he's trying to walk the walk. Until I see different, I am in his camp.

Go phins!

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