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Dolphins' coordinator search taking wrong turns

It hasn't been a great day for the Dolphins. As I reported on my twitter feed early this morning, the Dolphins' search for a defensive coordinator has taken an unexpected turn.

Into a ditch.

Al Groh, who worked 10 years and on three different teams with Bill Parcells, interviewed for the Dolphins job Wednesday and took the job as Georgia Tech's defensive coordinator late Thursday evening. Reports of the hiring at Georgia Tech emerged this morning.

No problem, right?

The Dolphins had a multi-pronged plan for hiring a replacement for Paul Pasqualoni. So the Dolphins turned to Pittsburgh linebacker coach Keith Butler, who I'm told was coach Tony Sparano's first choice. Well, there are conflicting reports whether Butler was offered the job or even interviewed for the job.

This much is certain: He has spurned Miami's overtures and will remain with the Steelers.

That's got to sting that a position coach in Pittsburgh might A. Decline an interview for a defensive coordinator job in Miami. Or B. Take the interview and decline the job offer. There is no option C.

And then this little nugget to add insult to the brew: Pasqualoni, who had been seriously considering taking a job with the New York Giants after speaking with coach Tom Coughlin Tuesday and Wednesday, was hired Thursday afternoon to be the Dallas Cowboys defensive line coach for 2010.

He is in Valley Ranch, the Cowboys training facility, today. He'll be traveling with the Cowboys tomorrow to their playoff game against Minnesota. Amazing.

"We know what kind of coach he is," Dallas coach Wade Phillips told the Dallas Morning News. "Anytime somebody does a really good job, if you have a chance to get him again you take that opportunity. Similar to Dave Campo. Everybody knew he was a great coach. We had a chance to get him again and we did."

As I wrote on twitter earlier, the Dolphins still have a fallback option of promoting secondary coach Todd Bowles to defensive coordinator. But that clearly is Plan C, at best.

The Dolphins wanted to have the defensive coordinator search completed by the end of this week. They wanted a quiet, clean search and hiring process.

But their batting average doesn't look so good right now.

[Update: Been talking to different folks around the league and nobody that's saying anything really knows what the Dolphins are thinking. It doesn't help that it's Friday night. Anyway, here are some names folks threw at me as possibilities that I, in turn, am throwing at you. this list does not include Bowles, but obviously I've been giving you his name for days.:

Pepper Johnson: currently the D-line coach in New England. Played for Bill Parcells. Knows the system. Young. Energetic. Never been a coordinator.

Bryan Cox: Currently the Cleveland Browns' D-line coach under Eric Mangini. Never been a coordinator. He's familiar with the 3-4. He played for both Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. Oh, yeah, he played for the Dolphins in the 90s and hates Buffalo.

Bob Sutton: Currently works as LB coach and defensive assistant for the Jets under Rex Ryan. Obviously cannot be interviewed until the Jets are out of the playoffs. Suffered a demotion prior to this season when Ryan took over. Sutton had been the Jets' DC from 2006-08. Coached linebackers for the Jets from 2000-2006. Was the head coach at Army from 1991-99.

Gary Gibbs: Currently coaches linebackers in KC. Coached linebackers in Dallas from 2002-2005, so spent two seasons under Parcells there. Was the defensive coordinator in New Orleans from 2006-2009. He left with Sean Payton at the same time Payton wanted to take Tony Sparano with him to be the Saints' offensive coordinator so Gibbs and Sparano are familiar.]


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like i said 2 days ago if miami doesnt make it to the second round of playoffs,baring any injuries,i would clean house including parcells n bring in jon gruden as coash n peterson as gm

I know Miami won't be a super bowl contender until 2011 or 2012.

offer job to rex ryans brother dc on browns!


You say take Ryan over Long ... which one was voted All-Pro?? While finding a QB may take sometime IF Henne doesn't work but he did show that he could win but was let down many times by the defense.

With regards to us NOT WINNING ANYTHING .. go be a Jets fan than becuase they seem to have won so much .. or the Steelers or Pats. We sucked 1-15 so the fact that we are 7-9 two years later shouldn't be that upsetting, remember we did that without our starting QB, CB and RB for large portion of the season. At the end of the day only one team wins ... we will have a shot in a couple years .. yes .. years after our talent develops. If you can wait that long I would be surprised

Al Groh admitted to the media that he didn't want to work with Sparano.


I hate the say it but the Jets have been better off than we have the last 10-15 years. They've had glimmers. Last year, did anyone really think we had a shot against Baltimore.

One more thing...didn't we have a chance to hire Rex Ryan but chose Sparano instead?

What about Jim Mora jr.?

If my memory is right he was a decent DC before his head coaching gigs.

And if Sparano doesn't work out down the road maybe he's a guy to groom to take over.

Dean Pees got let go in New England...warrants consideration...has been their defensive coordinator for four years


I agree that we have been terrible for the past 10 years and the poor play and lack of talent on this team reached epic proportions culminating in 1-15 in 2007. That being said, how could it possibly be fixed in two years? We overachieved by a lot last year and won the division with a huge disparity in talent compared to the rest of our division. Personally I attribute that to our coaching staff.

Our talent level has increased. Our team attitude has improved and I see good things for our future. Look at the Jest and the Patsies. They are LOADED with talent and yet we were right there competing with them this year and last. As our talent level increases you'll see more results. It just can't happen overnight.

great so what now?

Henne's completion percentage is higher than Ryan's, look it up.
Ryan's rating is 80 to Henne's 75 and Ryan threw more TD's, 16 to 13, but he started more games.
NFL.com ranks Henne higher than Ryan.

FYI for Ken,
In a receiver happy league you also have to pay out the butt to get one unless you develop one. You complain about the Pat White pick, but if we tried to trade for a receiver or draft one we would have had to use that pick as well as our 1st and possibly more. That being said I have noticed this player on the Cowboys, the team Parcells built before us and there is this receiver that took a few years to develop named MILES AUSTIN!!! They didn't spend any first day picks on him or millions of dollars in a contract, but they developed him. We have 2 players on our team that are by the coaching staffs admission being groomed for the future, Pat Turner and Julius Pruitt. And they both have measurables, draft analysis, and pros and cons extremely similar to Austin. Just because you don't see the whole picture doesn't mean it is not happening, and you can't discredit the management for stuff you don't even know is going on. So you should sit back and enjoy the view while the Pats crumble and the Jets enjoy a fluke give up by the Colts to get to the Playoffs. This front office is the best thing to hit the Fins since Shula and that applies even after Parcells leaves.

Tyrone Nix. The players will go to war for him. No doubt. That's the gutsy hire.

But didnt u say Pasqualoni was safe when the phins accepted the senior bowl invite?? Whats your batting average??

Ken, you moron you. SO glad you are only a little punk blogger and not in charge of anything important. Your comments are not only off base but ill advised. Please put BOTH of your feet out the door and into traffic.


Why anyone (you) would want the blabbering fool Rex Ryan for a coach over Tony Sparano?

Don't try to act like he has anything to do with the Jets making the playoffs. If anything they are there in spite of him. Everybody knows that the Colts let the Jets stumble into the playoffs. That my friends, is backdoor football.

In regards to Ryan the Hutt over Sparano, no thank you. It would embarass me to have that big a blowhard as my head coach. Do you think we would have had better results the last two years with Hutt over Sparano? I can't see any coach in the league having better results than Sparano got last year.

Im having 1-15 flashbacks!!! someone help me!!! GOOOOO PHINSSSS!!!

I'm finding this almost hard to believe. It looks like they didn't think this thing through very well, which if it was Al Davis I would understand, but not this group. It's leaving me feel a little uneasy about alot of things, like free agency and the draft. My confidence in their decision making is starting to wane some.

This is getting embarrassing and is seriously F**ked Up!

Butler saw what we have and ran!

A promotion of Bowles would be "THe Peter principle," rewarding his deficiencies this year.


Cursed, we are.

what i think is funny is how a coach sucks because the team or the unit doesnt perform well but he was a great coach when they did perform well somewhere else. what gives? clearly the coach didnt change his coaching techniques and his ability didnt give way. Its all about the personel the scheme thats why some players suck on one team and suddenly become good somewhere else, same for the coaches.

Kirby Smart - the "Smart" choice

I can't believe any true football fan doesn't like Tony Sparano. I've been a Dolphin fan for close to 30 years, and Sparano's BY FAR the best coach this team has had since Shula (yeah, that includes Jimmy Johnson, Nick Saban, all of 'em). Sparano is a tough, no nonsense, no showboating-type of coach. I love him. I think he's done an incredible job in 2 yrs. And I think the Trifecta overall has done a great job turning this team from the laughingstock of the NFL to somewhat decent (for now) and looking like a successful franchise in the near future. So those that say fire the Trifecta I think you should keep smokin' that crackpipe.

But Bryan from Ohio had it right when he said we should get Leslie Frasier. For one, the Minnesota defense is damned good. Secondly, any male athlete with a woman's name has GOT TO BE tough as nails. Third, and while I agree with some of you who said Bowles is a good coach (because he is a VERY GOOD coach), I think we need to look outside the organization for our DC.

Lastly, can I say to Waterboy, that your list was hilarious. I've never laughed so hard. That was great, seriously! I disagree with about 1/2 of it, but it was great nonetheless.

Stayonboard you are beating up Ken pretty good. I disagree with him on some points, but you keep getting on him about he is a know it all; could he have done better and so on. Yet you are on here doing the same thing. Acting like coach on what should be done. Not picking sides, just pointing out the hypocrisy. You all are acting like coaches on here!

Kirby smart would actually be a good hire for us.. Crazy thought but are beat defensive years with Madison... Surtain... Brock Marion... That success happened due to jim bates... Always like Jim bates don't care what anyone said he was a good DC!! Or we can bring up Bowles which if they do that they are gonna feel stupid because what changes have they truly made over coach P?

Ken, you are a complete idiot. You have no football knowledge whatsoever.

Could be worse, You could have Matt Millen as GM..........

bring back olivadotti. "the miani dolphins, rebuilding since 1973"

Guys, Its not like the Gieco commerical"So easy even a caveman can do it" This might take a little time......

A little known name to throw into the mix - Jim Tomsula. DL coach at San Francisco. He has turned DL into barking dawgs wherever he has gone. He has some head coaching expereince and works in a 3-4. Your thoughts, Mando?

You guys should see some of the comments on Profootballtalk's entry on the Butler rejection. Mean to us.

Are we reverting to CamCamoron style laughing stock of the league ??

Let's face it.. I love sparanos passion and his fire and right now I wouldn't want anyone else running this team... But as far as being the HC he is still wet behind the ears... I'm ok with that because
He has the intangibles u need unlike Randy Shannon who looks like a ghetto Damon Waynes with no passion on the sideline... I think guys like butler and groh are gonna turn down these jobs because Miami just isn't a top tier team right now and that will lead candidates to pass it up... When your doing good ..your coaches are getting promotions and head jobs and replacing them with quailty coaches is easy.. We will find someone of not Bowles will do for now

Menace , I did my best but i could manage was 50 degrees and about 45 tommorrow. Is That OK ? . GOD has spoken.

Agree with Gman - when we went 1-15 we knew it was going to be a long way back. Last season was a surprise but should not blind us to the obvious - we are building a team and that takes time. I like Sparano's approach and fire. I would love the D to be faster and more aggressive and would like more talent on O but good things come to those who wait.

Remember the Ravens used to be the fairly bad Browns; the Cardinals used to be laughed at; it's not so long ago New Orleans were called the "Aints"; and the Chargers have often been a damp squib.

Give the team time.

Put up another post Waterboy.

"The Miami Dolphins, rebuilding since 1973." New slogan.

"any male athlete with a woman's name has GOT TO BE tough as nails."

Lol..good one DC Fanatic.

Tisk tisk.

Blame the meltdown this year on the DC when you saddle him with Gibril Wilson, two rookie corners, two over the hill OLBs, an injured over the hill NT, and 1 ILB who wouldn't start on 80% of the other teams in the league. That makes a lot of sense.

Sounds like well respected coaches who have been around for a long time are smelling the stench comming off the Trifecta. This is bad news for an already miserable franchise. Pas was a good coach who was given squat to work with.


Yes Thanks NJ, For the earm up... needed it...

Sparano is a class a moron. Just watch his performance in the New Orleans game. Who would want to coach with him?

Sparano = Mangini. Three years and done. From the penthouse to the outhouse. Watch.

Ummmmmmm...For a guy who knows nothing, one thing I do know is that Leslie Frazier would not make a lateral move to become the DC for a worse team.

Get a clue folks.

Yellowginn Sounds strangely like............like.....like....like???????

But I Love the name......

The game may be passing Parcells by. Most of his guys are now old. He will be leaving probably after this year and Sparano is no top notch coach. The GM has not made many great moves and loves Ginn who is a major mistake. His draft record is spotty at best with some poor choices. Parcells may be out of touch and his judgment a bit old as he fails to see the need for tall, fast WR's in today's NFL. His group started okay but this past draft did poorly.

Lots of Sparano lovers on this blog. I really don't agree with them. He's at best average, I think.

Let's just be honest and teake a little survey: if you had to RANK SPARANO 1-32 AMONG NFL HEAD COACHES, would you have him where you want your beloved franchise's HC?

I rank him # 24, with only Fewell, Kubiak, Del Rio, Cable, Schwartz, Morris, Spagnuolo and Singletary behind him.

Perhaps you can have a little bit higher, but don't tell me you have him in the top HALF.

He deserves one more year to convince us. No more.

Where would you have ranked Sparano after last season Yann?

the fins will not see a playoff games until 2011 0r 2012 /


What have you been smoking bud?

Any coach that can turn a 1 win team into an 11 win team in the space of just 1 offseason deserves a great deal of credit. Did you not see how bad this team was in 2007? Sparano brings the best out the limited talent this team has and does an incredible job with it. Right now,i'd put Tony Sparano as one of the NFL's top 12 coaches and i would'nt change him for anyone.

Team goes 11-5 after 1-15 I don't care how weak te schedule was... Yes it was a stretch and us smart fans know that but still it was a he'll of a job coaching and take away a few metdowns on defense this year and gentlemen we are talking about much different things right now plus our injuries were major blows... I am the first to attack Coaches when they suck like Daman Waynes aka randy shameon but sparano is a good coach... U think tomlin is better why because he won the bowl come on that team is gifted and look what the did this year and rex Ryan is a flat shlub!!! Let's get jef fisher he's great... The guy has kept his job for too many years with average seasons... Come on guys stop blaming sparano and just be patient and see how things transpire!!!!! Be a real fan for a change

in the top 12 ? that means he's not good .how many teams in the nfl ?

Whatever, I wouldn't read too much into it. Maybe Lovie Smith will get fired.

Top 12 means he's a good coach cus last time i checked,there were 32 teams in the NFL

Yann is a Yam !!

I like Sparano. Little too much going on during games and he kind of loses focus (or it seems that way) but he cares and is a good coach who could bring the team all the way. For all of the reasons above.
We did not hurt that much on offense this year. Not at all. So if we don't have a stud wideout, I don't care. We traded away the best wide receiver we had in Wes Welker for a second rounder. We picked up a Beck. Wow what a trade. That was before.
We need defense. Players who can make plays. We fired the coach because he couldn't get the best out of these guys. That is because he didn't have enough game changers. It isn't one guy that wins games. It is the 10 other players on the field that make it possible for game changers to make the big play. We need linebackers in the middle. 8 and 9 yard runs up the middle were very common this year. I don't remember seeing that many when Zack was on this team. We need a good NT. Once again when Ferguson was playing we didn't see this too often.
We need a good dc who knows how to get his players into position to make the big play.
Ken as has been repeated to eloquently on this blog...you suck

Yeah right, coach Rex is a veritable genius. The only thing he does well besides assault a buffet line is wear my pants.

Sparano is a good coach, he proved it last year. Whether he becomes a great coach, we'll see. So the Pittsburgh guy turned down this opportunity. Big deal. He's considered an up and comer, just as Bowles is. Promote Bowles. No one complained last year about him when he basically made chicken salad out of chicken sheeeeeet.

I'm a homer, yes. But I would much rather be the Dolphins right now than the Jets or Pats for that matter. Young roster with pieces coming together. Coach Rex will be out of coaching in 2 years and making appearances on the "Biggest Loser" long before sparano is done coaching this team. BTW, sparano is 2-0 vs that loser.


I'll say it again you dope, respect the rest of us......embrace your joint.

Hey yam or whatever your name is go be a chiefs fan they got an all star coaching squad... My ass!!! A bunch of fired shmucks and a head coach who never even played college football... My ass!!! I take sparano.... Every time... 12th best coach...them I feel bad for the 20 other teams that have less... Just learn football before u talk put your ass!!!

It can't be!!!!! There's gotta be more that is going on behind closed doors.. These guys are too good to F up like this!! If Tuna has a bad draft, then I'll believe the game is starting to pass him by..

ken u forgot to tell the ppl here that u are jet sucking fan

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