« Dolphins hurt after losing man you don't know | Main | Tired of the Dolphins always playing catch-up? »

On Paul Pasqualoni (finally) and loyalty

As you can see I reported early yesterday afternoon on my twitter feed that appears on this page over <---- there, the Dolphins have already taken a significant step toward filling one of their linebacker coaching jobs by identifying former Giants defensive coordinator and linebacker coach Bill Sheridan for the job.

Sheridan is not hired yet. But he's been offered the job and there are only a few details to work out to make this official. The Dolphins should announce this hiring sometime before the 2012 season begins.

As to the subject you've all been demanding I address -- the firing of Paul Pasqualoni:

I told you looong ago that Bill Parcells believes in surrounding himself with people he's familiar with. He calls them "my guys." Parcells is loyal to his guys, is comfortable with his guys, and believes in his guys. This applies to coaches, personnel people, and players.

And it's one big happy football family until one of the "guys" fails. Then that loyalty and confidence and comfort take a back seat to production and the reality that the NFL is really a business, not a family. Winning, you see, trumps loyalty and even friendship.

Tony Sparano, obviously a branch of the Parcells coaching tree, believes in this philosophy.

The players he picks, he often says, may not be the best 53 players, but they must be the right 53. The coaches he picks are "his guys." And all is hunkey dory until one of the guys doesn't get the job done.

And that's when one of his guys is suddenly gone, a fleeting memory on a very short press release.

That's the case with players and assistants and anyone else.

Remember that Ernest Wilford was one of Miami's first free agent signees when this regime took over? The Dolphins gave him a big contract. They stood behind him even as he was slow to figure things out. They even tried to give him another chance at another spot.

But loyalty carried the relationship only so far. Eventually Wilford had to produce and when he didn't, he was out, the big signing bonus and warm wishes be damned. Same with draft pick Shawn Murphy. He was the organization's guy because he was drafted by Parcells and Jeff Ireland and coached by Sparano. But when production didn't meet expectations, the relationship, the loyalty, the bond was unceremoniously severed.

I must tell you it's not always like this in the NFL. Some NFL people don't know when loyalty ends and cloudy thinking takes over. I remember years ago coach Don Shula was comfortable with defensive coordinator Tom Olivadotti. Olivadotti was a Shula guy. But when the Miami defense was shredded by the Buffalo Bills year after year, Shula stuck by his guy -- to a fault.

The loyalty cost Shula in the end.

Former owner Wayne Huizenga was loyal to his guys to a fault. When Jimmy Johnson quit (the first time), Huizenga offered to let Johnson coach only home games, that's how much he stuck by Johnson. Big mistake.

When Dave Wannstedt's inexorable decline was in full swing, Huizenga could not bring himself to firing the failing coach. First he didn't extend his contract, then he extended the deal but demoted Wannstedt from personnel decisions, and then, finally, he told Wannstedt he would be fired at the end of the 2004 season.

There are many sad examples of NFL teams sticking too long with their guys. And what this means, when it becomes clear a mistake has been made and there is delay in correcting it because of loyalty, is the organization is expanding and multiplying its mistake.

Anyone can make a mistake in hiring a coach or picking a player. But it is valuable to be able to disconnect dispassionately from that player or assistant or personnel man if he's not producing. It is valuable not to compound the mistake of picking poorly with the mistake of sticking with the poor choice.

These Dolphins these days don't do that.

They make mistakes as everyone does. They might pick poorly -- yeah, Pat White comes to mind right off. But they don't sit around and nurture the mistake. They don't compound their problem by keeping the mistake around. They don't allow the mistake to haunt indefinitely.

And that finally brings me to Pasqualoni. He was, by any measure, one of Parcells' guys. He was part of the Dallas migration of 2008, the Cowboyfication of the Dolphins if you will, when Sparano, Ireland and a handful of assistants were plucked from that organization by Parcells, who had coached there.

But we saw this week that being part of "my guys" isn't a blood signature on a lifetime contract. It is an entrance through an open door. But the door swings both ways and one has to perform to keep from getting swept out.

Pasqualoni didn't perform because, well, his defense did not.

The Miami defense, by any measurable standard, regressed in 2009.

Miami defenders allowed five more points per game than in 2008. They allowed an average of 20 more yards per game. They had fewer interceptions and fewer fumbles forced. There was no significant measurable -- most significantly points allowed -- that showed improvement.

Obviously Pasqualoni wasn't uniquely responsible for this issue. It was the personnel depatment that gave him a terrible free safety. It was the personnel department that gave him a 35-year-old nose tackle that predicatably got injured. It was the personnel department that hasn't improved the linebacker corps.

But Pasqualoni didn't get anything extra out of his players. None performed above potential. You never stood back and said of Pasqualoni's work, "Gee, I wonder how he's doing so much with so little." He, in fact, did little with so little.

And then there was this troubling fact:

The Miami defense spent much of the year either not being able to finish or not knowing when the heck to start. Early in the year and through November, Miami's defense was a leaky dike in the fourth quarter. That's why the team broke the franchise record for most points allowed in the fourth quarter.

Well, about the time that got resolved, as the unit started finishing game better, it promptly couldn't start any games on time.

The Houston Texans scored 27 first-half points on Miami.

The Tennessee Titans scored 17 first-half points on Miami.

The Pittsburgh Steelers scored 14 points in the first quarter and 17 points by halftime on Miami.

Not surprisingly, the Dolphins lost all three games because they couldn't climb out of the hole they constantly dug themselves.

And, not surprisingly, that hole became a grave for Pasqualoni's Dolphins career.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference On Paul Pasqualoni (finally) and loyalty :


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

great article, but lol @ leaky dike

I'm shocked and happy they dumped PP.

I thought the crony system was to strong but I have to hnd it to Tony S - he got rid of the OL coach after one year and the DC this year. Way to go - Tony doesn't take too long to pull the trigger.

Personnel. Personnel. Personnel.

Let's upgrade the front 7 and pass rush then everything will fall into place.

Draft Cody or McClain from 'Bama and it'll be a step in the right direction.

For drying out loud, why do you insist on dwelling on the Passqualoni matter post after post after post?:>)

The most telling part of the blog is when Mando stated, "they surround themselves with their guys" You can bet ur a's they will be bringing in another of "their guys", and I believe the deal was already cut with Groh, Crennel or someone very close to Parcells and Sprano before they even fired Pas. It won't be some unknown outsider who they haven't worked with...

My sources have told me that we will name our new DC by tomorrow. We might even join the youth movement and get a coordinator under the age of 75. I love having coordinators that are pushing 70, knowing that they'll be replaced within 3 or 4 years.

a really good article.

Time Out!!! Time Out!!! Oh wait a minute, I don't need to do that!

I really applaud Tony and Bill for moving forward on Pasqualoni, he needed to go. But of course there is a BUT, and that is, hiring Sheridan is like going from the frying pan into the fire. When your best defensive player revolts on you and gets benched, you know you have issues. Just ask the Giants. Now this issue is our issue!! Please DO NOT hire Al Groh!!! It will only compound our problems on D!!!

I don't give a damn if he's 95 years old, as long as he is a winner and brings this defense to be one of the best

Al Groh is the perfect fit for this team and I hope it's him

you kidding? Giant defensive coach... the Giants were a disaster on defense

Crennel would be a good addition but don't see it happening. Groh? I hope we can do better. Like to see some younger, up and coming guy. But unfortunately, you have to be linked to Parcells past in some way. Love to see Parcells get away from the good 'ole boys club.

The hell with Pasqualoni and his underachieving methods of coaching. He had some players available that were eager to get out there and start making plays for this team. He should've let the defensive know that no job was secure, and he should've started open tryouts at practice. Competition is the best way of finding out who wants to play or who's looking for a free paycheck on Sundays. He is way to soft to run a defense, and that's the wrong attribute for a defensive coach. I hope the next guy has some marbles to do the things that need to be done every once in a while.

why not Zach for linebackers coach.

I am not shedding any tears over PP's firing, but like Amondo said himself, The Personel department got all of these sorry players ie; Ginn,Wilson,White,Crowder. They didn't draft any quality WR's. Where is Turner? Hartline is decent given where he was drafted. I am praying Mr. Ross makes some changes in the personel department like Ireland and maybe even "Tuna" himself! I think Ozzie Newsome would be a great GM/vp of football operations! Jeff and Bill NEED to be shown the door!

Good one Matt... I think thats what the linbackers need more than anything, someone with a brain and lots of intensity. Zach brings both!

The defense and turnover on offense where the issue last year. I'm sure our defense will be better next year with additions, and new coaching. I hope the offense really works on their turnover problems the fumbles were killers and obviously henne has to be more accurate.

I live in NY, & the media here ripped the Giants Defense this season. Saying they quit before the season was over. Is this really our best option???? I hope not!

I'm jumping on the bring Zach Back bandwagon.

I hope Parcells applies his dispassionate thinking to Ireland who has sucked!

He got us one mediocre player -- Tony McDaniels -- otherwise what has he done?

Wilford? Bust
Turner? Bust
Pat White? Bust
Ayodele? Terrible player
Merling? Has he shown up yet?
Langford? Mediocre at best.
Henne? Interception machine with no touch.
Davis? TD machine -- for the other team.
Smith? See Davis.
Smiley? Always injured.
Grove? Always injured.
Thomas? Mediocre at best.

And you wonder why the Dolphins were 7-9 and got it handed to them by the lowly Bills?

You made us wait for it, Mando. But this was a very good analysis.

I see it the same way you do Mando. PP didn't really have the players to be judged fairly. But like you said as well, he didn't exactly seem to squeeze ultra performances from anyone that he did have. Not really his fault but he didn't maximize his talent so I'm indifferent on whether they kept him or not at this point.

All I know is that in Year Three, the focus will be on Tony Sparano. He better produce. No excuses, no scapegoats.

It's on him. And, as Mando says, it won't matter if he's one of Parcells' "my guys."

Welcome back Salguero. What's with this taking days off and stuff?

We expect one or two blogs every day. And preferrably before we go to work and again by lunch time so we have something good to read.

You left out Greene.

Why does Todd Bowles still have a job?

'.....didn't have players to be judged fairly".

How do you win? You get average players to play good and you get good players to play great. That's how you win.

Bum Phillips

Good move, now they need to get rid of the idiot Henning.

this upcoming season is year 3 of this crew. what are our expectations? mine is us making it to the second round of the playoffs,in not fire everyone including parcells n bring in jon gruden n let peterson b the gm


sam you forgot wilson on your list I agree with most but you have to give rookie CB'S help and there comes wilson no help at all. Davis and Smith are the real deal next year will show that.But I agree Ireland does suck he should be fired to he calls himself a scout well I don't know what games he watches I have a better judge of talent then Ireland.

Get rid off Bonamego now too and we can finally start the 2010 comeback

In response to cocoajoe, I agree, PP isn't the next Don Shula ( to whom that Bum Phillips quote was adirected) but I don't think it's fair to say he was an awful coach. In truth, we don't know what kind of coach he is - probably just not a great one.

For example, you can have anyone coaching that D and they won't be top shelf next year as is. They need a major talent infusion. For there to be improvement there has to be talent infusion that follows the coaching exodus.

I would think there are plenty of younger coaching minds out there to pick from. Look what Lee did for us with the Wildcat and that idea once called a short term fad is now copied by other teams.

Look at Az using two huge lineman in the backfield on short yardage plays - a younger coaches scheme that works. I just don't see the innovation coming from these older icons that are stuck in the 1970's.

While college isn't the same as pro's, if you look at the successful programs - the majority OC and DC spots are younger guys. How many 60-70 year olds do you find??? Cronyism does not breed success.

Well articulated, Armando -- thank you.

The number one reason you Marshall lovers are not going to see Marshall in a Dolphins uniform was stated in this great article:

"The players he picks, he often says, may not be the best 53 players, but they must be the right 53."

Brandon Marshall is not going to fit in the "right 53"!!! ENOUGH SAID!!

Oh no, Indiana, you're going to awake Josh. The only person more irritating that posts here is Tortured.

Some people are signing the death warrant on rookie CB's...Are you serious??? For either of these guys to be average in their 1st season if a monumental feat, but to do it when your playing with effectively 1 safety (Y. Bell)... Come on open your eyes!!! I we can get anything out of the safety opposite Y.Bell next year this secondary will be much improved. It goes without saying that both S. Smith & V. Davis will improve with experience and over the top help... Go back and look half of the long TD's happened over the alleged deepest man (G.Wilson)...

Why can't we think of stuff like this?


That is exactly who my last post was intended to get the attention of!! :)

At further review - I couldn't agree more. Yeah a lot of big TD's were given up by the rookie corners, but I would bet half those were not all their fault. Vontae had pass interference on TO's long TD and a few plays from Moss as well. I support the rookie corners!!

very good article mando;
we need more pressure upfront and the def, collapses had to stop. 4TH quarter callamities turned into 1ST half disasters.sorry to see pp go ut it was the right thing to do .is groh really the answer?

but typo

At futher review-
I feel your frustrations, some people don't know wtf they're talking about sometimes. This pair of CB's are going to be elite like the old days of Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain once they get a safety. Sam Goots must've not been around in those days to know that those two always had Brock "Ballhawk" Marion over the top of them.

I have a different interpretation about this regime: Thier first priority is not winning, it's not making money for the franchise it's remaining employed and not being accountable for the mistakes it makes.

Case in point: Ernest Wilford. He's big, fast and 29 years old. He averaged 14yds/rec for 5 years before the Phins. He averaged 11.8yds/rec after he left (in limited playing time). He avg'd 8yds/rec on the'Phins. If next year in a full season he is back averging 14 yds/rec then the phins actually did have a deep threat reciever these 2 years.
Chad Henne was the 4 year starter at Michigan. He put Braylon Edwards, Steve Breaston, Mario Manningham, Jason Avant and others into the NFL. Chad Nenne can and does make the deep throws.

Summation: With Wilford and Henne we've had the vertical passing for 2 years and we still have it with Henne & Turner. The mistake was giving Pennington a $10 million 2 year contract and then BENCHING WILFORD TO KEEP HIM FROM CRITICIZING PENNINGTON IN THE PRESS.

Mark, you may be confusing another Bum Phillips quote: He can take hisn' and beat your'n or he can your'n and beat hisn'.

But in any case, it's a fact we need help at muliple D positions. They made a mistake not going after a LB last year. Just add that to the list of needs this year.

I don't know if this makes sense to you all as it does to me but I think we also need to be looking at a WC to maybe.. well IMPROVE our receivers!!

I still like the idea of Ginn moving to fs (irland says he still has value) But we all know the value is not at WR. Speed at the fs position would help our young cornors out big time. Not saying this is the correct answer but it is a suggestion to think about?????


Cocoajoe, for some reason, that's what I thought you wrote earlier.

PriceMaster, Wilford has never been fast. He always was physical and had amazing hands though. For some reason we never saw that here though. I remember Wilford from way back at VaTech. Was always a good player. Just didn't click here. Maybe he slacked once he got paid? Maybe the coaches couldn't find a niche for him? Who knows??

loyallty toward Jay Fielder cost Stat his job. And what about ted Ginn? Who's gonna stick with him? What will they do?

Armando, during trying times loyalty doesn't count. If it doesn't count for you or us, there is no reason to think the NFL is different. You're only as good as the last article you wrote. Period, loyalty hasn't existed in ages. I'm all about keeping the status quo, loyalty can bite you in the azz as you pointed out with Shula. You're only as good as your last game, last season. The timing was right, our D played horrible this year and someone paid the price! Next up, because we have much to accomplish this offseason.

Armando, during trying times loyalty doesn't count. If it doesn't count for you or us, there is no reason to think the NFL is different. You're only as good as the last article you wrote. Period, loyalty hasn't existed in ages. I'm all about keeping the status quo, loyalty can bite you in the a'zz as you pointed out with Shula. You're only as good as your last game, last season. The timing was right, our D played horrible this year and someone paid the price! Next up, because we have much to accomplish this offseason.

I think you may have been getting requests for feedback on PP because the herald site seemed to be lacking any info at all on that.

2012 season huh? I hope that was just some sarcasm on your part Mando. However, these season ending firings are a result of the blame game. It also has a lot to do with firing a shot over the bow to the other coaches.

Now that the Tuna has tasted the firing lollipop let's hope he moves much quicker in the future. No need to go 0-3 again without firing Dan Henning on the spot.

Tuna will never hire a high profile coach. Tuna is a control freak. He will never share the glory. And if it all falls apart he will quit like usual.

Pricemaster is

A byotch

the fins were consistently late starting games as sparano is always late to his press conferences. just some little loose ends he may want to clean-up. oh, i really hope they get a sharp,young mind with some energy as a D coord. we were really bad with coach P. as was syracuse!

Nobody has patience anymore! What the fageezee? Listen, we were 1-15 two years ago. The team has almost been completely revamped. First they built the OL and DL, now the secondary. Yes, I agree that Gerbil isn't doing it at FS, but Bell, VD, SS, and either Culver or Clemons at FS will be SOLID. This year I expect to see LBs drafted HARD. Another NT in the draft or FA and this defense will be very good if not great!

Getting rid of Pasawhatever has restored some of my faith in Sparano,did not think they or he would do it. Now if Pat White has another camp like last years he should be gone just as quick.

1 2 »

The comments to this entry are closed.