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The importance of Dolphins coaching Sr. Bowl

As you might have read on my twitter a while ago, the Dolphins coaching staff will coach the South team in the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl on Jan. 30. The Detroit Lions' staff will coach the North squad. 

This will mark the first time since 1997 that Miami's staff coaches the Senior Bowl.

So what's the big deal?

Two things:

One, the staff that draws a Senior Bowl assignment has an advantage over other staffs. Miami's coaches will be around the South players more than any other. Miami coaches will be able to measure which players learn their assignments more quickly than others. Miami's staff will be able to measure better than other coaches how the South players respond in practice and work both on and off the field.

It is definitely a plus for the Dolphins because they can use their information in picking players.

Second, the fact the Dolphins accepted the assignment suggests there will be no further significant turnover to the staff. Translation: Don't expect either offensive coordinator Dan Henning or defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni to be going anywhere.

Simply, the Dolphins would be unlikely to accept the task of coaching the Senior Bowl with a staff missing either coordinator. Remember that Miami will be installing its offense and defense for the all-star game and doing it without coordinators would be nearly impossible.

There have been questions about whether Pasqualoni and Henning would return to their coordinator jobs in 2010. Henning is 67 years old and has already retired once previously. So it was possible he might want to ride off into the sunset to spend the rest of his days at leisure. That is looking less likely now. Henning, barring a change of mind in the coming days, is expected to return in 2010.

Then there's Pasqualoni. The issue with him, like Henning is numbers -- not years, but points. We're talking 390 points to be exact. That's how many points the Miami defense yielded in 2009 and that was tied for the eighth-most in the NFL.

The Dolphins yielded 73 more points this season than last. That, ladies and gentlemen, is not progress. If you think that is a result of a tougher schedule, understand that the New York Jets and New England Patriots, which played similar schedules, allowed over 100 fewer points than Miami this season.

I would point out the Dolphins lost valuable players such as Will Allen and Jason Ferguson to injuries and that was part of the problem. But the bottom line is every team suffers injury issues and it is up to the coaching staff to overcome the problems.

The Dolphins, as you might recall, allowed a franchise high 140 points in the fourth quarter in 2009. But to Pasqualoni's credit, once the problem became apparent, it was addressed. The Dolphins yielded only six points in the fourth quarter the last five games of the season.

Both Henning and Pasqualoni spent the past few days at work. That suggests they were doing the year-end evaluations required of the coaches that will be back next season. Departed linebacker coaches Jim Reid and George Edwards, by contrast, weren't around since the season ended.

All this is detective work, of course, and I cannot tell you absolutely, positively Henning and Pasqualoni will be back. I tell you when I know things for a fact and when I don't. The Dolphins have not announced that either Pasqualoni or Henning are staying and will not do so, I'm told, because they don't announce the status quo.

I tried to remove the shroud of mystery from the issue by e-mailing coach Tony Sparano and asking him outright if the two coordinators were coming back or not.

He saw my e-mail. And ignored it.

So it goes.

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