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Dolphins fire John Bonamego, promote Rizzi

The Dolphins have fired special teams coach John Bonamego and replaced him with assistant special teams coach Darren Rizzi, according to coach Tony Sparano.

The decision was made by Sparano overnight.

Bonamego was Miami's special teams coordinator since 2008. He was the coach most responsible for the poor play of the teams the past two weeks when the Dolphins had two punts blocked, had a field goal blocked and returned for a TD, and gave up a 103-yard kickoff return TD.

Rizzi joined the Dolphins in 2009 and had no previous experience in the NFL prior to that. Rizzi has been coaching in college since 1993 through  2008 with Colgate, New Haven, Northeastern, New Haven again as the head coach, Rutgers and Rhode Island as the head coach.

In announcing Bonamego's departure, Sparano called it a "tough decision," cautioned that "it ain't all broke," and "players also have to take responsibility."

There will be some changes with players also in the coming weeks although there are no specifics at this time. The Dolphins have used starters on special teams, including Tim Dobbins, Jason Allen and Cameron Wake.

"I want my core players to play better on special teams right now," Sparano said. "To be honest, if we need to put more starters in there, we'll look at that."

I recognize that some of you will view this move as a day late and three touchdowns allowed short. The special teams, after all, have struggled for years in Miami with last week's Jets game being among the worst of that.

In that regard, Sparano might have moved one week sooner.

But doing it today, after Monday night's meltdown which I described in my Miami Herald column as an epic failure, is better than nothing. It is a risk. Rizzi might not be the permanent fix. And as the assistant, he was part of the staff that authored the problem as well.

But perhaps he will oversee changes. Perhaps he will correct the issues with blocking schemes against line stunts that Bonamego clearly did not. I would start with Pat McQuistan, who simply didn't block anyone on one of the blocked kicks last night.

We'll see how it turns out. 

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