Tony Sparano has not seen Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is some time and consequently has not received any assurances he will continue to be the Dolphins head coach in 2011. But, in case you're wondering, he is endorsing offensive coordinator Dan Henning as his guy.
Sparano was asked during today's press conference if he has met with Ross recently.
“I haven’t visited with him, no, and that’s not my problem right now,” Sparano said. “My problem is to get ready for the Detroit Lions. That’s what I’m charged with.”
For the sake of clarification, I asked Sparano if he's received any sort of endorsement or assurance from Ross that he will be the Miami coach in 2010. He has not.
“I just need to get my team to get ready to play this week," he said. "That's what I need to do. Everything is else is beyond my control. Let someone else deal with it."
Sparano must deal with picking a coach to run Miami's offense in 2011. I have reported previously that most people in the Dolphins facility expect offensive coordinator Dan Henning to retire. But if Henning were to get a wild-hair idea about returning in 2011 after his unit finished 31st in the NFL in scoring (where it currently ranks), Sparano sounds like he'd be fine with that.
“I think that Dan Henning, for Tony Sparano, has been tremendous,” Sparano said, using the often fatal third-person reference to himself in his speech. “I think the guy has done a wonderful job during my time here. I look at the entire body of work, you guys just look at the last three or four games.
"I look at the whole body of work and this guy has done a tremendous job. He’s the same guy that we were all talking about, ‘Man oh man, he finds the ways to use the personnel to the best of their ability.’ That was you people saying that not me. So I would tell you for Tony Sparano Dan Henning has been tremendous. It's easy to point blame, fellas, and I get it. it comes with the territory. That's the way it goes. I need to do a better job. Tony Sparano needs to do a better job.”
Here's my thinking: Sparano went overboard to defend Henning. I don't believe that was by accident. And I hope he fully intends to see Henning off with a gold watch or whatever the Dolphins give their retiring assistants who had terrible seasons.
Ultimately, Sparano will be judged by whether, in fact, Henning returns next year. I believe if he makes the pitch to Ross that he just made to the public about Henning, he will lose all credibility with the owner. I don't think that will happen. I think, I hope that was just for public consumption.
I just wish coach would realize we're not stupid. Dumb, maybe. But not stupid. We understand he's saying something that ultimately won't mean squat. So why say it and hurt your credibility?
... Unless, of course, he actually means this stuff with the zeal he used, in which case I would seriously worry about this franchise's future.