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48 posts from January 2011

January 03, 2011

Ross at Dolphins camp Monday, meets with Sparano, Ireland

The meeting Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland were to have with owner Stephen Ross began in earnest this afternoon.

Ross arrived at the Dolphins facility at 1 p.m. Monday and stayed for several hours -- outlasting some employees that left at the close of business, The Herald's Jeff Darlington is reporting.

I am reporting Ross met with Ireland first and Sparano afterward.

Ross was in the company of club Chief Executive Officer Mike Dee.

It is reasonable to believe the club owner is allowing Sparano to give his version of what happened with the Dolphins in 2010 and a plan for addressing everything that is wrong -- including whether he would fire or relieve any assistants and what his plan would be for addressing obvious definciencies on the team, including the quarterback position.

It has been known for weeks that Sparano's job is on the line. The season-ending three-game losing skid, including the 38-7 loss to New England in the season finale did not help matters for the incumbent coach. A 1-7 record at home is also an issue that Ross was unhappy about this season.

"It was a productive meeting," Ross told Darlington this evening while at Sun Life Stadium for the Orange Bowl game.

On Monday, Sparano met with the media and gave few details on what he planned to tell Ross, with few being defined as none.

“I’m not going to get into that," Sparano said. "That’s going to be between me and Mr. Ross and we’ll go through that. But, I’m not going to get into all or any of those things right now.”

Sparano was asked how he would convince Ross he is the right man to coach the team going forward -- even as potential candidates Jon Gruden and Jim Harbaugh were working at Sun Life Stadium tonight, one as an announcer for ABC, the other as the Stanford head coach leading his team during the Orange Bowl.

"I’m not going to get into my plan with Mr. Ross," Sparano said, meaning he wasn't going to share the plan with the media.

The fact the meeting with Sparano was likely happening one day after the season ended suggests Ross plans to move fairly quickly in making a decision about the coach.


Dolphins a loooong way from being good enough

The question the Dolphins were asking, the question I was asking, the question you had to be asking as the New England Patriots dismantled the Dolphins 38-7 on Sunday, was ARE THE DOLPHINS THIS FAR FROM BEING PATRIOTS GOOD?

Make no mistake, the Dolphins do have talent. Their defensive line is good and deep. Their specialists (punter, kicker, long snapper) are among the better ones in the league. Their wide receiver corps is one good deep threat from being outstanding. The corners will be good once they figure out how to catch interceptions.

But this game was such a total butt whipping, such a domination, that it had to raise questions about, about ... everything.

Remember the Patriots didn't play Wes Welker, or Deion Branch, or Aaron Hernandez. Remember they turned the lights out on the offense in the fourth quarter -- running instead of passing on third down, and running one fourth down when they could have kicked a field goal.

And still the Patriots looked like they're a great team while the Dolphins looked like a bottom drawer team light years from competing for a title. Understand that New England won twice as many games as the Dolphins this year. Twice as many!

And they're rebuilding. And they have three picks in the first 33 selections of next spring's NFL draft. And they have six selections in the first three rounds.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, will be without a second round pick.

Miami will have the No. 15 pick in the first round behind Carolina, Denver, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Arizona, Cleveland, San Francisco, Tennessee, Dallas, Washington, Houston, Minnesota, Detroit and St. Louis.

Can the Dolphins pluck a super star at No. 15 that will bridge the gap between them and New England? Only if that guy is a future Hall of Fame worthy quarterback. But those don't typically hang out until the 15th pick in the draft unless several folks in several NFL outposts are blowing it on draft day.

The point?

No matter what happens in the next couple of days. No matter who the next coach or general manager is -- be it Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland or someone else -- this Dolphins team isn't borderline title ready.

They think they're close.

They think they're one or two players away. I believe they're five or six players away. And as we saw on Sunday, that's a far, far way from the team the Dolphins have to beat to win their division.

January 02, 2011

Dolphins lose to Patriots, end season 7-9

The Dolphins season is over.

They lose to the New England Patriots 38-7 and the loss might be the final game for this team as you know it.

Coach Tony Sparano might get fired after this.

General Manager Jeff Ireland might get fired after this.

Quarterback Chad Henne, taken out of the lineup for much of this game, might have been fired already.

Owner Stephen Ross was not in New England to witness this debacle. He is traveling out of country.

Sparano and company better hope Ross didn't have Internet access today.

Blowout underway as fourth quarter begins

The Patriots are beating the Dolphins 38-0.

New England backup QB Brian Hoyer threw a 42-yard TD pass in the third quarter.

The Dolphins are playing musical chairs with their QB spot, using Tyler Thigpen and Chad Henne and Thigpen and Henne.

The live blog continues in the comments section.

Pats embarrassing Dolphins 24-0 going to third quarter


Just terrible.

Tony Sparano has tried everything: He's benched Chad Henne. He's shuttled Brandon Marshall in and out of the lineup.

And the Dolphins are responding like losers.

They've given up a punt return TD. They've thrown an interception that led to a TD. They've failed to run, failed in passing, failed in stopping the run and the pass.

There is one word to describe this day so far: Ugly.

Patriots lead Dolphins 14-0 to start second quarter

If you thought the Dolphins were going to come out today breathing fire so their effort could save Tony Sparano's job, you were wrong.

If you thought the Patriots were going to come out today and just go through the motions because they have home field advantage locked up, that would also be wrong.

The Patriots are sticking it to the Dolphins. 14-0 to start the second quarter.

Tom Brady is playing. And well.

Chad Henne has thrown an interception.

The more things change ...

Season finale live blog here

It will likely be the last time Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are in the same backfield.

It could be coach Tony Sparano's last game with the Dolphins.

It could be general manager Jeff Ireland's last game with the Dolphins.

It definitely is the last game the duo represent the Dolphins before Bill Parcells meets with owner Stephen Ross about their future.

Look, I know many of you have read my comments or my tweets about that coming meeting. Many of you hate the fact Parcells is still being asked for his opinion. I would ask you who's opinion would you like the Dolphins to get.

The fact is many football men value Parcells' opinion. Sean Payton called him advice last year before the Super Bowl. Rex Ryan wanted to talk to him before the playoffs last year (Parcells respectfully declined to help). When the San Francisco 49ers were setting up the general manager search, candidate Trent Baalke called Parcells to get ideas of how to interview better and perhaps set up a football operation. Jed York, by the way, didn't call Parcells as was widely reported.

Bottom line is those of you who don't want the Ross to talk to Parcells probably were saying things like, "In Tuna we trust," a couple of years ago. Some of you that would not want this meeting to happen are probably just mad that Parcells left his post as football czar before the Miami rebuild was complete.

And so now that he is back and can share the resource of his insights, you would rather not hear them. Give me a break.

There is a live blog today. It's in the comments section.

Wes Welker is not playing for New England today. Tom Brady does start, but don't expect him to play very long. For the Dolphins, Pat McQuistan starts at RT. Joe Berger is back at center. Richie Incognito is at left guard.


January 01, 2011

It's 2011: The New Year's resolutions!

Happy 2011 everyone! This is the day many people put forth New Year's resolutions. They are meant as promises to improve. They are goals to reach for.

My resolutions? Eat less. Work out more. Make fewer mistakes in print. Make fewer mistakes on the radio. Update this blog more often. Update the songs on my show more often. Update my wardrobe.

Show more kindness and patience with those I love. Show more kindness and patience with my enemies and the haters.

As you did not come here to read how much I need to improve, let me share with you how much our teams need to improve and how they might get about the business of doing that:

The Dolphins should resolve to stop using running plays up the middle on third-and-goal from the 14.

The Dolphins should resolve to stop running the ball with running backs that aren't special anymore. Find a dynamic RB. Please. Otherwise give up on being a running team.

The Dolphins should resolve in their postseason evaluations that the fourth remake of the interior offensive line in four years probably isn't a great idea. Add a guard, move Incognito to center and stick with Jerry, folks.

The Dolphins should resolve to get a young, new, aggressive offensive coordinator who is also the quarterback coach. Let's face it, Dan Henning is a great wide receiver coach and a good coordinator, but his game-day play-calling is often frustrating at best and his scheme is starting to show its age.

So would that mean for QB coach David Lee?

The Dolphins should resolve to thank coach Lee for the Wildcat. They should resolve to thank him for always being prepared and diligent. And they should resolve to thank him for his services as he leaves the organization.

The Dolphins should resolve to replace Lee because he is seemingly more worried about his guys making mistakes than making plays. They should resolve to find a quarterback coach who can, you know, actually develop a quarterback. They should resolve to find a QB coach with nerve and boldness because what I'm seeing is too much David Lee in Chad Henne. And I don't like it.

The Dolphins should resolve to get Brandon Marshall some help. That means getting him a legit speedster on the other side and a quarterback that is confident and daring and won't take any crap from him and let him know who's boss.

Chad Henne should resolve to have a conversation with Drew Brees. You figure it out.

Henne should resolve to have conversations that don't include the phrase, "I mean."

And Henne should resolve to play with passion and emotion and daring and aggressiveness, because the way he did it last year and the year before didn't work.

Sean Smith should resolve to catch some interceptions this year. Instead of heading back to Cali or partying or just hanging in the offseason, he should catch 100 passes every single day until the 2011 season opener. And he should resolve to do this not while he's standing in front of a jugs machine, but as he's on the move and winded and under duress -- like he would in games. If he had resolved to fix this last offseason, he'd have eight or nine interceptions now and be in the Pro Bowl.

Tony Sparano should resolve to stop telling us how much he "likes this group," of players who have failed to the point his job security is in question.

Sparano should also resolve to stop saying, "I'm not that smart." Not saying he should tell us he's a genius, but we definitely don't want a coach who isn't smart. 

We have some resolutions for the teams we follow for various reasons as well.

The Hurricanes should resolve to find a quarterback that completes fewer passes ... to guys on the other team.

Bill Belichick should resolve to prove how great a coach he really is by trading Tom Brady ... to the Dolphins ... for the 199th overall selection in the coming draft.

The Florida Panthers should resolve to become relevant. Maybe one way to do that is make the playoffs for the first time in a decade. Or even get out of last place in the Southeast Division.

The Miami Heat should resolve ... oh, never mind. They don't have to resolve squat. They're showing everyone how it's done right now.