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The breakdown of the Dolphins coaching seach

The Dolphins are quietly conducting a coaching search.

The club has made no public move to cement the future of their football operations but that does not mean things are stagnant behind the scenes, as ownership has already contacted two potential coaching candidates, according to multiple NFL sources.

The Dolphins in recent days reached out to former Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher to gauge his interest in becoming the coach, according to a source close to Cowher. But the team's conversations with Cowher included a scenario in which he would have final say over the organization but also retain general manager Jeff Ireland and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.

Cowher, apparently not comfortable with that setup because he wants autonomy over assistants, personnel and the hiring of a GM, has backed away from the Miami job at this time as a result. He is out of the Miami picture at this moment but that remains a fluid situation.

Another source indicated this morning that the Dolphins have made initial and preliminary contact with Jim Harbaugh's camp and that more conversations are expected in the coming hours and possibly days with the Stanford coach. Harbaugh, who authored Stanford's 12-1 season and their 40-12 defeat of Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl, has been in South Florida for over a week.

The Dolphins have had no official meetings or talks with Harbaugh per se. But having such discussions is apparently the plan, a source said. The story was first reported by NFL.com.

There is no certainty that Harbaugh will be hired by Miami, however.

He is perhaps the hottest college coach in the nation now and his pro-style offense is appealing to any NFL team looking to upgrade on offense -- a description the Dolphins fit. But that makes Harbaugh a candidate for jobs in San Francisco and Denver and at his alma mater, Michigan.

The 49ers are an apparent quality of life fit because they are 21 miles from Harbaugh's current address. But the 49ers seem intent on completing the hiring of a general manager first so that may hinder their attempt to land Harbaugh.

The Broncos are now guided, in part, by former quaterback John Elway, a Stanford graduate. Like a contingent of Dolphins employees, Elway was also on hand Monday night as Harbaugh's team did its work against Virginia Tech.

Michigan is a fit because Harbaugh played there and was a candidate for the job in 2002. But Harbaugh didn't land the Michigan job that year so his allegiance to the Wolverines may not be as solid as it once was. Ironically, Ross is a Michigan alumnus and major contributor but could be the reason Michigan doesn't land its prized candidate.

Harbaugh seems to fit what Ross apparently is searching for -- a name-coach that promises offensive fireworks that excites fans. But chasing Harbaugh is not without difficulty in that he would also have to agree to work with Ireland and keep Nolan, whom Ross seems intent on keeping at this point.

Two other possibilities are Jeff Fisher and Jon Gruden.

The Tennessee head coach has not been told by owner Bud Adams if he will be retained or fired. If he is fired, Fisher is a respected name that could attract Ross. The situation in Tennessee has no timetable for finding resolution.

Gruden, working for ESPN on their Monday Night Football broadcasts, is perhaps the most expensive candidate on the market. Because he is scheduled to be paid $5 million by Tampa Bay in 2011 and makes approximately $2 million from ESPN, he would be looking for a deal that could exceed $8 million. It is also not known if Gruden would be willing to work with Ireland.

And all the time, the Dolphins are keeping current coach Tony Sparano on hold. It is now clear he is the fall-back position.

While Sparano is still on the job, the team is also conducting a search.

Ownership is seeking what it believes is an upgrade. And failing to find one, will bring Sparano back for his fourth season as Miami's coach. His record in three seasons is 25-23 with a playoff appearance in 2008 and back-to-back 7-9 records the past two seasons.


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Let's not rank Gruden so high. As for Jim Harbaugh. The NFL is a lot different coaching then stanford. Who really knows how he will be. As far as anyone is better then Sparano then if Harbaugh, Gruden and Cowher all turn us down lets fire Sparano and hire Cam Cameron back.

If you are going to let Sparano go Cowher is the only one that I believe is worth anything... However it wasn't just Cowher he had a great organization behind him. That is why Mike Tomlin stepped right in and kept it going.

Sparano may have made our offense the laughing stock of the NFL among his professional peers. Im sure they were just chucking it up with laughter after every huge fistpump chuked towards the skies of mediocrity by Sparano! LOL............

Do not put pancakes in front of me. I will destroy them.

All pancakes are visitors from another planet. Their mission is to enslave humanity.


This offense really needs new coaching, after Reading what Ricky said and listening to Marshall I now realize this unit has no cohesion. For that I blame the coaching. I don't hear Mike Nolan's defense sniping like this. Was Henning ever down on the field? Brandon barely knew the guy. Wow

LOL...the jets getting sued by a couple of massage therapists. Do you think Rex would go in and get his feet rubbed and it was his idea of a happy ending?

I want to apologize guys for missing so many late season field goals but my leg was tired from kicking so many field goals this year.

Shcmoe, one last note on the subject. It could very well be we are dealing with the lack of reading and comprehension skills of the younger generation. They have a very short attention span and don't really register the specific details. Craig M for instance accused me of calling him stupid, when it was plain as can be I was calling Sparano stupid, not him. It's like beating a dead horse if you know what I mean.

Im also sure every DC in the league hung wet dreams on woodies in the week of preparation against the Dan Henning led offense! LOL......

If you were a nfl DC you would have hung wet dreams on woodies too! LOL.........

In my case last night, I answered a question but the follow up posts were about me not answering the question LOL

I wanna know exactly what Sparano has brought to Miami that 50 other assistants & coordinators could not. What has he done to earn more time. I might be waiting a long time for a coherent response LOL

Marc, done talking to you. Your a piece of human garbage. No one is gonna miss you when your gone.

I would let Tyler Thigpen or Anthony Fasano have their way with me. Soooo hot.

Repeating my question yet to be answered by Craig:

Craig M, are you ever going to tell us what you see in Sparano that leads you to think he can be a competent head coach in the NFL? What have you seen that suggests to you he can outwit the elite coaches in this league? Don't tell me it how long it took someone else to win the big one. Tell me specifically what have you seen in Sparano the last two seasons that suggests we haven't failed in personnel, coaching and have not in fact gone backwards.


Good post the offensive players are all blasting off, not a peep so far from the D.

DB, Belichek embarrased and exposed Sparano so devastingly that Sparano won't know what happened for another 5 years. If he had anything ticking between his ears he would have realized he is in way over his head and resigned.

0x80, our situations mirror each other. LOL I called him blind, told him to get glasses & take a reading comprehension course...among other expletives. I feel vindicated in the fact that it's not just me. Enjoy your travels!

DC, right back at you man!

i wasn't accusing you or anyone, just wanted to be on the record because it seems like a lot of people are asking for acocuntability from other bloggers today.

I don't hate Sparano but like Cote says - if you can upgrade anything - you should do it - do stride to be ok - stride to be great. Sparano has faults and positives but I don't think anyone thinks he can be the one to lead us to be great unless he is flanked with top co-ordinators with autonomy and a GM pinging players off the draft boards and free agency with a high success rate.

Keeping Ireland would be a complete gross error in competence.


Great that some of us actually got to see and experience what an actual championship Dolphin team and organization looked like. Our fans from loser era havent.

Biggest problem with loser era fans is that theyve become so programmed to losers its now embedded deep within thier subconscious entity. They havent a clue thier subconscious minds are writing an over riding program becuase it has accepted and expects losing! LOL...............

If by a lot of people you mean yourself and the boobs, I can live with that Cuban MENACE

Why you trying to call me anyway Booby? You want me to bend you over?

Fist pumper or No fist pumper, Cant decide, I feel like Marc/Marcia deciding on "If I should go with a strapless dress or if i should go with a strap dress.... Decisions. Decisions...

Let's hope Sparano has a DB's mentallity. We can only hope he can shake off what real coaches do to inferior ones. Beat the piss out of em 38-7. LOL

AGREED. IRELAND is the BIGGEST problem this team has by far.

I just listed our bang up, superstar roster...

Joe Schmoe could no doubt have done better.

Hey 0X80,

I know it wont register with you but some of us have jobs to attend to. I'm not at your beckon call. Maybe you call me stupid again.

Why are we talking about the last TWO seasons? Why aren't we talking about the last THREE seasons? What I saw the first season was a team that won the close games. Of course you won't give any credit to Sparano for that. What I saw last season was a team with a lousy defence and who's starting quarterback from the year before went down in the third game. So it was throw the rookie to the wolves with a mediocre defence. Not great results! This year, greatly improved defence and a very vanilla offence, with lots of missing people. That's what has to be changed this offseason. You start with the OC and change a number of the players. You and I and others disagree on the coach. I still think he's very competent and with the righ OC and players involved this is a winning team. Mark said it best, that Sparano is a guy who relies heavily on his co-ordinators. You and I will disagree on this.....players win games and not coaches! We don't have the players on offence. Would you like to argue that point?

0 x 80 Go back a couple blogs and read what Armando said about Sporano. Called him a young Bill Cowher. Sporano has taken a team that was 16-32 the three years before him and has a 25-23 record, with an AFC East Championship. He is a level headed coach who saw a bad defense and made the changes necessary to turn it around.

I think ricky's comments were the icing on the cake for me....Ricky is usually reserved and nonchalant about everything.....for him to blast sporano like that means that he has indeed lost the team.....I think Ross has to make that change whether he wanted to or not.

Glad Ireland is staying

Got to get back to work....fight to your heart content!

Cuban, it's more like whether I should bang your dead mother or your sister...

DB, its called being content with mediocrity, or being content with hoping endlessly that the next year will be better. I suppose a pilot can miss the runway once, in really bad weather, but twice? well then time to get a new pilot and not say well he is getting new glasses soon and or it was the co-pilots fault.

Beck and Call?

Give Cowher what he needs to make us a winner, we could use a "jerk a knot in your tush" type of coach....Harbaugh is a great college coach, no more Saban experiments please.....

Dear Joe Schmuck--

I hope you can forgive me for (God forbid)having to step away from the computer for awhile to actually do a few things. I wasn't aware that I needed your permission to do so and, unfortunately, I'm not able to plant my ass in front of a keyboard all day long to answer your VERY important questions.

That said, if you had the reading comprehension of a squirrel you would have ALREADY noted that I largely AGREED with your opinion that people deserve a second chance. Furthermore, I have no dispute whatsoever with the fact that many coaches have done better the second time around.

All I asked about Nolan was what about his record as the Niners HC would lead someone to believe he'd be better at it in Miami. It's a valid question that doesn't belittle his abilities in the slightest.

As for the qualities Sparano had when hired, agreed it was largely a result of his connections with the incoming brain trust. Is that even a debatable point?

In the future, I'll make sure to give you a 20 minute heads-up if I won't be spending all afternoon with you in the hopes you don;t find someone actually having a life and not responding to you immediately an act of "cowardice."

Ross/Ireland meeting

(Ross) I've spent a lot of money on the o-line, what happened?

(Ireland) it was Tony's fault

(Ross) Yes, we'll talking to Tony about that.
So Jeff, what do you have to say about draft and FA failures?

(Ireland) Oh, those? Well, that was all Bills decisions. I didn't have anything to do with those.

(Ross) I see. Tell me how we don't have a competant QB?

(Ireland) I tried to tell Bill but he wouldn't listen.

(Ross) I think I'm beginning to see the picture. So, what have you done exactlly?

(Ireland) My car wouldn't start. My suit didn't come back from the cleaners.There was a terrible storm...a flood, no a hurricane. Please don't fire me. For the love of God, it wasn't my fault.

good post on cuban marc .


You're wasting your breath. You're fighting a losing battle. It's not us, its YEARS of frustration.

DB, for your information I'm 43 years old. I remember the glory days, I also remember the Marino years. It has NOTHING to do with a LOSING mentality. I would argue that changing things up every few years is what has caused us to lose as much as we have. I've said it a million times, the model franchises, the Steelers, Colts, Eagles, don't change things up as often as we have. One blogger on here today mentioned that they call for Andy Reid's head at the end of every season. The dfference is that the owner knows he's got a good man running the show and he takes them to the playoffs consistently. STABILITY boys....there is NONE here in Miami.

Marc,If it's my Mom bring some type of Deodorant, she's been dead for 7 years..., Not for her smell, but for yours, Respect the dead please......

Armando also forgot to mention Harbaughs ties to Ireland with the Bears.

Before anyone is swindled by the 2008 talk, all you need to know about 2008 was:
1. easiest NFL schedule
2. lucky to have Pennington fall out of the sky
3. lucky to have Brady out for the year.

Miami should have been in 2008 what you see now. SH*T With more talent, at least that's what we've been told & a tougher schedule, we SUCK. PERIOD.

Ireland, at best has been subpar in 3 years. Who is getting blamed for lack of talent on offense? Sparano should. He said the o-line was his pet project. It's been the worst area on this team for 3 years.

Failed offensive draft picks, White, Turner, Murphy, Thomas, Gardner, etc.

They have tried to bring in talent every single year on offense & hardly ANY of them have panned out.

FishFan13....Saban had NO backing when he came into the NFL.
Harbaugh has his father and brother who are well connected in this league.

I see no problems giving Harbaugh a chance to light up the scoreboard....Lord knows we have been impotent on offense for awhile.

Former QB's tend to lean towards big plays downfield, as was evident in last nights Orange Bowl.

HIRE HARBAUGH...you've got this fans support!

Anyone else?

Dayum Dr. Roberts. Settle down, for the love of Pete. LOL I wasn ahrdly serious with you earlier. Touchy touchy LOL

cuban is a dirt bag

Right, Joe...you're calling people who aren't even around to respond "cowards" and I'm not supposed to reply to that??

Perhaps if I do the same you'll enjoy it as well.

Dr. Roberts,

Don't worry about him.....he tried pulling that crap with me yesterday. He's just a disgruntled Dolphin fan. Just ignore him, he's not worth the effort. Give him time and he'll alienate everyone on here and have no one to talk to.

Craig M.... Pay attention. You accused me of calling you stupid when I never did. I explained that to you in the last post and you are still insisting I called you stupid, I didn't. I called Sparano stupid. Go back and read it if you like.

You still have made no argument whatsoever for Sparano. Ok, lets go back three seasons - easiest schedule possible after 1-15, no Tom Brady, and a healthy Pennington runner up to the MVP at QB. It had NOTHING to do with Sparano. Notice without a healthy Pennington we've gone down hill steadily. Are you not even embarassed at our 1-7 home record? Belicheks total dominance over our team with his backups? Is it not obvious the players have lost faith in Sparano?

Please remember, I never called you stupid.

Please remember, I never called you stupid.

Please remember, I never called you stupid.

cuban is a dirt bag

Posted by: Denny | January 04, 2011 at 02:25 PM

ALoco, This is not like you......

Dear Mr. Salguero

I have never been a X's and O's kind of guy....more of a rolling paper and bong(bubble bubble bubble) kinda guy.

With that said, ummmm errr ....sorry forgot my point.

anyone else hungry....oh yeah now I remember, I'm looking to upgrade my hemp garden and now that Ricky Williams is no longer a Dolphin I'm wondering how Ricky would feel about a position in quality control, pay isn't much but the benefits are totally awesome.

Soiled :)

Season One:

What I saw in season one was a Dolphin team that benifited from possibly the softest schedule in the entire league. No question, the afc DIVISION CHAMPS were fully exposed by the WILDCARD Ravens. In Miami, I might add.

Season Two:

We allowed 2 db's to walk and signed GERBRIL WILSON. Pass defense was nearly a league worst! Paqualoni takes the fall. We also paid the price for signing two KNOWN INJURY PRONE olinemen. Fell completely apart at season's end.

Season Three:

Went into season 3 with pedestrian speed on offense, scrapped the previous interior oline, and still again the obvious need to upgrade the TE position went unaddressed. We asked jugheaded Henne to run this.

The GM is tied to this train wreck as much as anyone else. Still I read reports Ross is r
trying to force feed Ireland on potential HC candidates. UNFREAKING BELIEVEBLE!


Ok, what am I doing wrong? Everyone here is fighting with each other, and no one's fighting with me! What the h*ll! Am I THAT insignificant that I can't get a "EFFE U" from ANYONE? Geez.

Ok, I think Rex Ryan is the best coach in the NFL and Henne is a better QB than Peyton.


Classic Soiled,,,, LMAO

bobbyd, hate to break it to you, Armando knows nothing and changes his mind faster than a woman in a shoe store LOL. Armando has one goal, and one goal only, blog hits...and we are the suckers, all of us, for contributing.


What you said to me is bringing Sparano back again is just plain stupid. How it that calling Sparano stupid?

By the way, someone this morning posted Henning retiring is an internal matter and wouldn't get announced.

Why not? If the guy left the team and retired, there's a coaching spot open (a big one). That SHOULD get announced. Now, maybe he's waiting to see what happens to Sparano (so they can all leave together holding hands), but if/WHEN Henning checks out, MANDO, that BETTER be front-page news. Ticker-tape parade type news. Mardi Gras type news. With balloons and floats and extra dentures if there's cake.

Craig M,

Read Schmoe @ 2:22
Read DB @ 2:28

Xpensive Wino can you say Cameron Wake?

Okay, Here you go DC, Your a "FINATIC", This is a crime to any NFL team, Your penalty is for another 10 years without a playoff win..... Hows that...

I'm out guys....don't have the energy or desire to try and reason with you. Your mind is made up, good for you. We see things differently.


Why is there all this hate in here? We are all Dolphins. One love! (except for Home but since he's ALoco's life partner now and I love ALoco - I at least have to respect Home)

Listen, there is more than one way to skin a cat and have it work. We can re-tool, we can hire any one of a million head coaches. All can work - none can work - we don;t knwo - so no point calling anyone out here becuase in truth -nobody has answers.

Except maybe marc - he got a jewsih girl to do THAT!

Craig M,

Now I say you are stupid! 0x80 is talking to you and youre responding to me. LOL

Craig M.... Pay attention. You accused me of calling you stupid when I never did. I explained that to you in the last post and you are still insisting I called you stupid, I didn't. I called Sparano stupid. Go back and read it if you like.

You still have made no argument whatsoever for Sparano. Ok, lets go back three seasons - easiest schedule possible after 1-15, no Tom Brady, and a healthy Pennington runner up to the MVP at QB. It had NOTHING to do with Sparano. Notice without a healthy Pennington we've gone down hill steadily. Are you not even embarassed at our 1-7 home record? Belicheks total dominance over our team with his backups? Is it not obvious the players have lost faith in Sparano?

Please remember, I never called you stupid.

Please remember, I never called you stupid.

Please remember, I never called you stupid.

Posted by: 0x80 | January 04, 2011 at 02:28 PM

Well if keeping Nolan is a priority(which I cant blame) then Gruden seems to be the perfect fit being the offensive coach.
GM??? Ireland prob doesent fit philosophy of Gruden being a Henning lover
Gruden at least would be all behind getting a quality qb , but who would that be
Newton( prob wont be thr)
Mallet( taller chad henne)
Ponder(still pondering)
Kolb(int machine ,3 last wk vs Dal andf coulda been 6)
V Young(cant throw)
Vick????? We can only pray that the Eagles loose by 40 to have a shot.

Harbaugh as an OC would be a good move. Unfortunately, I think the hype around him is too strong for that - I think he ends up at Michigan or Denver as HC. Speaking of Denver, Is Josh McDaniels available as an OC?

If Cowher wants to come give him whatever he wants. He is an upgrade over Sparano plain and simple. Anyone else I think gets you the same result, so keep Sparano for consistency and hire a good OC and, for Christ's sake, get a QB!!! I agree that we are 1 good quarterback away from an 11 win season again. Pennington proved it.

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