Tag:Tony Sparano
Posted on: December 29, 2010 10:31 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2010 12:44 am

Report: Parcells convinces Ross to keep Sparano

Posted by Andy Benoit
T. Sparano (US Presswire)
Tony Sparano has been a surprise member of the NFL’s row of late-season hot seats the past several weeks. The Dolphins are a modestly-respectable 7-8, but owner Stephen Ross, who is intent on making a splash in the entertainment world of South Beach, is not pleased with the team’s 1-7 record at home.

Sparano was brought to Miami as a Bill Parcells guy. Now, according to Michael Lombardi of NFL Network, he’ll remain in Miami because of the Big Tuna. Lombardi says Parcells, who stepped down from his post as the Dolphins’ football czar prior to the season, has convinced Ross to stick with Sparano.

Sparano was Parcells’ offensive line coach in Dallas. He led a 1-15 Dolphins team to an 11-5 record and AFC East division title in his ’08 debut season as the head coach.

Just because Sparano is staying doesn't necessarily mean the Dolphins won't be bringing in someone with head coaching experience. Lombardi also said, according to the Miami Herald, that the offensive coordinator vacancy (remember, Dan Henning is set to retire) could be filled by either Josh McDaniels or, if he’s available, Gary Kubiak.

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Posted on: December 27, 2010 1:57 pm

What do coaching changes say about lockout?

Posted by Andy Benoit

All season long we’ve been hearing about how teams may be reluctant to make a head coaching change given the uncertainty of the Collective Bargaining negotiations. Owners don’t like the idea of a new staff coming aboard and possibly having to wait until late summer to start working with players.J. Richardson (US Presswire)

However, heading into Week 17, we’ve already seen four head coaches canned (Wade Phillips in Dallas, Brad Childress in Minnesota, Josh McDaniels in Denver and Mike Singletary in San Francisco).

There is guaranteed to be at least one other head coaching vacancy after the season, as John Fox’s contract in Carolina expires next week. Marvin Lewis’ deal in Cincinnati also runs out. Many believe that Gary Kubiak will be fired in Houston. And there are questions about the futures of Jeff Fisher in Tennessee, Tony Sparano in Miami, Eric Mangini in Cleveland and Tom Coughlin in New York. It’s possible that 10 teams could be in the market for a new head coach after this season.

There are two ways to look at this as it pertains to the labor negotiations – and both are uplifting. One: the owners really don’t believe that a lockout is on the horizon. Though neither the league nor players would admit it, we got a hint of this sentiment a few weeks ago when the owners extended the deadline for the NFLPA to file a collusion claim against them. The other way to look at it is that if there is a lockout and roughly a third of the league’s owners are bringing in a new coaching staff in 2011, that could subtly influence the owners to get a deal done quicker. Two of the owners who could be searching for head coaches – Jerry Jones and Jerry Richardson – are major power brokers.

Of course, it’s possible that we all misread the significance of a coaching change during a lockout to begin with. Perhaps owners are simply willing to take their lumps in 2011. But confusion with your head coaching situation is a significant lump to take. It’s expensive, chaotic and, if everything is shut down anyway, unnecessary. Problem is, all it takes is one team to decide to endure it, and all the others will follow suit. After all, if one team does it, that team would have first run at all the available head coaching candidates.

Something else to keep in mind: if there is a lockout, it won’t come until March. Unless we’re talking about the Raiders, it’s inconceivable that a team would not fill a head coaching vacancy before then. So teams can still implement their new staffs, those new staffs just might not be able to implement their new systems. Still, those limits would all be planned for ahead of time.

The bottom line is, labor peace or labor war, it’s going to be a busy early offseason as usual for the NFL.

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Posted on: December 25, 2010 4:39 pm

For the gambler in you

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

In celebration of Christmas (and for those of us have to work and, therefore, get by on leftover Chinese food), it’s a special edition of “For the gambler in you.” Actually, this edition is no different than any other edition. But this one happens to take place on Christmas, so there you go.

On to my favorite prop bets of the week:

Donovan McNabb - What will his role be for game 1 of the 2011 NFL regular season?

Starting QB for the Redskins 7/1

Starting QB for the Vikings 5/2

Starting QB for the Cardinals 4/1

Starting QB for the 49ers 15/2

Starting QB for any other NFL team 3/2

Backup QB for any NFL team 7/2

Not on an NFL roster 15/1

He’s going to be a starter somewhere, right? Even if it isn’t in Arizona or Minnesota, he’s going to be the No. 1 guy. You’d think so, anyway. I’m not sure it’ll be in Minnesota, so I’d go with “any other NFL team.”

Chad Ochocinco – Will he be a member of the Bengals for game 1 of the 2011 NFL regular season?

Yes -115

No -115

Nope. Same goes for Marvin Lewis and Terrell Owens.

Will Norv Turner be the coach of the Chargers for game 1 of the 2011 season if the Chargers do not make the playoffs this season?

Yes Even

No -140

I don’t see how.

If the 49ers make the playoffs will Mike Singletary be the coach of the 49ers for game 1 of the 2011 NFL regular season?

Yes -200

No +150

I don’t see how.

Will Tony Sparano be the head coach of the Dolphins for game 1 of the 2011 NFL regular season?

Yes +170
No  -250

I don’t see why not.

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Posted on: December 24, 2010 11:14 am

Week 16 NFL Podcast Preview

Posted by Will Brinson

It's a holiday bonanza of a podcast today, as Andy and Will break down every game on the weekend schedule, handle Rex Ryan's foot fetish and also welcome special guest Greg Cosell of "NFL Matchup" to talk about some of the bigger issues in the league today (MVP candidates, emerging trends, underrated coaches and possible Pro Bowl snubs).

Afterward, they discuss whether they'd rather have David Garrard or Donovan McNabb long-term, whether Ray Lewis will let Peyton Hillis go off again, why Tony Sparano's on the hot seat, what the Seahawks will do for a quarterback and which teams out of the Giants, Packers and Colts will keep their playoff hopes alive.

All those issues handled (plus, much, much more) below -- just hit the play button below and don't forget to Subscribe via iTunes .

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download .
Posted on: December 24, 2010 10:00 am
Edited on: December 24, 2010 4:08 pm

You best not mess with Gunther Cunningham

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Even though he’s 64 years old, don’t think that Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham won’t try to take out Dolphins RB Ricky Williams if Cunningham even sniffs the hint of an illegal crackback block from Williams.

"All I can say to Ricky Williams – I want him to know this – if he hits one of our DBs in the back on a crack block, then I'm coming on the field," Cunningham said, according to the Detroit Free Press. "I mean, he's had a couple of knockouts, but they've been nonlegal. I'll just put it as that."

Apparently, Detroit’s coaching staff has told its players this week to be on the lookout for those blind-sided blocks that go across the flow of a play known as crackbacks.

"Just make sure we show up fast on the run and stuff and keep our head on a swivel," Lions safety Amari Spievey said. "But most importantly, just show up fast in the run, so if they do block and if it's going to be in the back, hopefully, the refs will call it."

For his part, Miami coach Tony Sparano said he had no idea what Cunningham was talking about.

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Posted on: December 22, 2010 10:57 am

Coaching changes on the horizon in Miami?

Posted by Andy Benoit

There have been whispers about Tony Sparano’s job security in Miami. With all due respect…doesn’t that seem insane? This is the same Tony Sparano who took over a 1-15 club and immediately went 11-5 en route to a division title in 2008.

Yes, Sparano’s Dolphins are just 7-7. And thanks in part to a rash of injuries, they finished 7-9 a year ago. But, given the somewhat surprising inconsistency of quarterback Chad Henne, you could arguT. Sparano (US Presswire)e that the Dolphins have 7-7 type talent. They certainly don’t have the resources of the Patriots or Jets.

However, owner Stephen Ross has not publicly endorsed his head coach, leading many in South Florida to believe that Sparano could be headed out. Ross has put a great deal of focus on bringing star power to the organization – we’ve all seen the celebrity minority owners of the Dolphins walking down the orange carpet lined by paparazzi before primetime home games. Perhaps Ross thinks he can get a headline-grabbing head coach like Jon Gruden or, more likely, Bill Cowher.

Sparano isn’t the only name being whispered about in Miami. With the Dolphins ranking 22nd in total offense this season, many believe that offensive coordinator Dan Henning’s time has passed. Henning, a longtime Bill Parcells confidant, joined the Fins as part of the Big Tuna regime change three years ago (Sparano, of course, was part of that regime change, as well).

There will be no need to fire Henning, however; multiple sources have said the 68-year-old plans to retire after the season. (To Dolphins brass, this must be like finding out that the girlfriend you haven’t had the guts to dump is taking a new job two time zones away.)

This, according to Jeff Darlington of the Miami Herald, is why Sparano has had no problem saying things like, “I think that Dan Henning for Tony Sparano has been tremendous, and I think that the guy has done a wonderful job here in my time here. I look at the entire body of work.''

Keep in mind, it’s entirely possible that Sparano’s praise for Henning is genuine. Henning is the same guy who coordinated a Dolphins offense that, though short in playmakers, managed to finish 12th in total yards in 2008. Everyone lauded him for his making due with the innovative wildcat two years ago.

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Posted on: December 19, 2010 12:27 pm

Cowher could be looking at a trio of teams

Bill Cowher apparently is looking at three teams (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If former Steelers coach Bill Cowher wants to return to the sidelines, the Giants, the Dolphins and the Texans are the clubs he’d like to take over.

That’s according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, via Pro Football Talk.

Two of those clubs raise an interesting quandary. New York is still in the playoff hunt, so it seems rather silly to think that Tom Coughlin would be in danger of getting fired. Miami hasn’t had a fabulous season, but Tony Sparano has only been on board for three seasons, and he hadn’t appeared to be on any hot-seat list (yet, you have to wonder if the prospect of getting Cowher would inch Sparano toward the unemployment line).

The Texans move would actually make sense. If the Texans don’t make the postseason – and they most likely won’t – coach Gary Kubiak probably should be relieved of his job.

With plenty of firepower on offense (QB Matt Schaub, WR Andre Johnson and RB Arian Foster) and with Cowher’s background as a tenacious defensive coach, the hiring of Cowher seemingly would be a very good move for an organization that still has never made the playoffs.

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Posted on: December 8, 2010 1:37 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 1:53 pm

Dey Took Er Jobs: It's time for Tavaris Jackson

Posted by Will Brinson

Brad Childress' departure from the Minnesota Vikings organization certainly doesn't mean that Wednesdays aren't FavreDays still -- and so it's now Leslie Frazier handling the press conference questions of reporters while every network in the world livestreams his answers regardless of what else in the world is happening.

Frazier, who's immensely more enjoyable to listen to for 20 minutes than Chilly, said that there hasn't been a decision made on whether Brett Favre will start Sunday. In fact, he said that a decision probably won't come until Sunday, as the Vikings try to figure out if No. 4 can play. He also said that Favre won't start just to keep his streak alive.

"No, I don't think we approach it that way," Frazier said. "Either he can go or he can't go. And when he goes in there, we're of the expectation that he can play for four quarters. That would be the plan. So we wouldn't go into it, get a start, get a couple reps and get out, no."

So, even though Favre hasn't thrown a ball this week and even though he can't lift his arm very far and even though the Vikings offense went ballistic on the Bills once Tavaris Jackson entered the game on Sunday, Favre still gives Minnesota the "best chance to win." Presumably.

But does he?

The upside of Tavaris is that he's extremely mobile, he has a cannon arm and he's absolutely fresh right now. The downside of Tavaris is that he's inexperienced and he frequently makes terrible, inexcusable mistakes.

This differentiates him from Favre in that, um, he's not experienced. Oh, and that he won't be publicly upset if he can't start his 299th consecutive game.

That is to say, if the Vikings were playing to win, they would start Tavaris over Favre. And, actually, if they're playing to make sure that Favre doesn't get literally killed on Sunday, they'll start Tavaris -- the Giants pass rush isn't just formidable, it's terrifying, and they're going to get their hands on the Vikings quarterback, whoever it is.

If it's someone who's mobile instead of someone who's got unbelievable genes and an Iron Man body gripping his extremities by strings -- not to mention a busted foot and/or feet and/or ankles -- they'll stand a better chance of succeeding against a scary defense.

Look, some of Tavaris' success on Sunday came from two things: having Adrian Peterson and having Sidney Rice. Because they played the Bills, Peterson was able to soften up the defense and make Jackson's job easier. And because Rice is as stud, some of the throws Jackson made went from jump-balls to big gains.

But, hey, that's not so different from Favre being under center anyway.

So, this Cardinals quarterback situation is just a total nightmare isn't it? It's terrible for the fans and it's probably worse for Ken Wisenhunt, who absolutely knows that there's nothing he can do in order to improve his team's chances of winning over the next couple of weeks -- either he starts raw rookie John Skelton, or he keeps throwing Derek Anderson to the wolves.

There's a sound argument to be made from the perspective of "Skelton CAN'T be worse than Anderson -- just play him!" But there's also a sound argument to be made for the other side, as well. Because, you know, if you start Skelton and he gets hurt or stinks the joint up, you're wasting money on Anderson on the bench and getting the same result, with the possibility of hurting Skelton's development long term.

In hindsight, the team shouldn't have been so cheap that they weren't willing to pay Marc Bulger as well (we learned recently that Whiz and the Cards wanted to go after Bulger but didn't want to wait for the Rams to release him) and, instead, ended up with two rookies backing up their de facto starter in Anderson.

The moral of the story? You should always sneak into Kurt Warner's and do your best God voice to convince him to rejoin the team regardless of how morally corrupt that is make sure you have reasonably viable options at quarterback.

The notion of a "starting running back" is a little outdated in this two-back world we live in, but it still prominently exists. Look no further than the Giants situation where Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs have flopped several times as the "starter." Jacobs, who regained the role recently, will continue to start "at this point," according to Tom Coughlin.

The bottom line is that Coughlin's going to keep going with the hot hand, he's going to pound both of these guys with his wide receiver corps banged up, and he'll use the "starter" thing as motivation for both Bradshaw and Jacobs.

And that, right there, is something that deserves a ton of praise -- Coughlin hasn't been scared to make change and motivate these guys in 2010, and that's why the Giants, instead of continually skidding after losses to Philadelphia and Dallas, are tied with the Eagles for the NFC East lead.


There's been some clamoring for Tim Tebow in Denver. After all, Josh McDaniels is gone and let's see what we've got, people! Unleash the Tebow!!! (Sorry, got excited there for a second.) This is silly.

Eric Studesville needs to win and he needs to win quickly and he needs to do it in a fashion that shows he can win next year as well (with Kyle Orton and his motley crue of wideouts), if he hopes to have a shot at the Broncos gig in 2011. It seems unlikely that he gets that job anyway, but not less likely than Tebow blossoming into a starting NFL quarterback over the next three weeks. So: upside is you have a guy who's not as good as Orton (yet). Downside: Studesville kills any chance of being a candidate in Denver and simultaneously sinks Tebow's trade value even further for next year.

Pants on Fire! (You see, because we examine hot seats)

John Fox: He's gone. His house, according to people I talked to recently, has been on the market for months. The only question is whether or not Frazier and Jason Garrett in Dallas can lose their jobs in the next three weeks to present attractive openings for a new gig.

Mike Singletary: MUnless the Niners rip off a miracle run, he's toast. And he clearly knows that. Why else would he make the flip-flopping of Troy Smith and Alex Smith "week-to-week"?

Jeff Fisher: Seems kind of crazy, but at this point, if you're Fisher, why would you stay? Your crazy old boss clearly prefers a guy like Vince Young to you (the guy who's been there, winning, for 17 years!) and walking out now, even with the Titans struggling mightily, would mean an easy opportunity to land another head coaching job.

Norv Turner: Once upon about two weeks ago, Turner might have had a shot at running the table and making an argument for COY award. Instead, the Chargers came out completely flat against Oakland, at home, as 13.5-point favorites. If the same thing happens (only with a 7.5 line) against KC, Norv better watch out.

Marvin Lewis: He's hanging out in John Fox's billiards room, obviously.

Gary Kubiak: Primetime struggles against Baltimore (at home, on Monday night) could make things awkward for Kubes. Fortunately, that Denver job's open, so he could potentially "leave" Houston for a "homecoming" and just work something out with Texans ownership where they don't fire him. (And then hire Fisher! The drama! The hatred! DO IT!)

Tony Sparano: There are so many coaches getting canned or sitting squarely on the heater that Sparano gets overlooked, but following up a blowout of Oakland with a terrible loss to Cleveland means he has to beat Buffalo and Detroit at home to close out the season at 8-8, as the Fins travel to the Jets and the Pats as well in the next four weeks. Losing one of those has the makings of a canning.

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