Weekend Roundup: Talking Sparano, Pennington & more

We've entered the doldrums of the offseason. Now is the time that we will all really be suffering from our NFL withdrawal.

I'm glad to see my "Henne vs Sanchez" post did its job, generating some discussion all weekend. In fact, that post was the most viewed post on the site for the past seven days. So you could say that post did its job. But as we all know, the answer to that debate will only be known for sure years from now.

So let's see what else made headlines this past weekend.

How safe is Sparano's job?
Interesting piece written by Greg Stoda for the PBP on Sunday, analyzing the job security of each of the four major head coaches/managers in South Florida. Where does Tony Sparano fall on his "chopping-block" list? All the way at the bottom, as in the most secure of the four. Stoda writes:

Sparano roared into his job by compiling an 11-5 record in his first season as the Dolphins won the AFC East before losing in the first round of the playoffs. Some slippage was expected last season, but Miami's 7-9 record and too-often lackluster offense spawned renewal of many of the old doubts that have manifested themselves since the embers of the Don Shula era. Sparano is trying to succeed where Jimmy Johnson, Dave Wannstedt, Nick Saban and Cam Cameron failed. Wannstedt's tenure of 41⁄2 seasons is the longest of any of those four coaches. Sparano's task is monumental, but he is Dolphins czar Bill Parcells' guy.

In this day and age, job security is becoming more and more rare. In the sports world, the term "rare" would be an understatement. But I agree with the idea that Tony Sparano is probably safer than most NFL head coaches because of the circumstances around which he was hired.

But how soon before that "protection" wears off and Sparano becomes vulnerable?

We are in year three of this rebuilding process. When Bill Parcells, Jeff Ireland, and Tony Sparano came to town, they took over a 1-15 team. As we sit here now just two years removed their arrival and smack dab in the middle of Sparano's four year contract, it's impossible not to wonder about the future.

What does this team have to accomplish for Sparano to receive a contract extension before next offseason?

That's a key question because it's rare - almost unheard of - for a coach to go into the last year of his contract without an extension. Parcells, meanwhile, also has just two years left on his contract. He could also decide to walk away at any time and receive all of the money owed to him.

And we all know that the owner who hired Parcells, Ireland, and Sparano is no longer here. Though Stephen Ross has said and done all the right things, would his mind change in 2010 saw the Dolphins take a step back? Is there any chance that Sparano's job could be on the line?

CP loves this team
Oh Chad Pennington. From hated rival to unlikely savior to fallen hero to...backup quarterback, I suppose. CP's career has taken some interesting turns. Over the weekend, though, we learned a little bit about why Pennington felt so compelled to come back to Miami when he might have had an opportunity to battle for a starting job elsewhere. Here's what he told the Miami Herald:

"I felt like the grass isn't always greener on the other side. [Re-signing] just feels right. I feel I was brought here to be a part of something special, and I feel I needed one more year to help finish what we started in 2008. As you get older and have more years in this league, you start to value the people and coaches you work with, and that becomes more important to you."

Spoken like the classy individual he is. And maybe I'm crazy, but I just have this gut feeling that CP10 still has one hugely surprising magical moment left in his Dolphins' career.

As far as his rehab, CP says he is "pleasantly surprised" and plans on being ready to start football games should Chad Henne have to miss any time in 2010.

On a side note, Pennington also said that he has seen Pat White improve. He claims White has improved his accuracy and says White "is throwing better." We'll find out soon enough if there's any truth to that.

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