The Miami Dolphins have crept into their bye week following another loss, this time to the San Diego Chargers. The bye in Week 5, followed by a Monday night game, means Miami doesn't take the field again for 14 days. That's 14 days to figure out what's wrong with the 2011 Dolphins - before they fall into a repeat of the 2007 1-15 squad.
And, if owner Stephen Ross is going to fire head coach Tony Sparano, today is the day to do it.
Today let's the team have the maximum amount of time to settle in with a new coach. Now will prevent the team from starting to prepare for the New York Jets in two weeks, in a system they may not be using by game time.
Today is the day.
This team has lost its way, and Sparano does not seem to be able to fix that. Sparano has the ability to coach at the NFL level. He can get results. But, it seems like, in Miami, it's just not going to work. Sometimes a coach just loses the ability to get through to his players. It happened this season with the Boston Red Sox, as manager Terry Francona lost the team. It means a change has to happen.
The Dolphins seems to be at that point.
Tony Sparano is not being effective anymore. He's lost the ability to affect change on the team. He's being ignored. Over the last week, linebacker Jason Taylor, running back Daniel Thomas, and safety Yeremiah Bell all came out and said that the team's practice habits were killing their chances at wins. While some of that may be the new, more restrictive practice routine under the CBA, you don't hear the same thing coming out of other franchises.
Tony Sparano has lost the team.
With the canceling of today's scheduled press conferences, the speculation has ramped up that, maybe, just maybe, the move is being made.
However, it seems like Ross has no intention of firing Sparano this week. If that's true, he should make it through at least the Denver Broncos game in Week 7. But, I would expect a move to be made in the Weeks 11-13 range, giving Miami a chance to start the coaching search ahead of most other teams, but not completely quitting on the season in October.
Whatever happens, the Dolphins are in trouble the rest of the year. They aren't responding to Sparano, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who is the top choice to serve as the "interim" coach, has struggled with the defense this year, and second choice Todd Bowles, has no head coaching experience. The options for a change aren't great in South Beach right now.
The team needs to make a choice, and either confirm Sparano will remain the coach for the foreseeable future, or rip the band-aid off, make the move, and fire Sparano.