Prepare for Two More Years of Sparano

23 Jun

We’ve looked long and hard at ourselves in the mirror lately, reports from the NFL labor negotiations blaring on the television. We’ve sat in the middle of Starbucks, adding Boone’s Farm to our lattes and clicking through story after story about teams hanging onto their quarterbacks this offseason, whether for depth, or even out of spite. We’ve stood in rainstorms, shouting at the heavens while our neighbors understandably notified law enforcement. But we’ve slowly come to grips with it. The longer this lockout persists, the more likely it becomes that Tony Sparano will be around for the duration of the infamous extension he signed this winter.

This lockout has now zapped around fifty official practices. The best guess for free agency to start is July 19th, per SI’s Peter “Crazylegs” King. People, the preseason is scheduled to start on August 12th. The mad dash to keep the regular season in place is probably going to make for some sloppy football. But these blown snaps, missed timing patterns, false starts, will all count. The offseason madness could very well serve to give “The Bifecta” a little leeway if our offense remains sluggish.

More important than just the lack of preparation time for the season has been the insanity of the quarterback market. Holding the draft before free agency or player trades were allowed was a huge blow to teams hoping to add veteran arms.

Why on Earth would the Packers trade intriguing backup Matt Flynn before the trade deadline? They’d be sacrificing depth for a pick they can’t make ’til spring of 2012. What if Aaron Rodgers has concussion trouble again? How about in Denver? Tebow showed some “stuff”, no doubt. But Timmy also whiffed on half of his passes. It would make me jittery about sending Kyle “I Was Pretty Darned Good then Got Benched Anyway” Orton packing now for picks in next year’s draft. Cincy appears ready to make Carson Palmer sit until next year. And suppose Mike Vick gets knocked out for the year on one of his epic scrambles. Wouldn’t the Iggles look a bit foolish for sending Kolb away prematurely for a pick that won’t even be able to help ’til 2012/13?

That leaves very few options for quarterback help, especially ones that are clear upgrades. Perhaps we can snag someone from the old folks’ home in Bulger, Hasselbeck or McNabb. But have any of them played at a high level lately, aside for Matty’s eight quarters of fury in the playoffs? The lone remaining young arm is Vince Young, and his last completion was throwing his shoulder pads to a fan.

Yep, when I look long and hard at it, if we go into battle with Chad Henne under center, and he underwhelms again, Tony and Jeff will only be half-blamed. Too much went haywire this offseason. Too much that was beyond The Bifecta’s control. Yes, they could have drafted a guy, and history could prove them wrong, but the draft didn’t fall right, at least not to the liking of those in the War Room.

And the last reason we’ll feel Tony’s fist-pumps reverberating throughout Dolphin Nation for the next two seasons?Owner Stephen Ross’ pride. Stephen was clearly interested in moving on after Tony lost the team up in Foxboro, ending his second straight losing year. Ross was sufficiently shamed by every sportswriter and their sister after his semi-coaching search. His response? He circled the wagons. He doubled down on Sparano and Ireland. At first it felt like a very expensive apology. But we’re starting to think  that Ross will afford himself every opportunity to win that bet.

We don’t think it’s playoffs or bust for The Bifecta in 2011. We can easily see the Patsies, Jets, Ravens and Steelers all making the postseason again, which would leave us out in the cold.  But we think 7-9 or above (maybe even 6-10 if we play close in our losses), if we show more spark on offense, would be just enough to buy another year. We could see Ross give then one more offseason to solve the quarterback riddle. One more full offseason of normal practices and camps. One more influx of youth via draft.

And who knows? It seems like ages ago, but Tony has won this division before. There was a time where we weren’t masters of the three-and-out, and kings of the stalled drives. Our defense is top five. We’ve got a franchise left tackle and a strong receiving corps. We’ve made moves toward getting our ground game back to where it was. Perhaps time will prove that Ross made the smart bet.

GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @thebottlenose


5 Responses to “Prepare for Two More Years of Sparano”

  1. KAREN June 23, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    Ross made the right decison.

    • Dan Ewen June 24, 2011 at 7:25 pm #


      I agree, if he is not prepared to go after someone who has demonstrated championship-quality leadership (Cowher, Gruden).

      Thanks so much for your comment.

      The Bottlenose

  2. mark June 26, 2011 at 6:21 am #

    I think they have to have time to move on from what Parcells did. While he did put a system in place he has not gotten past basic upgrading of teams for 20 years. I think Sparano and Ireland are now trying to get their own coaches (younger and more innovative) and are using their own draft criteria which is more about mismatches then size. They do need a more more aware quarterback but with the right line Henne could suffice. He has to learn to put more air under his long throws and place the ball where only his player can get it. They will draft/trade a quarterback next year if they do not see the progress they want. We do need a top ten quarterback. Being ahead of the 4 teams mentioned in your article is tough and it is ot fun to watch your team lose the last 3 games of the season when you should be making the payoffs. There does need to be a little philosophy change form the head coach as well.

    • Dan Ewen June 26, 2011 at 8:31 am #

      It’s a tough division. Tony will hopefully fix the running game. It tanked last year. And that obviously puts added pressure on the quarterback.

      Daboll needs to make the most of this opportunity, and let’s hope his problems scoring points in Cleveland were more personnel related.

      In our opinion, Tony will have to start playing four down football sometimes. The coaches above us in the division are riverboat gamblers, and they understand that sometimes you have to take chances to keep drives going. We lost four games by a TD or less. Any one of those drives that ended in midfield punts, if we had instead gone for it on 4th and short, could have become the deciding scores in those games. Perhaps, knowing he was almost pink-slipped will give Tony a little more courage in some of those situations.

      Thanks for the comment, Mark. Stop by anytime.


  3. InFINcible July 5, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    If we get Henne 2009 we should be competitive. If we get Sparano with a pair, we should be even more competitive. You can put Henne’s numbers up against Sanchez and he more than holds his own. The difference? Sanchez’s coach believes in him, let’s him make mistakes, and most importantly the chance to redeem himself. Sanchez has more confidence than Henne because the ppl around him show confidence in him. Henne is a gunslinger by nature that has been turned into checkdown Chad afraid to make mistakes. We have the defense to overcome those mistakes,no risk no reward. Go FINS!

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