Miami Dolphin Coaching Staff: Lights, Cameras... ACTION!
Before continuing with pre-season analysis of the defending AFC East Champions, let's pause, in the middle of our progress, shall we?... and run the team's behind the scenes credits early like a movie producer anxious to update his IMDB page.
Let me tell you, I don't like it one bit when cable channels condense their end credits in with some advertisement for you to come back in thirty minutes and waste more precious time watching some fifteen-year old episode of a t.v. show they bought off the syndication market for advertising barter.
I think the guys pioneering the Dolphins deserve director-worthy name notoriety, so I'm interrupting my pre-season round-up to run these credits before the last act. Hit the lights, proverbial projector man!
... The year started with a pretty big loss for the Dolphins, and I'm not referring to the Wild Card game (although that would certainly qualify, too). Team visionary, Wayne Huizenga, and Stephen M. Ross were 50-50 co-owners of the team up until January 20th, 2009, the day Barack Obama was sworn in as President.
Huizenga stated, last year, that if Obama wins, he's selling his share of the team to avoid paying the increased corporate taxes he speculated from the Democrat.
People called Wayne a bluff, but, guess what day he chose to sell 45% of his interests? Whether you agree with his politics or not, Wayne has is integrity (but, today, only 5% ownership of the team). The rest belongs to New York real estate guru; the aforementioned, Stephen Ross.
The man with the personnel plan is General Manager, Jeff Ireland. He's worked scouting with the Dolphins, as well as the Chiefs and Cowboys over the course of his fifteen years in professional football.
Ireland was first hired by the Fins in 2005, to take over as V.P. of Scouting after impressing the league by helping the Cowboys draft Roy Williams, Terrence Newman and Jason Witten over consecutive drafts (2002-'03) while serving as a national scout for them.
His ascent to such a regal position despite a limited résumé in duration, is a testament to the impression Ireland made on power-owner, Jerry Jones, himself, and one other "big" guy we'll mention in a few paragraphs.
Our head coach is, of course, Tony Sparano. Now, there are a lot of connections to be made here with regard to work history for these producers of the Sunday matinée at Pro Player. Take the 'Six Degree of Separation' ideology and divide it by itself.
Sparano was the Cowboys' assistant coach and offensive lines coach when Ireland was serving as their scout. Defensive coordinator, Paul Pasqualoni, most known for being head coach to the likes of Donovan McNabb and Marvin Harrison at Syracuse, was hired as the Cowboys tight ends coach before Ireland left for Miami.
Who says connections don't matter? This scenario pit Pasqualoni in position to train the Pro Bowl tight end (Witten) that Ireland had recently drafted out of Tennessee.
Under Pasqualoni is former Cowboys' defensive lines, and tackles coach, now DL coach for the Dolphins, Kacy Rodgers.
Linebackers coach, George Edwards, the man who so crafted Channing Crowder's play-making ability after two disappointing years to start his career, to the point where Crowder admitted last month to signing a smaller contract with Miami than he would've received somewhere else just to stay in Edwards' and Pasqualoni's system, is also known for coaching the vaunted Cowboys D-line under Barry Switzer.
Whew. Let's just run on (sentence) to the next topic, shall we?
Of course, the axion connecting these superhuman chromosomes is the afore-referenced V.P. of Football Operations in Miami, Bill Parcells.
Being the Dallas head coach from '03-'07, the grandest tuna of them all, also responsible for grooming Bill Belichick since 1979, when the latter was an assistant to Parcells' defensive coordinator position with the G-Men, is a known "homer", who enjoys working with people he's trusted in the past.
Case in point is Bill Belichick, whose first five NFL positions came as either hirings or promotions under Parcells' reign.
So, let's summarize for a minute...
Nobody wants to find dolphin in their tuna, right? But, the Tuna didn't want to see any Dolphins when he came to Miami, so he brought in Cowboys instead, right!?
Wait a minute... and, while I'm freaking, the helmet that little angry dolphin is wearing on the team helmets has ear holes even though dolphins' ears are actually under their skin, and they pick up sound waves when they open their lower jaw! Ahh.
Whew. Alright, people, let's settle ourselves and move on to the offense.
You know, I've heard a lot of people credit the resurrection of the wildcat formation (traditionally, running back lines up as quarterback in the shotgun formation, with another running back, or a wide receiver, or simply two receivers, alongside him) to Tony Sparano and/or quarterbacks coach, David Lee.
The offensive coordinator, in this play calling instance, is actually the man to direct most of the gratitude. Dan Henning developed this modernized version while serving as offensive coordinator with the Panthers ('02-'06), and he actually stressed discontent over DeAngelo Williams' inability to conquer the uniqueness of the play.
Hence, Steve Smith took the snaps in his stead.
Oddly, because both of these coaches were already connected to the Cowboys in our "one degree of separation" operetta, David Lee also had experience with the Wildcat via his time in 2006 as Arkansas Razorbacks' offensive quality control coach. Small world.
And let us not conclude without noting the thirtieth coaching season for one tight ends coach, George DeLeone, whose efforts in converting Anthony Fasano from, predominantly, a blocker, into the team leader in touchdown receptions, is not hovering under the radar.
So few teams utilize the pro set nowadays (two tight ends and a flanker wide receiver) for fear of shortening the field and allowing the other team to blitz more effectively.
The job Lee and DeLeone have done to assimilate Pennington, Fasano and second tight end, David Martin, into a trio responsible for 900 yards last season, is remarkable, and absolutely pertinent to the team's ongoing success.
Not only that, but considering Pennington's reliance on the three-step drop and pass, the Dolphins successfully afforded what the Jets refused to settle for... a table-setting menagerie of conservative routes meant to merely compliment the running game.
Only last year did the Jets start deploying a two-tight end set by signing Bubba Franks to line up opposite Chris Baker. But, they had Favre, and dropped Pennington. I don't get it. A couple years earlier, they dropped Anthony Becht and overpaid to get an aging Lavernues Coles back. Whatever.
But, hey, you guys know this article was not meant to scrutinize the Jets. It was not about cowboys, helmets, or, even, tuna fish. This was about profiling the coaches... the brains behind the player's helmet; the men riding the horse; the pilots flying the plane. Hmm. Wait a minute.
Okay, well, you know what? Yeah, maybe I better just be quiet now, and end this once complimentary abridgment of credits before I divulge what I had for dinner.
Because if I do tell you what I had for dinner (tuna)... oh, if I tell you (tuna!), all hell will break loose, and this article will officially become, based on two paragraphs ago, a perfect linguistically antithetical anomaly, and, thus, a wormhole will open up in your room and swallow the very computer you're using right now, man. -breath-
... We now return you to the last act of your regularly scheduled movie (now, free of credits!)
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