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Miami Dolphins 2009 Coaching Staff Preview

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Miami Dolphins 2009 Coaching Staff Preview
(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Tony Sparano enters his second season as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

After taking over in 2008, Sparano led the Dolphins to an AFC East Division Championship with an 11-5 record.

It was a remarkable turnaround for the Dolphins, which finished 1-15 in 2007.  Sparano became the first coach in NFL history to take a team to the playoffs after winning one game the previous year.

Sparano, 47, earned his first head coaching job after spending the previous nine seasons as an assistant in the NFL including five with the Dallas Cowboys.  In 2006, he was Dallas' primary play caller as offensive coordinator.  Dallas finished 9-7 that season and was ranked fifth in the NFL in total offense.

He was instrumental in the development of quarterback Tony Romo, a first-year starter in 2006 and was selected to the Pro Bowl.

The following season Sparano assumed the duties as the assistant head coach/offensive line as Dallas went 13-3 before falling in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

The West Haven, Conn. native began his coaching career at the University of New Haven in 1984.


Offensive Coordinator

Dan Henning returns for his second season as the Dolphins offensive coordinator after a very productive and creative 2008 campaign.

Henning utilized the wildcat formation to take advantage of tailbacks Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams at the same time.

The formation resulted in a number of key plays by Brown and Williams, who excelled in the scheme because of their ability to read the defense and make quick decisions.

In addition to the wildcat formation, he took advantage of Chad Pennington's skills at quarterback and put him in great situations, which feature a lot of high percentage passing plays.

Henning spent five seasons (2002-06) as the offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers before taking a year off in 2007.  He was hired in February 2008 by the Dolphins and enjoyed a very successful season.

He has been a great hire and if the Dolphins are going to repeat their success in 2008, his play-calling and creativity will be a key.


Defensive Coordinator

Like Sparano, Paul Pasqualoni joined the Dolphins after a stint with with the Dallas Cowboys.

Pasqualoni, the former head coach at Syracuse for 14 years, guided the Dolphins into a transition to the 3-4 defense from a 4-3 scheme they had been using.

In the 3-4 defense, veteran outside linebacker Joey Porter excelled as he posted a career-high 17.5 sacks in 2008.

Safety Yeremiah Bell (team-best 120 tackles) and linebacker Channing Crowder (113 tackles) also excelled in Pasqualoni's defense.

Miami ranked ninth in points allowed with 317 in 2008.


Other Assistant Coaches

There was not a lot of change in the staff as David Lee (quarterbacks), James Saxon (running backs), and Karl Dorrell (wide receivers) are returning after being under Sparano last season.  Offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo, formerly with the New York Giants, was hired to take over for Mike Maser, who was fired following the season.

On defense, Kacy Rodgers (defensive line), Jim Reid (outside linebackers), George Edwards (inside linebackers), and Todd Bowles (secondary) all return as well.

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