Miami Dolphins: Is Head Coach Tony Sparano on the Hot Seat?

Jason ClaryCorrespondent ISeptember 2, 2010

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 20: Head coach Tony Sparano of the Miami Dolphins celebrates after the game tying touchdown against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on December 20, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Dolphins 27-24 in overtime. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins and Coach Tony Sparano are getting ready to enter their third season together. Usually, by Year 3 or 4, the roster of a rebuilding team has taken shape, and should be ready to compete.

There has been much speculation about the idea that Tony Sparano could be on the hot seat if this Dolphins team doesn't make a playoff push this season.

This could be true, but to think that he would get the ax after a mediocre season is a pretty outlandish thought.


Another Slow Start?

The past two seasons under Tony Sparano, the Miami Dolphins have gotten off to very slow starts.

They started by losing their first two games in 2008, and they lost their first three games in 2009. However, in 2008, they bounced back to end the season going 11-3, winning the AFC East.

They had the same luck last year, but instead of ending strong, Miami dropped its last three games. Before that three-game skid, Chad Henne had an impressive record of 7-3 as a starter.

The very same start is possible this season, as Miami faces three division games in its first four weeks.

While Buffalo is expected to be bad at best, and the Jets were swept by Miami last season, Miami could be OK at the start of this season.

Though the Dolphins are predicted to have a schedule that is right in the middle as far as opponents' winning percentage, they could have one of the toughest first eight games in the NFL.

They start the first two weeks playing in Buffalo and Minnesota, and the next two weeks they host the Jets and Patriots, both primetime games.

After their Week 5 bye, they then play at Green Bay, home against Pittsburgh, and then two more away games at Baltimore and Cincinnati.

If Miami comes through that eight game stretch with a winning record, it will have shown that the Fins are a worthy team in Year 3.


When to Start Worrying

This year is not the year to start worrying.

It always takes several years for Bill Parcells' teams to fully realize their potential, and if this team shows any sign of struggle this season, you can expect the right pieces to be brought in next season.

The only time this question should be brought up is at the end of next year. Now is not the time to put Tony Sparano on the hot seat.

Sparano has been nothing but a great head coach, and a great person through these past two seasons.

He is by far the best head coach Miami has had since Don Shula. This entire regime is the most consistent in the NFL, and it won't be long before this team shows that.