Miami Dolphins Head Coach Tony Sparano needs to start showing why 11-5 was not a fluke.
You can talk all you want about moral victories, but the Miami Dolphins are lucky to be 2-1 and not winless at this point.
On Sunday night the Dolphins lost to the New York Jets 31-23 and showed on national television why they are not in the upper echelon of teams in the NFL just yet. You can grab all the players and spend all the money you want but in the NFL coaching matters.
Up to this point in the season the coaching staff of the Dolphins has severely let down its players, upper management, and of course the fans. I'm not one for panic and I am still even keel at the moment but if things don't start changing immediately Tony Sparano may be the next NFL coach on the hot seat.
For starters, Sparano has never been a good game-day coach.
He is decent with the press and media but I think it is safe to say we have yet to see great clock management in Sparano's tenure thus far and more Dolphins fans can remember clock management blunders in Sparano's reign than Nick Saban or Dave Wannstedt.
But Sunday's loss to the Jets was an all around poorly coached game, and it stretches further back than that.
On special teams, not only was the coaching horrific, but so was the execution. How can I blame the coaching? Several reasons!
Clifton Smith, who was supposed to be the Dolphins savior on kick returns, was cut last week and now the return duties are relegated to Patrick Cobbs who is coming off ACL surgery, can anyone say Ted Ginn Jr?
Also, the Dolphins had a crucial punt blocked inside their own 20-yard line that led to a Jets field goal. We saw this story in the preseason and for it to be happening in the regular season means that the correct adjustments haven't been made to fix these problems, even after all the waiver wire moves.
On kick returns the Dolphins allowed on average 37.5 yards a return. Dan Carpenter also had a kick that was booted out of bounds and gave the Jets field position at the 40, right after the momentum had swung into the Dolphins favor.
On defense, I have so many question marks after this week.
Why on Earth was Jason Allen covering Braylon Edwards? I get it that size wise he matches up better against Edwards but you are going to waste Vontae Davis on David Clowney or Jerricho Cotchery?
When Edwards was out for the firrst quarter and you knew the only weapon the Jets had in the passing game was Dustin Keller, why is Bobby Carpenter covering him instead of Carlos Dansby or Yeremiah Bell?
Why oh why was there absolutely no pass rush against Mark Sanchez?
Where was Koa Misi? After his player introduction he wasn't heard from all game.
Mike Nolan made himself look really bad this week and now, in a week where the Dolphins defense prepares for maybe its toughest challenge all season, there are more questions than answers.
On offense I really am baffled with Dan Henning.
Two years ago he made the Wildcat the newest and hottest thing in the NFL and Sunday night he made it look like the Wildflat.
Play calling is to blame on the offense not the execution as Chad Henne was superb, Brandon Marshall played a heck of game and Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams averaged 4.5 yards a rush between them.Problem was, they only got 18 carries.... combined!
On the last two drives where the Miami Dolphins offense had the ball inside the 11 yard line, there was a total of zero rushing plays involved. After Brandon Marshall scampered for a 40 yard gain down the sidelines the very next play Dan Henning calls a fade route to Marshall who later admitted he was in fact winded.
And inside their own 11 yard line with two timeouts and less than a minute left, Dan Henning went away from the Dolphins strength, the running game, and called four passing plays.
I am a huge fan of the Wildcat but not when it is used at the wrong times. The formation that once shocked the New England Patriots exactly two years ago, was better utilized by the Jets in this game, as Dan Henning seemed it fit to use the Wildcat continuously after Henne had a big play or the Dolphins had 10 or more yards to go.
The play calling stretches further than only the game against the Jets.
Special teams has been anything but special and the offense had looked plain vanilla until Sunday night, being extremely conservative whenever the Dolphins had the lead
Look for more of the passing game against the Patriots, but I expect the Wildcat to be used in ideal situations. I also expect to see more Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams in the running and passing game to stretch the field.
The defense cannot just send four guys after Tom Brady and let him file his taxes while looking for an open man. Cameron Wake and Koa Misi must come up big, set the edges and get to the quarterback or expect another unveiling of Jason Allen and this secondary come Monday night.
The Dolphins dropped an ENORMOUS opportunity to take the season by the neck and run with it. They had a Jets team without their best player on offense and their best player on defense, at home, in your home opener with a chance to start 3-0 and 2-0 in the division.
It's time to start stepping it up Sparano and company or they may just find themselves sitting next to Paul Pasqualoni next year.