An 0-3 start to a regime's fourth year at the helm is more than enough to put the head coach on the hot seat.
That's where Tony Sparano finds himself this week going into a tough road test against the San Diego Chargers (4:15pm EST, CBS).
According to the Miami Herald's Greg Cote, Stephen Ross is greatly dissatisfied by the effort shown by the Dolphins to start the season. In addition to the 0-3 start, Miami has lost 11 out of their last 12 at home and since winning the AFC East in 2008 have gone 14-22 (that includes their playoff game against Baltimore in 2008).
When a football team struggles, the first two targets are usually the head coach and the quarterback, which in Miami as you may know is Tony Sparano and Chad Henne, respectively. However while the fans have been vocal about this, there have been two factors that are usually ignored by the press: former VP of Football Operations Bill Parcells and current General Manager Jeff Ireland.
Now Parcells is no longer here. Halfway through last season "the Tuna" took his ball and went home while continuing to cash paychecks from the Miami Dolphins. Only a few reporters in Miami (mainly Dan LeBatard, who has called Parcells a "False Prophet") have come out to criticize Parcells for his work in Miami, as he is now sitting comfortably on Sunday mornings on ESPN.
Why hasn't Parcells received the same level of backlash as the guys he left in charge? Especially considering how he left two people that he supposedly trusts and likes twisting in the wind with an owner who wasn't really to crazy about them to begin with.
Who's to blame for the Dolphins' troubles?
Parcells brought in Sparano and Ireland, and Ireland is a whole story on his own.
Jeff Ireland has been the General Manager since Parcells and Sparano came to Miami. He's the one who has chosen most of the players. In a way I think of a certain TV show when I think of the Ireland/Sparano era in Miami.
If you watch Gordon Ramsay's "Kitchen Nightmares," you'll notice that in many episodes the chef will get some of the blame for the restaurant's problems, and the main complaint will be when they use frozen or microwaved food. Usually it turns out to be the owners who are responsible for this as a "cost-cutting" measure.
Chef Ramsay will then have the restaurant's chefs use fresh ingredients to make fresh food, which always seems to come out delicious.
Sparano doesn't seem like one of those chefs who could prepare a delicious dish using fresh ingredients. However this doesn't take away from the fact that General Manager Jeff Ireland has forced him to use some frozen ingredients and cook them in a microwave. More often than not, these ingredients are shipped from Dallas.
So why isn't anyone in the press calling for Jeff Ireland's job?
This is especially odd to me because part of the reason why the Dolphins didn't pursue Cowher last season was because he wanted Ireland to stay on as GM.
This would be a mistake.
If you're going to call for this restaurant called the Miami Dolphins to fire their executive chef, a change in the kitchen manager must be in order too.
And if I could only fire one of them, I'd hold onto the chef and fire the manager. While I don't trust the chef 100 percent, let's also see what he can do with some fresh ingredients, as opposed to microwaved food from Dallas.
Thomas Galicia is a Miami Dolphins Featured Columnist who also writes about music, movies, the Miami Heat whenever this stupid lockout ends (and he's praying its soon), the Chicago Cubs, and the WWE. He also knows that most of you will disagree with him on this subject. That's what the comments are for, tell him he's wrong, or if you agree with him, tell him he's right. Then visit www.thomasgalicia.com and follow him on twitter, @thomasgalicia.