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Cleaning Up The Mess In Miami: What the Dolphins Should Do Next

Mark LeskoCorrespondent IIDecember 28, 2010

MIAMI - DECEMBER 26: Wide receiver Brandon Marshall #19 of the Miami Dolphins is brought down by linebacker DeAndre Levy #54 of the Detroit Lions at Sun Life Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The Lions defeated the Dolphins 34-27.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

The way the Miami Dolphins have collapsed in games should just about get Tony Sparano fired. 

It is not just from this past week, but in several other games as well (Cleveland, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh*).

Dan Henning retiring is pretty much a given as well, though he deserves to have the "fired" tag, but the Dolphins will be nice and let him retire.

If QB coach David Lee and the rest of the offensive staff is not fired, I would be completely surprised.

General Manager Jeff Ireland needs to go as well, it is time the Dolphins wash their hands of the Bill Parcells disaster (I will not even call it an era because if it was not for Brett Favre, it would be a complete disaster).

So, where do the Dolphins go now?

I hear the pleas for Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden, but hear my plea for what should be done.

General Manager

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Has Jeff Ireland done some good things? Yes, however he was basically Bill Parcells' puppet and it is time to move on from that.

Kevin Colbert needs to be hired.

He is the architect behind the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2000, working with Bill Cowher. He also was a scout for the Dolphins before he went to Pittsburgh.

Colbert's credentials are top notch and would be the perfect GM-Coach fit, if Cowher was to join Miami. Getting him to leave his job now, will probably take getting to have Cowher as his coach. It also works the same way for Cowher, who will have many teams courting him and for the right price and the right GM he may pick the Dolphins.

Head Coach

That leads to the next position. Obviously, with my plan this has to be Bill Cowher. He is a Super Bowl champion and a "no non-sense" coach this team has needed since Don Shula left.

Jon Gruden is a fun guy, I just do not think he is the right guy for Miami. If he is hired, he will want his brother, Jay, as his Offensive Coordinator.

All I have to say is look at the Washington Redskins to see how well the family hiring worked out. Hiring a family member, who has no real NFL experience, to run a NFL offense is never a good idea.

I really like Jim Harbaugh as well and he could be the fall back guy if Cowher decides he wants to stay with Dan Marino in the CBS studios. Harbaugh has won at Stanford, a really hard place to recruit with the academic standards, and unlike many other college coaches he has had success in the NFL before.

He was the offensive assistant coach for the Oakland Raiders in 2002 when they went to the Super Bowl. The San Francisco 49ers will be after him, but if the Dolphins cannot get Cowher then they will need to make a push for this guy.

Offensive Coordinator

I am taking a leap on this one but, why not Chad Pennington? The Dolphins have gone the conventional route with Norv Turner, Chan Gailey and Dan Henning and look how well all those guys turned out.

Time to try something new and why not a guy who has been with the organization the last couple years. Pennington is a very smart NFL-man, who was just never fully blessed with the complete physical tools.

He knows what it takes to be a good NFL QB and could do a better job of developing QBs on the little things (like adjusting arm slots and looking off safeties).

With a coach like Cowher by his side, Pennington could be a great OC.

Offensive Staff

No more stooges as position coaches. It is time to surround the players with more smart coaches like Pennington.

For example, hire Mark Duper as the WR coach. He has been working one-on-one with Leonard Hankerson of Miami (FL). Hankerson has gone from a guy who would probably be drafted in the late rounds to, now, possibly a late-first early-second rounder.

The Dolphins need to bring in guys who can develop players, not just be their shoulder to cry on.

Defensive Staff

Obviously, these coaches need to be left alone and I think Cowher would have no problem doing so. He likes the 3-4 defense, so I do not think he would do much changing here.

The only question is, will Mike Nolan get a head coaching gig? Well my answer to that is, no.

He got his chance is San Francisco and failed badly. Some guys are just better coordinators than head coaches and I think he is a the former. However, with so many job openings, some team could take a chance on him, so just cross your fingers Fin fans.

Player Personnel

The defensive side is pretty well set. Locking up Paul Solai should be a priority as well as finding a MLB. Crowder has shown that he is just awful. Is A.J. Edds the answer? Maybe, we really have not seen anything from him, but if not then the draft or free agency could have the answer.

The offensive side needs some work. An athletic TE, new C, new LG, an explosive RB and a QB are all needs. A TE, C and LG are a little more manageable to find.

However, finding a RB and QB will be hard. Darren Sproles could be the answer, if San Diego decides to let him go. The Chargers have been known to let good RBs go (Tomlinson and Turner).

I know Fin fans are not going to like this, but Chad Henne may have to be the QB for one more year. For the simple fact that, there is just nothing out there.

For all of you wanting to draft a QB in the first round, you are hoping for a miracle. The Dolphins do not have a second-round pick, which is usually needed to move up in the first round. Now taking a chance on a lower-round QB is realistic.

In free agency, there are slim pickings.

Matt Hasselbeck and Donovan McNabb are about it, and neither are any better than Henne. Hasselbeck has been a disaster and McNabb is just like Henne, makes a great throw one minute then bounces one five yards short. Kyle Orton could be an option depending on what happens in Denver, but he really is not a long-term solution.

So, let's maybe give Henne another shot in a real offensive scheme with real coaches. Who knows, maybe it's been his coaches that have made him take steps backwards.

It is never easy to start over, but unfortunately that is what the Dolphins have to do, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

If they can get the offense fixed, the defense is a top 10 defense, so things can turn around quickly in Miami. It all starts from the top-down, and it has been way too long since the Dolphins have had smart people making all the big decisions. Kevin Colbert and Bill Cowher are smart guys, let's go get them.

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