Tony Sparano recently received a two-year extension on his contract, which means he is slated to be the head coach of the Miami Dolphins through 2013. This will not be a quiet off-season, though, as Sparano must hire both a new offensive coordinator and a new QB coach. Our own QB, John Congemi, has plenty to say about what must be done between now and the first kickoff of ’11…
Guest Blog, by John Congemi:
To say that the last couple of weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for Dolphins Head Coach Tony Sparano just might be an understatement! Sparano has been under constant pressure from the fans and media; and the way the Dolphins played in the season finale really didn’t reflect the talent or character of this team or coaching staff. However, I believe that Sparano will be able to see the shortcomings of this football team and make the adjustments necessary for the Dolphins to compete in the AFC East. He is a quality person and a coach I believe that this team will respond to his message moving forward, and I would expect to see major competition at most positions on this roster.
This off-season will be dedicated to improving this football team in all aspects. When looking at recent history, it will show that Sparano has been very adept at finding the issues with the team and correcting them. In 2010, Sparano made the change in special teams coaches after four games, and it seemed to make a difference in simplifying the plan. After the defense finished 22nd in yards allowed per game in 2009, Sparano made the changes necessary to be not just competitive, but rank in the top 10 in most categories, including finishing 6th in yards allowed per game. Sparano and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan made the necessary changes in personnel to give this unit a different style and aggressive personality.
Now this off-season, it’s time to look at the offensive side of the ball. If we take a look at the 2010 squad, the biggest reason for the 7-9 season was the lack of consistency and the ability to produce positive game changing plays on both sides of the football. The team’s model on offense going into the season in my opinion was a straight-forward one: run the football behind an offensive line that has the ability to wear down a defense, and grow into an offense that can take advantage of a big, physical wide receiver in Brandon Marshall. The key for this strategy was to hold on to the football and control the tempo of the game. This game plan worked early against Buffalo and Minnesota, but turnovers and special teams breakdowns were the main reason that this plan didn’t take hold and would fall short against football teams were on the plus side of the turnover margin. The lack of consistency overall held the Dolphins back from gaining any momentum in the middle of the season, and the inability to close out game in the fourth quarter cost this team down the stretch.
Sparano is now faced with the task of analyzing not only every position on his football team, but putting together an offensive coordinator and quarterback coach to inject energy and production into the Dolphins offense. The improvements that were made in one season on defense might not be as easy on offense, but I feel confident that Sparano will do what’s necessary to point Miami in the right direction.
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