Hot Seat Getting Hotter For Sparano
The Miami Dolphins are 0-7 following their latest
inability to hold a
fourth-quarter lead, and there is far more conjecture about how long
coach Tony Sparano can last than there is about when Miami will finally
pick up a victory.
Bill Cowher refuted reports that surfaced last
week that the Dolphins had already reached out to him.
"You can only avoid the elephant in the room for so long," defensive
end Jason Taylor said, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
"There's so much media nowadays and (it's) getting fed from so many
different angles media-wise, it's hard to escape it. You're going to
hear it, you're going to see it, you're going to be asked about it,
particularly in your home market.
"You do your best to ignore
it, but sure, there's an elephant in the room, and you have to realize
you have nothing to do with it. You can't control it. The only thing
you can do to control it is play well and win games. It's something
that's hanging out there, and people are going to talk about it because
people love to talk."
It's becoming increasingly difficult to
envision Sparano lasting the remainder of the season. He signed a
contract extension after owner Steven Ross' bungled attempt to court
Jim Harbaugh last offseason, but it appears almost certain someone else
will be manning the Dolphins' sideline next season. And as Taylor
admitted, the swirling speculation is a distraction for a team that has
more of those than it can handle.
Sparano, who said he put
his South Florida house on the market because his children no longer
live at home and not because of his uncertain future as the Dolphins'
head coach, continues to believe his team just needs to build some
"I've been 0-5 before in Washington with
Marty Schottenheimer. We won a bunch of games," Sparano said. "We won
one, then we won two, and then we won eight. So I just think we just
got to win one. And not worried about eight at this second right now.
We're worrying about winning one and that's the Kansas City Chiefs. So
that's what we're really to do that here. We're going to put this game
to bed and get moving towards Kansas City."
Sparano unsure what keeps causing fourth-quarter failures
One of these days, Dolphins coach Tony Sparano
believes, his team will break through. Miami will finish a game in the
fourth quarter -- and it will break the long, miserable losing streak
that has hung over the Dolphins since the beginning of the season.
Until then, though, Sparano and the Dolphins are
left to figure out why the same kinds of breakdowns keep happening. And
they seem to happen most often in the fourth quarter.
Three times this season, the Dolphins have entered
the fourth quarter with the lead. And three times they haven't been
able to hold onto it.
The latest collapse came Sunday against the
Giants. New York trailed 17-10 entering the final quarter but escaped
with a 20-17 victory. The week before, against the Broncos, the
Dolphins lost in overtime after leading 15-0 in the final three minutes
"I don't know that doubt late in the games becomes
an issue as much as, I don't know, circumstance," Sparano said. "I
mean, I can't tell you what the players are thinking. I can't tell you
that they're out there thinking that something can go wrong in those
At 0-7, the Dolphins' playoff hopes have all but
evaporated. The season seems lost, but Miami players -- and Sparano --
refuse to believe they can't turn it around and build some sort of
momentum during the second half of the season.
Sparano defended his players Sunday and insisted
they'd played with heart and courage. The issues at the end of the
game, Sparano said, have been a result of the Dolphins' failures to
come up with a key stop on defense or a key play on offense.
"The common thread to me is that eventually you
have to make those plays," he said. "You have to make those plays in
the fourth quarter that you were making. ... They weren't doing
anything different. In other words, the Giants didn't do anything
And unfortunately for the Dolphins, neither did
they. Their fourth-quarter collapse was nothing new.
More Dolphins news at: Dolphin
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