The Miami Herald reports that coach Tony Sparano’s status would again be subject to re-evaluation if the Dolphins lose at home Sunday to 1-4 Denver.
Tony Sparano’s news conference Tuesday sounded eerily, sadly, and predictably familiar, but the day’s most relevant question was one Sparano was not asked and one he would not have known the answer to, anyway: Can he survive another loss as Dolphins coach, especially another defeat at home to a team with a losing record? Owner Stephen Ross decided not to make a coaching change after Monday’s loss to the Jets dropped Miami to 0-5, but a close associate of Ross said Tuesday that the owner remains “very frustrated” and Sparano’s status would again be subject to re-evaluation if the Dolphins lose at home Sunday to 1-4 Denver. “I need to coach better,” Sparano said Tuesday. “They need to play better.” Ross so far has resisted firing his head coach because players have told him the team still believes in Sparano and that he hasn’t lost the locker room; Ross has been advised by friend Carl Peterson and others that in-season changes do not usually make a difference; and there’s no in-house interim candidate who would necessarily be an upgrade. Also, Ross believes switching to an interim coach (potentially defensive coordinator Mike Nolan) would not boost ticket sales for the rest of the season, but the associate said Sparano’s job status nevertheless remains subject to week-to-week review because of Ross’ unhappiness with the on-field product. The Dolphins have lost eight consecutive games dating back to last season, and barring a miraculous turnaround this season, the question is not if Sparano will be fired, but when. As Ross watched Monday’s game from a suite at MetLife Stadium, “at times he was very [ticked] off,” the associate said. “And other times he laughed it off because he’s sitting there with friends and it’s embarrassing to watch this when you’re there entertaining friends.”