With Dolphins coach Tony Sparano getting a new contract only because owner Stephen Ross mishandled the failed courtship of Jim Harbaugh, Sparano is smart enough to know that he needs to win now, or collect his buyout.
Earlier this week, Sparano opened up to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports (thanks for the head’s up to our buddy Joe Rose of WQAM) regarding the changes the fourth-year head coach will make in order to make it to year five.
“The people that I worked for before, [low-risk play-calling is] how they approached it,” Sparano said, in a clear reference to Sparano’s former boss in Miami and Dallas, Bill Parcells. “Nevertheless, this game has really changed and it has really changed in our division. If you don’t score points in our division, you’re going to have a hard time winning football games. So we have to do a better job of generating big plays, generating more scores and even though we feel like we have one of the best defenses in the league, we’d like them to play a little less.”
And so Sparano seems to be doing what Giants coach Tom Coughlin did in 2007: Sparano is changing.
“I spent a lot of time looking at myself in the mirror, knowing that I need to make the change,” Sparano said. “Obviously, three-quarters of my staff on offense is new. That’s something that I felt we had to do. I feel like Brian’s style is more aggressive. . . . [But] it started with me with big plays and how hard we had to work to advance the ball down field in the past. That’s where I had to look at myself and say, ‘I’m the CEO of the football part of it. If I see it broke, I have to fix it and it has to start with me.’ We couldn’t crawl down the field anymore.”
Sparano’s spirit may be willing, but his team’s flesh may be weak. Plenty of teams want to stretch the field. Not all of them can.
So there’s a chance that this effort to keep the Dolphins’ defense on the field less could get them on the field more. And it could get Sparano fired come January.