Dolphins coach Tony Sparano looked dejected as he addressed the media today following his team’s 20-17 loss to the Giants, but he emphasized the positive.
Although the Dolphins fell apart in the game’s closing minutes, Sparano praised his team for jumping out to an early lead and holding that lead into the fourth quarter.
“The effort they put out on the football field was a heck of an effort,” Sparano said. “That easily could have been a win yesterday and it was a loss. So we’ve got to figure out a way to get ourselves over the hump in those kinds of games. I’ve said that before.”
The 0-7 Dolphins have had a bunch of games that could have been a win but turned into a loss. Last weekend they dominated the Broncos for 55 minutes only to lose in overtime, and they also mostly outplayed the Browns this season before falling 17-16. Even the Dolphins’ most lopsided defeat, a 24-6 loss to the Jets, was a game that they controlled for most of the first half. The Dolphins, whose point differential this season is minus-59, have been much more competitive than the league’s other winless team, the Colts, who have a point differential this season of minus-131.
So what does Sparano have to say about the latest close loss?
“They played their heart out,” Sparano said. “It wasn’t good enough. We lost the game. We’re not any better than we were a week ago. But there was a lot of improvement made in a lot of areas against a good football team. Give credit to the Giants. They’re a good football team. You see some plays being made, you see some plays maybe on our end not being made, coulda, shoulda wouldas.”
Sparano is right that his players are still giving an effort and haven’t quit. But in the NFL, just giving effort isn’t good enough.