Skip to content

Report: Dolphins will fire Sparano, Jeff Ireland will return

Miami Dolphins v Dallas Cowboys Getty Images

Sunday’s 26-10 loss to the Eagles put the brakes on the feel-good story the Dolphins were fashioning over the last few weeks.

They looked a lot like the team that lost their first seven games of the season. They made a ton of mistakes on both sides of the ball, the offensive line leaked like a poorly fashioned canoe and they didn’t look particularly competitive after opening up a 7-0 lead. It’s little surprise, then, that another mainstay of the early part of the season returned on Sunday night.

Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports that the team plans to replace head coach Tony Sparano once the season comes to an end. There had been some talk in recent weeks that a strong ending could buy Sparano another season on the sideline, but, per Salguero, the chance of that happening is rapidly nearing zero. There’s no hint about who the next coach might be, but a big one about who will be leading the search process.

According to Salguero’s report, “barring some unforeseen circumstance,” general manager Jeff Ireland will return for the 2012 season. Salguero reports that Ireland will not be fired come the end of the season because owner Stephen Ross believes the team is underachieving despite having a lot of talent on the roster. The run from 0-7 to 4-8 likely helped cement those feelings and the strong play of Reggie Bush, who few other than Ireland believed could be a feature back, doesn’t hurt either.

Permalink 51 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Miami Dolphins, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
51 Responses to “Report: Dolphins will fire Sparano, Jeff Ireland will return”
  1. maxvv says: Dec 11, 2011 7:48 PM

    How long has Stephen Ross been waiting to pull that trigger? I’ll bet he was starting to get real nervous, wished he had done it back when they were winless.

    Of course, Jeff Fischer is the best possible replacement, but Ross will be too busy chasing a coach with a ring to see that.

  2. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Dec 11, 2011 7:49 PM

    Hardly a performance worthy of the “best 4-8 team ever”. LOL

  3. dolfan72 says: Dec 11, 2011 7:50 PM

    If it happens, all I can say is MISSION: ACCOMPLISHED!

    I have had “FIRE TONY SPARANO!” on the back of my truck in white shoe polish since the Denver game! It is time! HIRE JEFF FISHER!

  4. orthomarine says: Dec 11, 2011 7:54 PM

    Sparano is still a good guy…..

    Good luck man in your next role…

  5. predicatepanda says: Dec 11, 2011 7:55 PM

    Stephen Ross should begin by firing himself. The dysfunction and incompetence that exists in the organization starts at the top.

  6. imag3d says: Dec 11, 2011 7:56 PM

    Well today’s loss finally put the last nail in the coffin.
    I just don’t know who they are going to get if they keep the GM. This is going to be interesting.

  7. droopyyydog1 says: Dec 11, 2011 7:58 PM

    While not exactly happy about this, Ross has stated he wants some continuity in the organization so its not a surprise. Most people in league circles know that this was Irelands first year as the decision maker and that The Tuna was picking the groceries, up until last Septembers departure. So he will get to pick his OWN head coach and lets hope its not any television commentators who aren’t sure if they want to coach.

    As for Sparano he has been in over his head for awhile now. He seems to be a good guy and I was hoping he would do well since I’m a fellow Nutmegger but he continues to get out coached week in and week out. His second half “adjustments” are normally pretty terrible and his close to the vest, play not to lose approach has made his team play scared.

  8. wadecounty93 says: Dec 11, 2011 7:59 PM

    YESSSSS
    1. Hire Gruden
    2. Draft a QB ( possibly RG3)
    along with a couple other additions we should be a playoff contender!!!

  9. Patriot42 says: Dec 11, 2011 8:00 PM

    Haley, Haley, Haley, Haley please be next.

  10. dolphins4 says: Dec 11, 2011 8:07 PM

    The Dolphins have been coming together the last 5 games.But Ross wants a big name coach.If Ross is smart he’ll hire Bill Cowher because this team could be very good in no time with him.This team plays Cowhers style.

  11. shmendal says: Dec 11, 2011 8:07 PM

    The two of them came should go just as they came, as a fraction of the bad decisions Parcells made when he came to Miami. They will not get out of mediocrity for as long as Ireland is putting this team together.

  12. badtimeoutcaldwell says: Dec 11, 2011 8:08 PM

    Shame on him for not taking a team led by Chad Hanne and Matt Moore and not making it to the playoffs!

    What kind of record would they expect when those are your two QB’s for the season? I think 4-8 is about right…

  13. jetsarestacked says: Dec 11, 2011 8:09 PM

    so much for “the best 4-8 team of all time”

  14. maddogcraig77 says: Dec 11, 2011 8:15 PM

    Ireland needs to go too! His record at drafting players and signing free agents sucks. Get rid of both of them and start clean – and tell Peterson to keep his mouth shut! We saw what he did in KC!

  15. finsfrontofficeisajoke says: Dec 11, 2011 8:16 PM

    I think I’m going to be sick.

    I understand continuity, but the GM should really go. Let the continuity be the talented defense. The offense isn’t far off, if you can add a stud QB. It isn’t hard to ask in the interviews if the candidates feel that the current roster works with what they’re trying to do.

    The only continuity I’ve seen out of my Fins since Marino left is the ability to continually force me to drink my beer with salty tears.

    I chose the most relevant screen name ever.

  16. turgidsen says: Dec 11, 2011 8:17 PM

    dolphins4 says:
    Dec 11, 2011 8:07 PM
    The Dolphins have been coming together the last 5 games.But Ross wants a big name coach.If Ross is smart he’ll hire Bill Cowher because this team could be very good in no time with him.This team plays Cowhers style.
    ———————————————————————-

    As much as I like cowher it took him a long time to have his steelers reach respectability. So don’t expect a quick turn around with cowher.

  17. phishfan520 says: Dec 11, 2011 8:20 PM

    The true irony in this is that my father is a Redskins fan. I’ve had years of hearing “we’re gonna be great next year!” or “All we need to do is….and we’ll be fine!” and I would tell him how mismanagement of your front office is why you guys fail. I believe now the shoe is on the other foot. Now I’ll be the dumb one who says “All we need to get is…” I liked Tony, I might be the only dolphan who does but if you guys believe one second that Ireland doesn’t belong filing for unemployment as well, then your deluded. Remember this guy thought to add a reciever to take double team pressure off of Marshall and after all options, he added GATES. That kid cant catch a tennis ball with velcro on his hands! I can’t wait for april as Ireland allows the skins/seahawks/kansas city/cleveland to leap frog him in the draft and take all of our possible franchise QB’s. The best gift Tony can leave us is to blow all remaining 3 games!

  18. rhetoric1 says: Dec 11, 2011 8:25 PM

    Are you kidding me? Ireland is staying when he is as much, if not more, the cause of all the Dolphins problems. The Dolphins have ZERO impact players that are capable of changing the game on their own. Not a single Pro Bowler has been drafted since 2008 and even then, it’s Jake Long, our best player—a left tackle. Pat White, Patrick Turner, Phillip Merling—it’s just bust after bust after non-impact player, and they’re keeping Ireland? Thank God for the Heat (and maybe the Marlins and Panthers, too). With home games next year against the Titans, Seahawks, Rams, and Jaguars, congratulations at having another year with an empty stadium, Mr. Ross.

  19. xpensivewinos says: Dec 11, 2011 8:31 PM

    As long as Ross isn’t concerned with selling tickets, it seems like a sound strategy.

    We don’t even need to get in to the fact that no coach worth a damn would come to Miami and work for that back-stabbing, POS Ireland.

  20. mcjon22 says: Dec 11, 2011 8:34 PM

    So the guy who helped select Jake Long over Matt Ryan, drafted bust like Pat White, Philip Merling, Patrick Turner, Chad Henne, and John Jerry gets to keep his job??? If this actually happens, as a fan I’m done. Yeah I’ll still root for them, but no way I’ll spend a single cent on Mr. Ross’s franchise. Btw, what proven coach is going to agree to work with Ireland? Not Cowher, Gruden, or Fisher. This organization is a joke.

  21. pissedfishfan says: Dec 11, 2011 8:37 PM

    JEFF FISCHER????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? He has coached for 20 years and six times he finished above 500%. Anyone asking for him to be coach is a freaking IDIOT In the last 20 years we have finished above 500% 12 times and it has not gotten it done. HIRE Jeff Fischer You guys are Idiots.

  22. 305fan says: Dec 11, 2011 8:38 PM

    Ireland will be gone as well. Ross was seen ripping Ireland a new ass on the sidelines. The new HC will probably be the GM as well, or will be coming in with a GM of his liking. Better days are on the horizon.

  23. finsfrenzy says: Dec 11, 2011 8:40 PM

    As a Fins fan I was hoping they both go; The logical answer will be Jeff Fisher, but they’ll go for someone with a ring, which is lame.

  24. rashardmendenballs says: Dec 11, 2011 8:42 PM

    The Dolphins don’t have enough talent on their roster to compete with the powers of AFC such as the Steelers, Pats, Jets and Texans.

    As a life long Detroit Lions fan, this ridiculous report of an under performing GM being back for another season reminds of the Matt Millien years that us Lions fans had to suffer through. Millien would always blame the coach’s for our poor failures on the field; he refused to be held accountable.

    Bottom Line Ross needs to clean house!

  25. flabberghoster says: Dec 11, 2011 8:53 PM

    They played very poorly today, but they actually didn’t play that bad for those first seven games. They just happened to lose them all, most in the last few minutes.

    That being said, fire Sparano.

  26. FinFan68 says: Dec 11, 2011 8:56 PM

    The team has been underachieving for the last couple of years. They need to hire a HC with a background in offense. Keep Nolan but do not let him be HC. The head coach needs to be demanding of the players, hold them accountable and sit the guys that underachieve. That said, Ireland’s tendency to hire Cowboys rejects has hurt the team. They have almost all been garbage and were the glaring weaknesses on the team. He should go before Sparano

  27. hardpeaches says: Dec 11, 2011 8:59 PM

    I think they both should go but the Reggie Bush signing looks like a good one so far. If Ireland was responsible for Colombo and it wasn’t just a Sparano-Dallas connection then he’s got to go as well.

    This regime wasn’t horrible but the Stephen Ross is hell bent on shaking things up so we might as well clean house. The fact remains once the Dolphins get a QB they’ll have a good chance of being an above average team.

  28. mcjon22 says: Dec 11, 2011 8:59 PM

    I fully expect Ross to bring in his Michigan Boy Les Miles to be the coach. I think I’m going to be sick

  29. tfbuckfutter says: Dec 11, 2011 9:01 PM

    As a fan of a division rival, I implore you Dolphins….

    PLEASE keep Matt Moore as your starting QB and do something stupid with your first round pick.

    I know I don’t even have to ask that you not adequately address the QB situation again, for the 13th year in a row, but please…..Matt Moore is definitely your answer long term. Go with that.

  30. FinFan68 says: Dec 11, 2011 9:03 PM

    Hire Mike Leach as HC, keep Nolan and Dabol, get rid of Ireland and do not take any phone calls from Carl Peterson…ever

  31. FinFan68 says: Dec 11, 2011 9:24 PM

    Matt Moore = Don Strock. Dolphins need to find another QB that can carry the team when necessary. Keep Moore as the starter and move him to a long-term backup role when the new kid is ready. (Please get one of the top 3 QBs…Luck, Barkley, RG3…no more trying to get “value” out of a 2nd tier guy later in the draft)

  32. miamiron says: Dec 11, 2011 9:24 PM

    No big name coach is going to come to the Dolphins without hand picking their own GM so if Ireland stays expect another no name reject head coach

  33. ampats says: Dec 11, 2011 9:28 PM

    Ireland back as GM. Great news in the AFC East outside of Miami.

    Cowher , Gruden, Fisher, BLAH BLAH BLAH Harbaugh Ooops.

    Steven Ross, that is the reason the Dolphins will remain a mediocre francise at best to be better known as the “circus ownership” of the NFL.

  34. bahamadolphin says: Dec 11, 2011 9:32 PM

    Is the problem REALLY Sparano or is it Ireland?Let’s face it, Sparano can only coach the players that Ireland gives him. He has gotten the most out of this bunch that he can; just look at how hard and tough they’ve been playing for him. Sparano is the fall guy because he could not make stars out of ALL of Ireland’s lousy picks and free agents. The defence played solid today only giving up approximately 250 yards to a potent Eagle offence. You guys might think I’m crazy but this team isn’t that far away and doesn’t need an overhaul. A stud QB, a stud pass rusher opposite Wake and a solid RT and who knows what Sparano could accomplish next year.

  35. wannstache says: Dec 11, 2011 9:49 PM

    This has the potential to become an even bigger mess! Ross is clearly an incompetent owner, incapable of making good football decisions, as witnessed by his loyalty Ireland and Peterson. What he does next could put this once-proud franchise into a hole it may never recover from. God help us Dolphans!

  36. thewake91 says: Dec 11, 2011 10:01 PM

    just another day in dolphin land

  37. realitypolice says: Dec 11, 2011 10:03 PM

    If Ireland stays, you can take every top coaching prospect off of the list.

    Because even the guys who don’t want to be GM themselves are certainly going to want a voice in hiring new personnel people.

    If he does stay, you’re looking at “Hot Young Coordinator” not “Established Super Bowl Coach”.

  38. ccooww says: Dec 11, 2011 10:04 PM

    I hear Norv Turner will soon be available.

  39. kobra71 says: Dec 11, 2011 10:14 PM

    No big name coach will come here if Ireland is still the GM! He needs to go along with Sparano.

  40. dynaco says: Dec 11, 2011 10:38 PM

    And this is the team supposed to knock the Jets out of the post season in a couple weeks???

    HARDY-HAR-HAR

  41. stevemo says: Dec 11, 2011 11:02 PM

    LOL @ at the Dolphins fans that think Ireland is responsible for every personnel move the last three or four years.

  42. earthtopft says: Dec 11, 2011 11:43 PM

    There is a hit out on Big Tony from Miami. Just between you and me.

  43. fmwarner says: Dec 12, 2011 2:38 AM

    FinFan68 says: Dec 11, 2011 9:03 PM

    Hire Mike Leach as HC, keep Nolan and Dabol, get rid of Ireland and do not take any phone calls from Carl Peterson…ever
    =================================

    I think it’s pretty unlikely that Leach leaves his job at Washington State before coaching a single game.

  44. mistrezzrachael says: Dec 12, 2011 3:13 AM

    OK…FIRE SPARANO

    But, who would take that job????

    NOONE, wants to work for Ross…NOONE, wants that clown Ireland running personnel, he is clueless.

    Maybe,,,money gets Fisher,,,but won’t get Cowher, or Gruden. Otherwise, time to look @ assistants.

    Miami is not an attractive franchise for coaches…Ross, last spring, showed them why.

  45. cantonbound13 says: Dec 12, 2011 7:05 AM

    Please sell the team Ross! How can you possibly keep Ireland? There is no talent on this team & that is Ireland’s fault! Stop listening to Carl Peterson!!! He destroyed the Chiefs & is now destroying this team. You are the worst owner in the NFL, period!!!!

  46. cantonbound13 says: Dec 12, 2011 7:24 AM

    You’re an idiot Ross!!!! How do you expect to get a good coach to come here with Ireland as GM? Moron!!!!

  47. vadertime says: Dec 12, 2011 8:04 AM

    I am surprised that Stephen Ross is going to keep Jeff Ireland. Ireland is the person who recruited all these high-priced, underachievers, which include Brandon Marshall and Reggie Bush. Sparano had to go, no question about it. However, I suspect that Ireland is on a short leash for next year. Whatever coach they hire, needs to have complete control of personal and the field. Whomever we choose for the next head coach for the Dolphins, we still must get a future QB from the draft. I say, Matt Barkley. Go Phins!!!

  48. mykl954 says: Dec 12, 2011 9:08 AM

    Armando is the sports writing version of the proverbial “even a broken clock is right twice a day.”

    I don’t think this will be one of those times. Ireland has missed more often than he’s hit on draft picks and especially free agents. He’s developed a well-justified negative reputation as being tone deaf. I cannot see an accomplished HC like the great Cowher wanting to work under him. Even beyond that, it’s important for the organization to rid themselves of the overpromised/underdelivered “stench of Tuna.”

    We need to draft a QB, hopefully RG3 if we keep losing or have the pieces to trade up and then let him compete with Matt Moore. Being no better than MM, Sanchez has shown that a QB with limitations can be successful if he basically stays out of the way of the team.

  49. cgalaxy says: Dec 12, 2011 9:10 AM

    phishfan520 says:
    Dec 11, 2011 8:20 PM
    The true irony in this is that my father is a Redskins fan. I’ve had years of hearing “we’re gonna be great next year!” or “All we need to do is….and we’ll be fine!” and I would tell him how mismanagement of your front office is why you guys fail. I believe now the shoe is on the other foot. Now I’ll be the dumb one who says “All we need to get is…” I liked Tony, I might be the only dolphan who does but if you guys believe one second that Ireland doesn’t belong filing for unemployment as well, then your deluded. Remember this guy thought to add a reciever to take double team pressure off of Marshall and after all options, he added GATES. That kid cant catch a tennis ball with velcro on his hands! I can’t wait for april as Ireland allows the skins/seahawks/kansas city/cleveland to leap frog him in the draft and take all of our possible franchise QB’s. The best gift Tony can leave us is to blow all remaining 3 games!

    =================================

    Know what you mean. You could replace “Redskins” or “Miami” with “Cincinnati” (for the past 20 years) and it would sound just as right.

  50. dolphincritic says: Dec 12, 2011 10:17 AM

    I agree with the move to fire Sporano. He couldn’t even put a good OLine on the field. A new coach may want a new personnel guy but let’s waite and see. Mr. Ross may have learned a few things this year too. I believe that there will be major management changes because ticket sales are horrible and the stadium property is not being used to it’s full potential. There are some gambling law changes proposed that might affect property use too!

    Hey! Mike Nolan might even keep his job; you never know!

  51. cantonbound13 says: Dec 12, 2011 2:21 PM

    This news makes my decision easy Mr. Ross. I am not renewing my season tickets. Good luck selling to the fan base the fact that you are bringing Ireland back & taking advice from Carl Peterson. You have turned this organization into a joke! You will no longer be selling out that stadium..

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!