MIAMI (CBS4) - NFL insiders are sending mixed messages on the future of Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano. According to an Inside the NFL report late Wednesday night, consultant Bill Parcells has convinced Fins owner Stephen Ross to retain Sparano for next year.
However, ESPN insider Chris Mortensen reported this week that Sparano will likely be fired after the Dolphins season wraps up on Sunday in New England.
The report on Inside the NFL Wednesday night came from former Oakland Raiders executive Mike Lombardi.
The report from Lombardi went on to say that Dan Henning will be fired and replaced with Gary Kubiak, should he be fired by the Houston Texans, or former Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels as the new offensive coordinator.
Sparano experienced unparalleled success in his first season with the Dolphins. He brought back the single-wing formation (Wildcat) and helped guide the Fins to the playoffs in his first year. But, the Fins have regressed and will likely finish with a losing record this season if they lose to the Patriots on Sunday.
The Fins' biggest problem isn't on the defensive side of the ball where Mike Nolan has developed a strong, young core of players. The bigger issue has been the offense and the complete lack of a running game.
Part of the problem lies with the offensive line, which was supposed to be Sparano's forte. The offensive line has played poorly for most of the season and even Pro Bowl stalwart Jake Long has been subpar through the end of the season, mainly due to injury.
The report from Lombardi should be taken with a grain of salt. Lombardi assumes that Ross is still listening to Parcells, who effectively walked away from the team at the beginning of the season.
Parcells is now rumored to be talking to the 49ers as a consultant, though no official deal has been reached and the Tuna may simply offer free advice on who to hire and not hire.
Part of the problem Sparano faces is the abysmal home record the Fins put together this season. The team only won one game at home this year. Ross wants to put people in the seats at a premium price. But no one wants to go see a team that loses all the time at home.
For Ross, his tie-ins to celebrities and desire to make the Dolphins a major event that no one can miss has been severely hampered by the team's poor performance and the fan base wants some sort of spark to get the team rolling again.
Lombardi's report mentioning McDaniels as a replacement on the offensive side is almost laughable. McDaniels ran Brandon Marshall out of town in Denver. Marshall has ingratiated himself to Fins fans and they will take his performance over McDaniels act every day. There's no reason to think the two can co-exist again.
That said, Kubiak as an offensive coordinator could be very exciting. He's a quarterback guru and the Texans offense performs well every season and could be just the spark the Fins need, assuming he's fired by the Texans, which is not a sure thing just yet.
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