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Jets bad for Dolphin coaches’ job security

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To those currently on the Miami Dolphins coaching staff, here is a suggestion for increasing job security; either beat the New York Jets or put up a better struggle while losing.

For the second time this season, Miami was humbled by the Jets and for the second time, heads rolled. New York bombed the Dolphins, 38-20 on Sunday and on Monday, the team fired offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.

On October 4, Miami looked totally uncompetitive and was humbled by New York, 27-14 in London. The plane was probably still on the tarmac at Heathrow when Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross decided to fire head coach Joe Philbin and replace him with Dan Campbell. Three days later, defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle was let go.

The Dolphins enjoyed the football equivalent of a Red Bull.  They routed the Tennessee Titans the following Sunday and followed that up with a 44-26 pasting of the Houston Texans. Miami led, 41-0 at halftime.

The Red Bull wore off and the Dolphins have now lost four of their last five. All four of the losses were by double digits with the only victory being a 20-19 win over the suddenly hapless Philadelphia Eagles.

Sunday’s rematch with the Jets turned out to be a test, or at least a pop quiz, on the status of the Miami offense. The performance led to a failing grade for the students and the firing of the teacher.

Lazor’s offense was clicking during those first two games of Campbell’s tenure. After scoring 82 points in those games, they have scored 78 over the next 5, an average of 15.6.

Several Dolphin backers are quick to blame quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and he should share some of it. At the same time, it is the offensive coordinator’s job to come up with a game plan that presents an opportunity to succeed and have the players prepared to carry it out.

Lazor’s last game as coordinator was bizarre. Yes, Tannehill threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns, but large chunks came after the game was out of hand.

A semblance of balance between run and pass is usually desired, but on Sunday Miami threw 58 passes, while running the ball only 9 times for 12 yards. Perhaps that was the final straw for Campbell, who tapped quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor as the team’s new play caller.

Or, maybe it stems from the fact Miami is 27th in the NFL in scoring at 20.5 points per game. They are 31st out of 32 teams in third down conversions, moving the chains just 27.7 percent of the time.

It is not unreasonable to conclude the entire coaching staff will be let go when the season ends in 5 weeks. The coaches, as well as the players, have that much time to show they can contribute to this team going forward.

The good news is there are no more games with the Jets on the schedule.

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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