MIAMI (CBS4) – The Miami Dolphins haven’t fired Tony Sparano, but they also haven’t given him a vote of confidence either.
The team, according to multiple NFL sources, has started speaking with other coaches about the possibility of coming to coach the Fins, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald.
At the top of the list for Dolphins owner is probably former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher. But, the problem that the Fins are running into is that Cowher wants a lot of control over the franchise. The Fins seem more than willing to dump Sparano, but would like to keep general manager Jeff Ireland and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.
This has Cowher backing away from talking to the Dolphins, at least at the present time, according to the Herald report.
If Ross was willing to take a chance on Cowher, it would be almost a perfect fit. Cowher runs a 3-4 defense, which the Dolphins have in place now. Cowher would like to run a smash-mouth running game behind a young, physical offensive line, which the Dolphins also are developing. Finally, Cowher likes to have a big, physical wide receiver and a good underneath receiver, which define Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess.
The other big candidate out there is Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh. The former NFL quarterback has become the hottest coaching name out there after working a miracle at Stanford. But the Fins would have to get in line for a chance to get Harbaugh.
The San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos are expected to make a strong push for Harbaugh. The 49ers may have a strike against them, because reportedly Harbaugh isn’t the biggest fan of the 49ers new general manager, according to multiple media reports.
Denver will make a push for Harbaugh by putting out former Stanford and Super Bowl winning quarterback John Elway to woo the Stanford coach. Elway is the new football czar in Denver and would love to have Harbaugh aboard to take over a downtrodden Broncos team.
It was believed that Harbaugh also had eyes on the University of Michigan, which is likely to fire head coach Rich Rodriguez in the next 48 hours. However, Harbaugh’s brother John, the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, said Jim is not really interested in making a move to the Wolverines.
Harbaugh’s options are getting fewer and fewer after Houston, Cincinnati, Minnesota and the Cowboys all made their coaching decisions. Harbaugh’s NFL options currently are the Panthers, Raiders, 49ers, Broncos, and possibly the Dolphins.
There’s also another coach that could enter into the equation for the Dolphins, as the Herald reported. The Tennessee Titans are expected to tell longtime coach Jeff Fisher that he either has to make Vince Young the starting quarterback or leave.
Young has played poorly and displayed immaturity since being selected third overall. However, Titans owner Bud Adams is enamored with Young and more than willing to let Fisher leave in order to keep Young.
Fisher is one of the more successful coaches in the last decade, leading the Titans to multiple playoff berths and one Super Bowl run. If Fisher hits the unemployment line, he will likely surpass Harbaugh as the big name on the coaching block.
He would be an interesting fit in Miami. He brings with him a hard-nosed philosophy that the Fins need and he might be willing to keep Ireland and Nolan on the staff.
But, all of the speculation about the Dolphins is cutting current coach Tony Sparano off at the knees. If the Dolphins are going to make a move, they need to go ahead and make it. Sparano can’t continue to be left blowing in the wind. It’s hurting his ability to hire top-notch assistants and pitting player against player in the locker room.