Note: This rant was originally posted on www.nfl.com
The Detroit Lions are suffering another miserable season in a century filled with them. They are 4-10 this year which is an improvement on the 2-14 season before that and the historic 0-16 season before that one. If their record keeps improving at this rate they might make the playoffs in 2013.
The Lions lost a game earlier in the season because their star receiver, Calvin Johnson, didn’t fully secure a touchdown reception before celebrating. Just last week in a victory at Tampa the Lions ended a 26 game road losing streak. Their quarterback in that game was the immortal Drew Stanton and their head coach was Jim Schwartz. The frightening thing is in spite of all their historic incompetence I fully expect the Lions to beat the Dolphins this Sunday in Miami.
I am at a bit of a quandary. I do not wish the Dolphins to fall into a spiral of inconsistency that poorly run franchises like Detroit find themselves in where they constantly change quarterbacks and coaches without any forward thinking. The Lions have spent the last decade replacing bums with bums. Bobby Ross became Gary Moeller became Marty Morningweg became Steve Mariucci and so on.
Tony Sparano with his AFC East divison title in 2008 has more winning seasons than the Lions past six coaches combined and Chad Henne with a 14-13 record as a starting quarterback has won more games than the last five starting quarterbacks for the Lions combined. But after last week’s loss at home to Buffalo I feel we have seen enough of Sparano and Henne.
With 14 minutes left in last week’s game Miami received the ball down 17-7. Henne led them to a touchdown closing the gap to 17-14 which should have elated Dolfans exept for the fact that the drive took seven minutes. You are down by ten points, not protecting a lead, but there was no sense of urgency coming from the quarterback or the coach. The Dolphins defense played spectacular as they had all season giving the Dolphins offense two more chances to win. But poor play calling (instituting the wildcat offense when Henne had a rhythm), shoddy playmaking (Henne dinking the ball for three yard gains when time didn’t allow for it), and settling for long field goals when the winds were furious sabotaged them.
This game was emblematic of the Dolphins past two seasons. Able to win games when there’s no pressure, but when it wass time to earn their money with a victorious drive that would keep Miami’s playoff hopes alive, abject failure. If the coach and quarterback are not prepared to execute with the clock ticking three and two years into their tenures respectively, why have false hope they can ever perform under pressure?
There have been rumors about big name Super Bowl winning coaches Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden taking over, but I also think there’s a fine in-house candidate. Mike Nolan has worked wonders as the Dolphins defensive coordinator. True, he failed miserably as a head coach his first go around for the 49ers, but if he can’t learn from past mistakes what hope can we have for Sparano or Henne?