Tony Sparano: I Will Not Coach at Alabama

There's little wrong with Miami that a few playmakers won't fix.

If there's one thing we can be thankful for, it's that Nick Saban is firmly situated on a throne of blood in a castle of pain on a mountain of skulls (or, as some call it, "a football office in Tuscaloosa"). Thankful, of course, because for once we're not dealing with staff turmoil at the end of a season. 

"Will you be the coach at Alabama?" a reporter cheekily asked Tony Sparano on Thursday.

Sparano cracked up, but that doesn't mean there won't be any turnover. Offensive coordinator Dan Henning may retire, though Sparano says he's hoping that doesn't happen.

"He's got a big bucket of chocolate candy, and I think if I keep pouring more chocolate candy in there, he'll hang around for a little while."

Try Werther's. Henning is 67, and needs neither the job nor the money. Though one of his more memorable moments on the season is the ill-fated Ricky Williams pass play into the end zone at Buffalo, Henning did a pretty crafty job early on with the Wildcat and Ronnie Brown. He understands the trickery perhaps more than anyone in the NFL, and the Dolphins don't have enough talent right now to do without it.

"I absolutely love the guy,'' Sparano said. "I really do. I think an awful lot about him.''

Defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni also seems a safe bet for retention. Though the Dolphins struggled late, it's clear Miami's biggest need, again, is talent.

Think about it: is there anyone on either side of the ball that strikes fear into the hearts of oppenents? The Dolphins' linebacking corps is headed into a clash with the Steelers, where it will start Akin Ayodele and Reggie Torber inside, with Jason Taylor and Joey Porter out -- one out of position and aging, the other a shadow of his former self -- backed by Charlie Anderson and Quentin Moses.

Ooof. Would anyone really miss Channing Crowder or Joey Porter? 

The young corners are learning, of course, but Sean Smith's managed to go a whole season without an interception and Vontae Davis gets picked on all game long. That's not Pasqualoni's fault -- yet. And the safeties? Well, Yeremiah Bell serves a purpose, but neither he nor Gibril Wilson are changing games out there.

It's the same with the ball. There's not a single receiver who causes a defense worry. Ronnie Brown will be back, as good as ever, but Ricky Williams says he's only got one more year. Tight end? Not a Winslow, or even a Shockey, to be found.

As bereft of elite talent as the Dolphins are right now, keeping the staff intact is be the best thing, and focusing on adding some playmakers to the roster an absolute necessity.

Janie Campbell just happens to know there's 111 days until the draft. Her work has appeared in irreverent sports sites around the Internet.

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