weekend, two NFL offensive coordinators were fired.
reason? Lack of offense!
coach Brian Billick canned Jim Fassel because “we have to have more offensive
productivity…something dramatic needed to be done”.
coach Denny Green dismissed Keith Rowen in the wake of the Cardinals’ stunning
Monday Night Football collapse to the unbeaten Chicago Bears.
Green, “We are not scoring enough points.”
certain times you feel like you have to do something different.”
firing one’s offensive coordinator in mid-season is an unusual thing to do. But
sometimes such a move can make sense when a source of the problem is the person
the microscope now on the Miami Dolphins and their sorry offense. They need to
do something different, too.
in by Nick Saban to assume the role and system left behind by Scott Linehan, Mike
Mularkey’s job was to take Linehan’s work and build on it.
hasn’t done that. Today, the Dolphins are a disappointing 21st in
Total Offense and 29th in Scoring.
surprisingly, given the firings of Fassel and Rowen, questions concerning
Mularkey’s job security are now being raised.
that the Ravens (110) and Cardinals (111) have outscored the Dolphins (78).
that the Ravens (10) and Cardinals (11) have more offensive touchdowns than the
Dolphins (8), with a key statistic for big plays, passing touchdowns, heavily
favoring the Ravens (8) and Cardinals (18) over the Dolphins (3).
that the Ravens (4.4) and Cardinals (4.4) have achieved roughly the same yards
per play as the Dolphins (4.8).
that the Ravens (30:38) and Cardinals (31:58) have better average time of possession
than the Dolphins (29:32).
finally, consider that the Ravens (12) and Cardinals (18) have yielded fewer
sacks than the Dolphins (22).
why is it that Mularkey isn’t looking for work today?
think that we’re more interested in trying to develop solutions to help us get
better”, said the ever positive Saban. “If we knew making a change would make
it better, we’d probably do it. But I don’t feel that that’s what we need to do
Saban never wavers in protecting his staff and players. To Saban, ‘family
business’ stays within. It doesn’t mean that Saban is happy with where things
are; it just means that Saban believes that canning Mularkey now will only create
distraction and disruption on a team that needs neither.
Saban, focusing on correcting mistakes, rather than changing the leadership and
the approach, is what’s needed under the circumstances.
think when we look at what we’re doing, I think when the players look at what
we’re doing, I think they see that we can have success if we’ll go do it the
right way”, said Saban. “I think that needs to be the point of emphasis for us
right now, and I think we’re all responsible to find a better way. That’s going
to be our approach.”
chicken soup out of chicken feathers is Saban’s approach. He knows he doesn’t
have the horses he needs. But is he also questioning his decision to hire
Mularkey in the first place?
often as Saban grouses about getting Ronnie Brown and Chris Chambers the ball
more, perhaps he should at least consider handing the playcalling to someone
that part of Mularkey’s undoing in Buffalo
was a lackluster offense, fueled by what some considered conservative
playcalling. For example, his 2005 Buffalo Bills scored a paltry 16.9 points
per game. This year, his Dolphin offense has fared even worse (13.2 ppg).
the disgraceful 2004 Dolphins (17.2 ppg) were more prolific!
in fairness to Mularkey, coaches are only as good as the players they’ve got.
the lousy caliber of quarterback play, the biggest bummer of this disappointing
consider that, despite years of coaching, some Dolphins continue to brain-lock
all too often. A case-in-point would be the so-called playmakers on offense,
guys who regularly drop passes and make other repeated mental errors.
least Saban and Mularkey had the backbone to admit their mistake in starting
out the season with a not-healthy Daunte Culpepper, albeit weeks later than they
really, whether it’s Culpepper or Joey Harrington running the show, there is
just too much talent for so little to have been gained. It’s a hard sell to any
football-savvy person to suggest that the Dolphins were better off with Jay
Fiedler and Gus Frerotte.
if you factor in the loss of Ricky Williams, the improvement of Brown and
Vernon Carey plus other gains at least keeps them on par, talent-wise, from
where they were last year.
the Not For Long league, the bottom line is wins. Mularkey knows this as well as
anyone. He knows he was hired at a considerable salary to deliver results.
he hasn’t, not yet. And unless things get dramatically better over the balance
of the season, it could be Mularkey who joins Fassel and Rowen on the street.