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le betard article on Wannstedt


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Guest marlins02

IN MY OPINION

Go ahead, vent, then come to your senses

Firing of Wannstedt would be a firing offense

DAN LE BATARD

dlebatard@herald.com

 

 

Dan Le Batard

 

 

 

 

We don't want to hear it.

 

We don't want to hear that Dave Wannstedt's regular-season record the last four years is better than even Bill Belichick's (or that Belichick was one tuck play against Oakland from having the same playoff r?sum? as Wannstedt).

 

We don't want to hear that Wannstedt's last four years in Miami are better than even the last four coaching years of pear-shaped-god Bill Parcells (Wannstedt is 40-23 while Parcells is 39-24).

 

We don't want to hear that Wannstedt's last four years in Miami have produced more victories than Don Shula's last four years or Jimmy Johnson's last four years.

 

We don't want to hear that, after hours of research Monday, a statistician at the Elias Sports Bureau couldn't find a precedent for a coach being fired for job performance after four years like the ones Wannstedt has had here.

 

We don't want equivocation.

 

We don't want nuance, explanation, logic, numbers, facts, restraint, perspective, gray area.

 

We want someone's head.

 

The coach's. The quarterback's. Just bring me a damn head.

 

This is how rage works. It clouds all else. We don't hear so well when we're shouting. It's hard for the brain to summon reason when all the other body parts are so angry, and looking for a fight. And an outraged South Florida is pretty tired of these stale, same-old-same-old Dolphins.

 

This is the best thing about sports -- the outsized, unreasonable passion. But it is the worst thing about making your living in sports, too, as Wannstedt will now learn. This passion is what has fans who are otherwise reasonable in every other walk of life wanting to lynch, stone and set fire to Wannstedt -- and Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga probably listening to them because, in business or in ball, he must answer to his stock-holders.

 

But I can't call for Wannstedt's firing, OK? I just can't. I'm sorry. You give me a Parcells, Belichick or even a Bill Cowher as a replacement, then I'd feel comfortable calling for change because at least they've given us Super proof, unlike Wannstedt. You want to bring in a personnel man to dilute Wannstedt's power over the organization, I'm fine with that, too (even though people perpetually pointing to Wannstedt's mistake with Jamar Fletcher tend to forget or ignore that Wannstedt is the one responsible for trading for Ricky Williams, too). But I'm not firing someone for the sake of firing someone without a better replacement in mind.

 

Yes, I'm the one who wrote the Dolphins should hire Steve Spurrier two years ago, after Wannstedt's consecutive 11-5s. And I'm the one who wrote that Johnson should replace Shula, too. In both instances, I thought the replacement was an upgrade, and that if you are willing to upgrade at, say, linebacker, why wouldn't you be willing to do so at coach? But is there someone out there right now with the kind of shine that accompanied Spurrier's entrance into the NFL or Johnson's return to it? You fire Wannstedt now, you have to bring in a substantively bigger name and r?sum?, not just some coordinator or Nick Saban Come Lately.

 

Spurrier? That's a tough call. You are excited about replacing a 41-23 coach with one who is now 12-19? Spurrier didn't use Stephen Davis in Washington and then gave him to a Carolina team that went to the playoffs upon his back, and turned him into an MVP candidate. Spurrier would love to work here -- he has told me so in the past -- but you want Ricky Williams in the hands of a man who doesn't like to use running backs? When I wanted Spurrier here, the Dolphins didn't even have Williams and needed someone to make magic out of limited weapons.

 

(Speaking of Williams, he shouldn't play in Sunday's exhibition against the Jets. Not one down. He wants to play and Wannstedt wants his 10 wins, but playing him is irresponsible and dangerous. Can you imagine if Williams gets hurt in a game that doesn't matter? That's going to be Wannstedt's parting gift? I know. I know. There is a risk in Williams getting hurt crossing the street today. There would not be that risk, however, if you strap him to the bench and don't let him cross any streets with 300-pound cars that don't come with brakes, just breaks.)

 

Miami is a flawed, limited team. The offense needs major upgrades, including at quarterback, and the defense disappears too often against the best offensive teams. Most problematic for Wannstedt, though, is that his players complain about him an awful lot after losses and don't believe in him, his style or his assistants the way, say, the blind zealots in Dallas believe in Parcells. And Wannstedt certainly hasn't helped his cause by getting eliminated from the playoff race earlier and earlier in each of his four years -- and not doing much of anything once in them.

 

But perspective, please: This league is hard to stay afloat in, as last year's Super Bowl participants can attest and as geniuses Jon Gruden and Cowher can attest. Wannstedt could end this season with a .641 winning percentage in Miami that would put him among the NFL's top five winningest coaches the past four years. You don't just fire that without a better replacement in mind.

 

Tony Dungy got six years in Tampa Bay, not four, and his last four weren't as good record-wise as Wannstedt's last four. Steve Mariucci got six years in San Francisco, not four, and his last four years weren't nearly as good record-wise as Wannstedt's. Win Sunday and Wannstedt has three of the four 10-victories-or-more seasons Miami has had in the past decade. Win Sunday and Wannstedt becomes the first 10-win coach not to make the playoffs since 1991.

 

I've heard the outrage and anti-Wannstedt zealots, and I feel your pain.

 

But I'm sorry.

 

A record 17 games over .500 is not a fireable offense.

 

he makes good points and alot of the guys on the radio have made the same point, im starting to get swayed to their side. the man has had a good record and to stay constantly over .500 today in the NFL is almost impossible. maybe a GM who could put his foot down next time Dave wants to draft a Fletcher or sign a Thompson (the man is a bust, im totally convinced) is what we need. everybody wants to talk about the talent this team has, but how good could it really be with that horrible O-line and Jay (who's a decent QB but not a SB QB)as a QB?

 

let me know what you all think

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