The seat is getting hotter for Dolphins' Sparano

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The seat is getting hotter for Dolphins' Sparano

From Comcast SportsNet

DAVIE, Fla. (AP)Linebacker Karlos Dansby says the Miami Dolphins are playing to save coach Tony Sparanos job, which might mean hes doomed.

Sparano began the season on borrowed time, and an 0-3 start has left his status even more shaky. With tough road assignments looming in the next two games against the Chargers and Jets, Sparanos players acknowledged the urgent need for a turnaround.

Were putting him in a tough situation, Dansby said Monday. Weve got to play better. Right now his job is on the line, and weve got to do a better job of defending it for him. Were the only ones who can.

One day after a 17-16 loss Sunday at Cleveland, Sparano talked with reporters for 20 minutes but addressed his job insecurity only briefly.

I dont know anything about that, he said. Im getting ready for the San Diego Chargers.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross hasnt commented. Ross embarked on a public courtship with Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh after last season, and when talks fizzled, Sparano received an extension through 2013.

But for Sparano to keep his job that long, the Dolphins need to start winning. Among those attending the game in Cleveland was Ross good friend Carl Peterson, the former Kansas City Chiefs general manager, and his presence might have been a hint the owner is considering changes.

Including last season, Miami has dropped six games in a row. Problems range from penalties, a feeble pass rush and red zone inefficiency to mangled syntax.

Were going to find out what kind of team this team is, quarterback Chad Henne said after the game. He misspoke when he added, I know one thing about these guys: Theyre not going to stop quitting.

Or words to that effect. However, linebacker Kevin Burnett said things could go downhill fast.

At this point its going to be, which road are we going to take? Burnett said Monday. Are we going to take the road of pointing fingers and saying, You, you, you, or, Its the coach? Or are we going to take the road of saying, OK, were going to stick together, get fixed the things we need to get fixed, and find some way to pull out a win.

The defeat at Cleveland was the Dolphins closest game this season, which made it perhaps the toughest loss. Miami dominated all afternoon before folding at the finish.

Colt McCoy completed 10 passes in the first 56 12 minutes, then completed nine during an 80-yard touchdown drive that gave the Browns their first lead. The Dolphins defense turned soft at the worst possible time.

Thats where I expect some of the closers, some of the big-play players, to make those kind of plays, Sparano said. Ive got to find out who the closers are. I know who some of them should be.

When Miami reached midfield with a chance to pull the game out in the final minute, Henne threw three consecutive incompletions and then an interception.

It was part of a familiar pattern for Henne, who started the game 15 for 17 and went 4 for 12 the rest of the way. His passer rating is a career-best 82.4 but only 48.7 in fourth quarter, when he tends to struggle most.

As is Sparanos custom, he defended the quarterback.

He gave us a chance to win, the coach said.

A more meager contribution came from running back Reggie Bush, who rushed for 24 yards in 11 carries and fumbled twice. Through three games Bush has yet to make the impact anticipated, totaling just 80 yards rushing and 71 receiving.

The other offensive playmaker, Brandon Marshall, has only one touchdown. The Dolphins are scoring 17.6 points a game, almost identical to last year, when Ross complained the offense needed to be more dynamic and exciting.

But the most glaring statistic is zero wins, creating a gloomy mood at the Dolphins complex.

I know the work put in by the coaching staff and this team, Sparano said. My greatest frustration is not seeing them smile. I want to see the guys smile.

Badgers linebacker Vince Biegel to reportedly miss big game vs. Michigan

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Badgers linebacker Vince Biegel to reportedly miss big game vs. Michigan

Wisconsin will reportedly be without one of its top defensive players for Saturday's big showdown with Michigan.

According to ESPN's Jesse Temple, Biegel will miss this weekend's game — and several more — after surgery to put a screw into his foot. This according to Biegel's father, Rocky.

Biegel's father said that his son is expected to miss two to four weeks, though the surgery was done now to avoid a full break in his foot that would sideline him for a longer period of time.

The loss of Biegel adds more bad injury news for a Wisconsin team not exactly playing at full strength.

Just Thursday, the Badgers announced that kicker Rafael Gaglianone will miss the remainder of the season with a back injury. Another starting linebacker, Chris Orr, suffered a season-ending injury in the team's season-opening game. And Wisconsin has been dealing with injury issues at the running back position throughout the season's first few weeks, with Corey Clement sitting out against Georgia State and both Bradrick Shaw and Taiwan Deal not playing against Michigan State.

Losing Biegel, though, is an especially tough blow. A leader of the defense, the senior has racked up 156 tackles in 46 career games with 35.5 tackles for loss, 18.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. This season, he's made nine tackles with two tackles for loss and a sack in four games.

The Wisconsin defense has been one of the nation's best, currently ranking seventh in the country in scoring defense (11.8 points per game) and 12th in total defense (277 yards per game).

After wins over top-10 LSU and Michigan State teams in the season's first four weeks, the eighth-ranked Badgers take on the fourth-ranked Wolverines on Saturday in Ann Arbor.

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