Paul Pasqualoni Sacked: Why the Miami Dolphins Fired Their Defensive Coordinator

Sam DeerhillContributor IJanuary 12, 2010

MIAMI - 2009:  Paul Pasqualoni of the Miami Dolphins poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by NFL Photos)
NFL Photos/Getty Images

The news from Miami is coming out as quickly as a dolphin jumping through a hoop at a local seaquarium. Defensive Coordinator Paul Pasqualoni was fired and without little warning that has taken Dolphin land by surprise.

I've analyzed the numbers top to bottom, which I'm sure Coach Tony Sparano has done, and I think I know why the former Syracuse head coach got sacked on the one-man blitz. If you look at the numbers in Pasqualoni's two years, you will see they are about the same. The numbers got a little worse this year, but not dramatically. Nevertheless, this is why Sparano fired him.

After the season ended, Sparano said, "I told the players that 7-9 is mediocre and that mediocre is not going to be accepted here. It's just not.'' Perhaps these words, although aimed at the players, foreshadowed Pasqualoni dismissal.

Take a look at the stats and see for yourself. Of course, to do this effectively, compare 2009 to 2008—Pasqualoni's first season in Miami.

Defensive Category20082009
Points per game19.824.4
Yards per game329349.3
Rush Yards per game101.3114.7
Pass Yards per game227.8234.6
Interceptions TD21
Forced Fumbles1411
Defensive TD22
Pass Deflected8283

Even more telling, though, is where the Dolphins defense has gone in a span of 12 months.

Rank amongst NFL Teams20082009
Points Allowed926
Total Defense1522
Rush Defense1018
Pass Defense2524

My guess is that Sparano wanted so much to improve in the area of pass defense; after all, they drafted two cornerbacks, including first rounder Vontae Davis and a safety. In addition, they signed Gibril Wilson, who turned out to be a huge bust.

That said, though, Sparano was not going to allow those specific pass defensive stats to stay at that level. In fact, they slipped a bit. Couple that with a drastic slide in rush defense and giving up more points, and you have the magic potion that crystallizes into a pink slip for their defensive coordinator.

I agree with Sparano's move. You cannot afford to be complacent in the NFL—especially if last offseason's main goal suffered a setback.

What do you think?