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All of a sudden, Dolphins coach Sparano could be off hot seat

It wasn't long ago that the Dolphins were 0-7, and coach Tony Sparano was on a scorching hot seat.

But now that the Dolphins have won four of their last five -- including Sunday's 34-14 blowout of the Raiders -- how much has that seat cooled off? Miami players hope completely.

"He needs to stay, man," linebacker Karlos Dansby said Monday, according to The Associated Press. "I'm going to push for him. We just started slow. We have a great coach. He knows what it takes now to put us in a position to win ballgames. It just takes time, man. Rome wasn't built in one day. Can't turn your back on him right now. Can't do it. Got to let him stay."

To the coach's credit, his players attribute their turnaround to Sparano's open mind. He listened to their feedback on how to deal with the dismal start -- later, shorter, lighter practices, for starters. That has created a whole new attitude in the locker room.

"We've relaxed a lot of things," linebacker Jason Taylor said. "Tony has made a lot of changes, and I think from Wednesday through Sunday, our whole attitude has changed. Our whole demeanor is changed. Our swagger has changed. This team is a lot looser now and not playing uptight, not preparing uptight, not acting uptight. And that shows on Sunday."

Just when Dolphins ownership might have thought it'd be easy to dump Sparano, not so fast. Or is that still the inevitable outcome after the season?

"I know there's a lot of speculation," Taylor said. "It means nothing to us. I don't think you can find a guy in the locker room that's really worried about it, including Tony.

"I haven't met a tougher guy than Tony. He's like Teflon Don right now. Everything just falls off his back, and he keeps going about his business and could care less what people say. ... You may not like us, you may be upset that we're winning, but we really don't give a damn."

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