Karlos Dansby admits the Miami Dolphins are playing to save coach Tony Sparano's job, which might mean he's 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 San Diego Chargers and New York Jets, Sparano's players acknowledged the urgent need for a turnaround.
"We're putting him in a tough situation," Dansby said Monday. "We've got to play better. Right now, his job is on the line, and we've got to do a better job of defending it for him. We're the only ones who can."
Though a Sunday report indicated that Sparano wouldn't be fired before the Dolphins' Week 4 game against the Chargers, the coach's future with the team has become a frequent topic of speculation.
One day after a 17-16 loss Sunday at Cleveland, Sparano talked with reporters for 20 minutes but only briefly addressed his job insecurity.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross hasn't commented on Sparano's status. Ross embarked on a public courtship with then-Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh after last season, and after talks fizzled, Sparano received a contract extension through 2013.
"At this point, it's 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, 'It's the coach'? Or are we going to take the road of saying, 'OK, we're going to stick together, get fixed the things we need to get fixed, and find some way to pull out a win.' "
The Associated Press contributed to this report.