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Dolphins owner Ross to meet with Sparano, Ireland this week

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross will be in Florida on Monday, and he plans to meet with coach Tony Sparano and general manager Jeff Ireland at some point this week, according to a team source.

Ross has been out of the country and didn't attend Sunday's game, a 38-7 loss to the New England Patriots. The Dolphins might have been playing for Sparano's job, but they crumbled in a fitting end to a dud of a season.

Neither Chad Henne nor Tyler Thigpen could do much with the offense as Miami fell behind 38-0 before a late touchdown helped the team avert its second shutout of the season.

"We don't want to be in this position again, and we shouldn't forget what just happened to us out there," said Sparano, who looks forward to meeting with Ross and sharing his ideas for improving the Dolphins. "It's not a good place to be, and we did it to ourselves."

Sparano, who has one year left on his contract, led the Dolphins to the playoffs in 2008 -- his first season as an NFL head coach -- for their only postseason appearance since 2001. But Miami is 14-18 since then.

"He is such a good coach," Dolphins cornerback Benny Sapp said of Sparano. "You just hate to see it go down like that, especially when (he) works so hard during the week getting us motivated."

The Patriots (14-2) already had clinched home-field advantage through the AFC playoffs, and the Dolphins had long been eliminated from postseason contention. But Miami (7-9) came into Sunday's game with a chance to finish .500 and end the season with a win that could help make the case for keeping Sparano.

Instead, the Dolphins' defense gave up touchdowns on two of the Patriots' first three possessions. And, after scoring on Julian Edelman's 94-yard punt return near the end of the first half, New England opened the second half with two quick touchdown drives to make it 38-0.

Only the Patriots' benevolence kept the game that close, with backup quarterback Brian Hoyer leading a 9-minute, 35-second drive to eat up most of the fourth quarter before New England ran the ball on fourth-and-9 from the Miami 19 instead of attempting a field goal.

"It was difficult, frustrating, disappointing and embarrassing. It was all those things," Dolphins defensive lineman Kendall Langford said of the loss. "We let each other down, the coaching staff and the organization. What went on out there is not acceptable at all."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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