Dolphins owner: Sparano remains 'the right coach'

MIAMI -- The Miami Dolphins have had five coaches since 2004, and now they're giving stability a try.

Owner Stephen Ross said Monday he's sticking with Tony Sparano. The vote of confidence for the embattled coach came as the Dolphins began their bye week Monday with an 0-4 record and the NFL's longest losing streak at seven games.

"I am very disappointed, to put it mildly," Ross said in an interview on the Dolphins' flagship radio station, WINZ-AM.

"But I think that we have to stay together and really get behind our coach. I believe that Tony is the right coach. I think all the games we have played have been really close. We could have gone either way. When you see the team practicing and playing as hard as they can, I think that's a good sign, but certainly, we have to see better results."

The public comments were the first by Ross since the start of training camp.

A 26-16 loss Sunday at San Diego intensified questions about Sparano's future. Miami is 0-4 for third time in recent seasons, and the other times the coach was gone by January - Dave Wannstedt in 2004 and Cam Cameron in 2007.

"Everybody talks about changes, and that they would change things around," Ross said. "If you look at the winning teams, they're consistent and stay the course. You go through rough periods. I think we have a lot of talent.

"I think most important of the players really believe in Tony. As long as the players believe in Tony and they're playing hard for him, and with the talent we have, we are going to win our share of ballgames."

Sparano does remain popular with his players, who have blamed themselves for the sorry state of the season. While there will apparently be no coaching switch this week, shake-ups elsewhere are likely before Miami's next game Oct. 17 against the New York Jets.

"We've got to look at it from a coaching standpoint and a players' standpoint," Sparano said following Sunday's game. "We have to look at some of the things we're asking them to do. Then we've got to look at some of the people that are doing it."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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