Dolphins fire special teams coach

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 2:54 PM ET

DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano has fired special teams coach John Bonamego in the wake of Monday's disastrous performance by the unit a 41-14 loss to New England.

The Dolphins held a 7-6 lead at halftime, but the special teams unit then fell apart in a matter of minutes and allowed the Patriots to take control.

First, Brandon Tate took the second-half kickoff 103 yards for the go-ahead touchdown and after the Dolphins went three-and-out on offence, Brandon Fields had a punt blocked by Patrick Chung that led to a short Patriots scoring drive for a 20-7 lead.

Things didn't improve much for Bonamego's squad in the first minute of the fourth, as Chung broke through the line and blocked Dan Carpenter's 53-yard field goal attempt. New England's Kyle Arrington scooped up the ball after the block and raced to the end zone to give the Pats a 34-14 advantage.

With a bye week at hand, Sparano decided to make the change.

"I truly appreciate everything that Bono has done for us," Sparano said Tuesday. "I think he's an outstanding coach and a helluva person and a really good friend. It's a hard decision to make because he's a helluva guy and I know how hard this guy works. Nobody works harder than him at what he does."

The Dolphins also had a punt blocked in a Week 3 loss to the New York Jets.

"Special teams is a hard area because I think there are a lot of hands involved in that area," Sparano added. "What I mean is players have some responsibility in that area, too, and players change a lot in that area. So our players also need to take responsibility."

Bonamego was in his third season as Miami's special teams coach. He was also the special teams coach for Jacksonville, Green Bay and New Orleans before joining Sparano's staff.

To fill the vacancy, Sparano promoted Darren Rizzi from assistant special teams coach to special teams coordinator.

Rizzi, a former head coach on the collegiate level at Rhode Island and New Haven, is in his second season with the Dolphins.


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