Ricky: Dolphins coach was no fun

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:42 AM ET

The sharks are circling in Miami.

The blood is in the water after the Dolphins finished a second consecutive 7-9 season.

Running back Ricky Williams, whose contract has expired and will be playing elsewhere next season, is critical of coach Tony Sparano, saying that he lost the locker room and that the team wasn't prepared for its season finale -- a wipeout at the hands of the Patriots.

Meantime, receiver Brandon Marshall took another shot at quarterback Chad Henne on a sports radio talk show. Henne is likely history as the club's quarterback.

Sparano looks like he might also be shark bait. Just two seasons after leading the team to a division title in his rookie season, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is finding the lure of a big-name coach difficult to resist.

The Happy Gang these guys are not. Sparano is being run out of town; Marshall appears to want out of town and Williams can't wait to get out of town.

The Miami Herald reports that the team has had talks with former Steelers coach Bill Cowher and current Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, who is also kanoodling with the 49ers and now on John Elway's radar in Denver.

Miami GM Jeff Ireland and Ross watched Harbaugh direct Stanford to its 40-12 Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech Tuesday and they also spent time talking to Jon Gruden.

ESPN reports that Cowher, the longtime Steelers coach, has the Dolphins atop his coaching wish list. The source said Cowher was willing to return to the NFL after four years in broadcasting but only for a select number of teams.

The Houston Texans and New York Giants also were on the list, the source said, but both of those teams chose to retain their coaches for the 2011 season.

Williams' time in Miami is done. He ran for 673 yards becoming the franchise's career leader in rushing attempts Sunday when he passed Larry Csonka. But the season wasn't a happy farewell tour. Playing for Sparano was "not a great fit for me," he told the Palm Beach Post.

"It was an experience for me, and I learned a lot about myself and I got better as a football player, but at the same time, I didn't enjoy it," Williams said on a Miami radio show.

With his owner already looking to see if he can find someone better, this is not the kind of support Sparano needs. When they weren't dissing the coach or his staff, the Dolphins have been at each others throats.

Marshall has expressed displeasure with the team's offence since the season finale. He said he wasn't on the same page as Henne all year.

" Tyler (Thigpen) gets it a little more," Marshall said of Henne's backup. What he's saying is that Henne didn't get the ball to him in single coverage often enough.

"He (Thigpen) had an opportunity to play with Dwayne Bowe in Kansas City and they made some plays out there so I guess he understands throwing the ball to a big receiver a little more than Chad Henne," Marshall said.

Truth is, until Matt Cassel hit him this season, Dwayne Bowe was playing his way out of the league. Or, to be more succinct, not playing. But why quibble. The point is Marshall is unhappy and so it seems are a lot of the other minor fish in the pond.

There doesn't seem any way that the Dolphins can put Henne and Marshall on the field and expect a happy ending. Something in Miami has to change before next season and it appears those changes might start at the top with Sparano.

HOLE IN THE WALL

Brett Favre isn't the only big change coming to the Vikings.

Pat Williams and fellow tackle Kevin Williams have anchored the Vikings' run defence for the better part of the last decade, earning a combined eight Pro Bowl selections, including three straight between 2006-09.

But at age 38 Pat is nearing the end of his career, his contract is up and he likely won't be back. The Williams Wall is coming down.

"It might be tough in the middle for me," Kevin said about Pat's probable departure. He wants one last chance to play, even if its not in a starting role, for a Super Bowl contender.

"From Day 1, we've been best friends, practically brothers from the jump," said Kevin.

QUICK HITS

Bills coach Chan Gailey would not rule out the potential off-season release of Lee Evans Wednesday. "I doubt it," told reporters, "but I'm not gonna say anything's impossible." Evans, 30, is coming off the worst statistical season of his career as Steve Johnson became Buffalo's No. 1 receiver ... Chiefs coach Todd Haley announced that Bowe missed Wednesday's practice due to an "illness." He was seen limping after Sunday's game ... Redskins London Fletcher, 36, intends to play a 14th season in 2011. He dropped from the second in the league to seventh in tackles (136) this season... Jaguars' Maurice Jones-Drew played with a torn right meniscus almost all season.


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