The Oakland Raiders have announced the hiring of former Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano as the team's assistant head coach and offensive line coach. Last season Sparano was the New York Jets offensive coordinator.
The hire for the Raiders is high profile considering Sparano as a head coach in the NFL. He coached the Dolphins to a AFC East division title in his first season after inheriting a 1-15 team the year before, but lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the wild card round. He spent four seasons as the head man in Miami after being hired by Bill Parcells, finishing with a 29-31 record. Prior to that, he spent five seasons as an offensive line and assistant head coach for the Dallas Cowboys.
In Oakland, he also receives the assistant head coach title. That could indicate he will have a large hand in the offense along with new offensive coordinator Greg Olson. Olson has a quarterback's coach background and Sparano has an offensive line coach background, which should mesh well. That would leave head coach Dennis Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver to run the defense, which is their backgrounds.
Sparano incorporated the wildcat formation into his offense in Miami with good success. That creativity should serve him well in Oakland with running back Darren McFadden and quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Pryor probably will not be the starter, but could be effective in packages within the offense. In his four years as head coach of the Dolphins, Sparano's teams finished 11th, 4th, 21st, and 11th in the NFL in rushing yards for the season.
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