Sparano Watch: Must-win vs. Broncos?

Following the Dolphins' 24-6 loss Monday to the New York Jets, I called it the beginning of the end for head coach Tony Sparano. It turns out the end could come sooner than expected, according to a report Wednesday in the Miami Herald.

Citing a source close Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, the Herald reports Sparano's job could be in jeopardy if winless Miami (0-5) loses to the equally downtrodden Denver Broncos (1-4) Sunday. This is a home game the Dolphins could -- and perhaps should -- win.

But if Miami lays another egg, it will be a strong signal to ownership that Sparano is not capable of turning this team around this year. Dating to last season, Sparano has lost eight straight games. The Dolphins haven’t won since Dec. 12, 2010.

A win against Denver could quiet speculation for at least a week. But barring a miraculous and unexpected turnaround, the Dolphins are headed for change in 2012.

If Sparano is let go during the season, veteran defensive coordinator Mike Nolan most likely would take over the Dolphins on an interim basis. Nolan spent four seasons as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 2005-2008.