Glauber's Hot Reads: What is Ross thinking?

Bob Glauber

Newsday columnist Bob Glauber Bob Glauber

Glauber has been Newsday's national football columnist since 1992. He

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Dolphins owner Steve Ross was understandably upset at his team's 7-9 record in the regular season, especially its 1-7 record at home. And coach Tony Sparano understandably was on the hot seat, especially now that Bill Parcells, who hired Sparano from the Cowboys, has left the position of director of football operations.

But Ross handled himself poorly during the week, reaching out to high-profile coaching candidates such as Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden and Jim Harbaugh. Ross even flew to California to interview Harbaugh, who wound up taking the 49ers' head-coaching job.

Only one problem: While Ross was checking into the availability of the would-be head coaches, Sparano was left twisting in the wind.

Look, if you want to make a coaching change, fine. But if you're going to do it, then at least fire the coach you're looking to replace.

Instead, Ross struck out on all the high-profile head coaches and wound up keeping Sparano. That leaves Parcells' protege as the lamest of lame ducks heading into next season, and anything short of a playoff berth almost certainly will result in his ouster after the 2011 season.

To which we say: Why wait? You want to make a change, then go ahead and make it.

Harbaugh takes the reins

Jim Harbaugh experienced a coach's dream this past week, leading Stanford to a resounding win over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl and suddenly becoming the hottest NFL candidate in the land.

The Dolphins wanted him. The Broncos were interested. And Stanford desperately wanted to keep the former Bears and Colts quarterback. In the end, it was the 49ers who made the most sense for Harbaugh, who succeeded another former Bears player, Mike Singletary, as the team's head coach.

It's a good hire for the 49ers, who have been floundering since the glory days of the Bill Walsh-George Seifert years. And although there's no guarantee that Harbaugh's NFL playing experience will translate to the coaching ranks - Singletary's didn't - his experience at Stanford should help him in the transition.

But there's one thing Harbaugh needs before he can even think about turning this team around. It's the one thing the team hasn't had since Steve Young retired after the 1999 season: a franchise quarterback.

Jones aims for history

Former Jets running back Thomas Jones, who signed with the Chiefs last offseason after being released by the Jets, has scored five rushing touchdowns in seven career playoff games, including four for the Bears in their 2006 run to the Super Bowl and another for the Jets last season in a wild-card win over the Bengals.

Jones is back in the playoffs again this year with the Chiefs, and he can become the first player in NFL playoff history to score a rushing touchdown for three different teams.

Flacco joins select company

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco doesn't know what it's like not to be in the NFL playoffs.

Flacco has made it to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons, and he'll become only the fifth quarterback in NFL history to start a playoff game in his first three seasons. He joins former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar (1985-87), Hall of Fame quarterbacks Dan Marino of the Dolphins (1983-85) and Otto Graham of the Browns (1950-52), and Pat Haden of the Rams (1976-78).

Ravens coach John Harbaugh started his coaching career the same year as Flacco, and they're the first quarterback-coach duo to begin their NFL careers at the same time and get to the playoffs in each of their first three seasons.

Reed makes up for lost time

Ravens safety Ed Reed started the season on the physically unable to perform list with a hip problem, and there was some doubt as to whether he'd play at all this season. But the Ravens activated Reed after six weeks and the Pro Bowl safety made up for lost time by recording eight interceptions, good enough to lead the NFL in that category.

Reed, who squares off against the Chiefs in today's first-round matchup in Kansas City, has seven career playoff interceptions, tied for the third most in NFL history.