Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano has changed his ways.
After the Dolphins lost their first six games, Sparano eased up in his players' routine and solicited their feedback on how to improve the gloomy mood. He made practices later, shorter and less rigorous. He even altered the way the team stretched.
A dramatic turnaround came one week later. After starting 0-7, the Dolphins have outscored opponents by 85 points while winning four of their past five games. The latest blowout came Sunday, when Miami beat AFC West leader Oakland 34-14.
The Dolphins remain last in the AFC East at 4-8, and reports persist that Sparano will be fired after the season. But the recent rebound will make owner Stephen Ross' decisions about offseason moves more difficult.