Tony Sparano held a 16 minute conversation with the media after yesterdays OTA’s and below you will find the transcript from that press conference.
Mandatory OTA’s are going on now and it appears that the energy level is very high. So far it appears that the offense is looking more and more like an offense everyday. Both Josh McCown, who started yesterdays practice, and John Beck looked sharp in their delivery. Both QB’s stood out in practice. While this is only off-season work, the fact is that the guys on this team, coaches and players, seem to be working towards a goal that promotes team work and discipline.
A mandatory mini-camp begins on Friday.
Continue reading for the Sparano transcript.
(On if he can update Michael Lehan’s health status) – “I really can’t. We are going to have an x-ray taken at one o’clock. We are not sure exactly what the status is right now.”
(On if Lehan’s injury is an ankle) – “We’re not sure. We think it is an ankle.”
(On what an injury to Lehan would do to the secondary) – “Honestly, right now we are just rotating a lot of bodies through there, Michael being one of them. We need to get as many guys reps as we can get reps right now, specifically going into this weekend. If he is not in there – and we don’t know the severity of the injury one way or the other right now – but if Michael is not here, then it will just bump a couple of the young guys up a little bit. We’ll get a chance to see them a little bit more and get them a few more reps.”
(On David Kircus) – “I like what he has done right now. I really do. He is playing fast. He has come in here and he has gained some weight in the offseason program, which is something that we needed him to be able to do. He has gotten a lot bigger and a lot stronger this offseason and I think he has been catching the ball pretty well. I like the things that he has done right now. At that position, the more jobs you can do, the better off you are going to be and I think he has shown he can get down the field a little bit. We’ve seen him in the slot a little bit at times and now maybe in some special teams things as well. If he can start to do some of those things that will help us along the way.”
(On if Kircus views this as his last chance after encountering some off-the-field issues) – “There is no doubt about it. I don’t know about last chances or anything like that, but I do know that right now this is his chance here. He knows that. I think he is well aware of that. I think we’ve gone into that, again, with (General Manager) Jeff Ireland and all those things. He has a chance here. He knows it is a good opportunity and right now I like the things that he has done.”
(On if Ricky Williams has a solid work ethic) – “Yeah, he really does. I like what Ricky has done. He finishes every run. I think that’s important. Within his individual drills, I see the guy working hard to get better during these individual periods. I think the guy shows up each day and has a purpose when he practices. He wants to get better at something each and every day. When you sit down and you talk to him, he’ll tell you those things. I like where he is right now. He’s used this offseason very well. We’re at the end of 10 weeks or whereabouts, or into the 11th week right now of this offseason program and he has been at every workout, which is going to be really good, I think, for him down the road and for us.”
(On if he sees Ronnie Brown learning from Ricky Williams) – “The good thing about Ronnie and Ricky’s relationship right now is that they are not afraid, neither one of them, to exchange a lot of information with each other. I think that as Ronnie has not taken the Team (practice period) reps, he’s getting a chance to see Ricky run and watch from behind a little bit and learn maybe what Ricky is seeing from the backfield and I think that’s important. I think there are some things there. Also in the meeting rooms, they are both pretty intelligent guys and do a nice job exchanging information. I think they sit with one another and they’ll share information that way and learn a little bit. I think that is positive.”
(On how skeptical he was of Ricky Williams before coaching him) – “That is an interesting question because I did have some background, just some information, on Ricky. I coached with Jason Garrett and, as you know, Jason was here. We spoke about Ricky a couple times during this whole process and even when we were in Dallas we exchanged information, just Jason and myself a couple times. I knew the kind of teammate that Ricky would be here and I knew the kind of person that he was when I came in here. I had a pretty good idea and he’s been everything that they told me he was. I think he has really been a hell of a guy in the locker room right now and he has been a real solid guy out on this field. I am pleased.”
(On if he regrets saying Jason Taylor would not be at training camp) – “I don’t regret it, no. The information I had then is the information I have now. I don’t regret saying that, but that is the last I’ll say about it.”
(On his discussions with Jason Taylor) – “The discussion that Jason and I had was a very good discussion that he and I had. It was a good visit. A lot of it will stay between Jason and I, but as I said last night, and I’ll say again, I wanted to make it clear to Jason that we, as an organization, wanted Jason back here and that I was anxious to see him running around out here with his teammates. I think Jason left with a pretty clear understanding of that from my end.”
(On if, as far he knows, Jason Taylor will not be at training camp) – “Nothing has changed from my end.”
(On if the team will fine Jason Taylor if he does not attend this weekend’s mini-camp) – “That is between Jason and I and I think Jason understands and knows my feelings on that. It is between Jason and I. Those things, the fines, any of those kinds of things, whatever happens down the road with those things will stay between myself and the player.”
(On what his response is to a veteran that thinks he does not need training camp) – “I think from a coaching standpoint, I think it is plain and simple. We are out here trying to get better each and every day trying to push these guys. I would say to walk into the locker room and to ask some of the veteran players who are here right now with what we are doing, ask them that question. We are going a million miles an hour. We are trying to coach these guys. I think there is some information there that can be gathered no different than Ricky (Williams) and Ronnie (Brown) sharing it together. There is information that people can get from one another. There is a lot of information you can get from your coaches when it’s a new system, but that is really my feeling.”
(On his thoughts on the wide receiver corps) – “I like the way the group is coming together. From practice one to right now, which was the end of practice 10 or 11 here, I like the way the group has come together. We are starting to see roles defined just a little bit more maybe and starting to see some guys do different things. I like the way there is solid interaction there between some of the guys we brought in – the (David) Kircus’, the (Ernest) Wilfords, those people – and then, of course some of the guys that were here. I like the way the group is coming together. We have big receivers. We have some speed guys. I think that is important. We’re starting to figure out a little bit about third down as we get on here, but we have a lot of work to do, a lot left.
(On if Greg Camarillo still fits in the plan) – “Right now we have 80 players out there that are practicing and every one of them that is practicing right now, one way or the other, we have a vision for him. He is a guy we have a vision for, sure. Why not? At the end of this, the best players are going to play. They know that. We are going to let them compete and the best players are going to play.”
(On if the team has a timetable for Ronnie Brown to increase his workload) – “Not a real timetable, no. Certainly not. We are going to be cautious with Ronnie during this process, but as you can see, you were out there today, he has done a little bit more. He is certainly doing a little bit more than when we first came here and the first practice. Each one of these practices, Ronnie has been able to do a little bit more and that’s been good for us and been good for Ronnie.”
(On the quarterback position) – “Here is what I see right now – each day I go out here, I see another guys kind of step up. It hasn’t been a consistent progression right now. In several periods that are out here, you may see someone step up and grab the period and take control of the period. We just need to see consistency and I think the more situations that we put them in – today we worked in the red zone and we worked in the two-minute situations – the more of those things we see, the more situations we put them in will tell us a little bit more. I like where they are right now. I like their grasp – all three of them – quite honestly, I like their grasp of the offense. They are working real hard at it. Last week wasn’t a week of practice, but they were in here spending extra time and learning what we are doing and getting ready to go for this week and it shows when they are out there on the field. They are starting to understand what we are doing and they are able to play a little faster and that is going to help us as we get on with this progression.”
(On if Joey Porter will be used more as a pass rusher or more a classic linebacker) – “Depending on what we are doing out there, whether we are truly the three-man line or the four-man line, dictates a lot of that. In the three-man line the Sam linebacker has got to be able to play the run, but he can be a pass rusher as well. We know what we think Joey’s strengths are and I know the guy has been a solid run defender and he has been able to rush the passer. We just like to keep our players moving forward and I think on defense we want to make sure they are moving forward and I think the guys will tell you that they feel that out there right now. I like where Joey is within our package.”
(On Tab Perry and if he wanted him to take some of the return duties from Ted Ginn so Ginn could focus more on receiver) – “No, we need to win games. Special teams is an area where we think we can win games so the best people are going to go back there. They are going to return kicks. The best guy returning punts. The best guy returning kicks will be the guy that goes back there. If that ends up being Ted, so be it. Ted knows, no different than anybody else, the more jobs you can do here, the better off that we are going to be. With that being said, Tab’s (injury) was the initial question and as far as changing the dynamics, Tab was brought here to compete at receiver, first and foremost, and then he was a special teams player. The injury is unfortunate that we don’t have him and we really didn’t have that much time to evaluate him one way or the other out here on the field.”
(On if he gets nervous with someone as light as Ted Ginn returning kicks) – “Not if he can score touchdowns.”
(On Kory Robertson) – “I visited with Kory and Kory is not here anymore, right now. That situation is still being resolved as we speak. I sat down, I visited with him and sometimes a player identifies with the fact that he just can’t do it or maybe he doesn’t want to do it anymore.”
(On what makes him think Quentin Moses can stand up and be a linebacker) – “When we watched him in the film that you see, you see some quickness, you see some pass-rush abilities and some of those things, but really some athleticism. Quentin is a guy who I have really been intrigued with right now as I watched him practice. He does have enough speed to get around the edge. He has been a guy that has played with his hand down in the ground for a long time so he can do that for us if it is the four-man line that we end up with or in our nickel situation. He has some value, he can do some jobs, but his athleticism, his quickness, those types of things to turn the corner is really what we’ve seen. Now he has done a great job in the offseason program and he has gotten stronger. I think for pass rushers, strength when you get around the edge, the ability to bend a little bit, those kinds of things, that’s important.”
(On what the team knew about Matt Spanos before signing him) – “We knew about him. We looked at him in the draft, certainly. We knew enough about him, but having the ability to get him out here now and get a chance to evaluate him, we know a lot more about him as we are going on right now. Matt is a big, strong kid that can play in the middle. He is an intelligent guy so he gives you a big body in there in the middle that’s pretty smart and take control of some of those things.”
(On if he is surprised that Matt Spanos was not drafted, especially being part of the line was on at USC) – “I don’t know. There was a bunch of guys taken off of that team, one way or the other, but surprised I wouldn’t say. I am never surprised with the draft, nothing that comes out of it.”
(On if the mandatory mini-camp this weekend has any added significance) – “I think this weekend, honestly for us as coaches, it’s just been a pretty consistent progression from practice one through, so we are using this as another install day as we get on in this. Friday is an install day, Saturday is an install day, Sunday. When you get out there and it is a mandatory function and it is the first mandatory mini-camp that you have, I think there is some excitement to it. I think the players are excited. They also know right now that by the end of this that we’ll have a pretty large portion of what we’re all about, in. That will be really the first full time around the horn for them that way. I think they are starting to get excited about some of the things that are happening and some of the situations they have been placed out here and been able to compete a little bit in.”
(On why the team rotated the practice fields) – “We took a look at it, I guess to save grass. It’s way above me right now as far as understanding any of those things, but I think we think it saves the grass a little bit in changing the fields this way. We took a shot