Sparano Transcripts


Click the “Continue Reading” link below to see a transcript (provided by the Sun-Sentinel) of this mornings PC with HC Tony Sparano.

This transcript of comments made by Dolphins Head Coach Tony Sparano was made on Sunday at prepractice. The transcript was prepared and supplied by the Dolphins organization.

(On what he saw from watching film last night) – “I thought that after watching the afternoon practice that I was a lot more pleased then I was with the morning practice. To be honest with you, I thought the morning practice was what you would expect from the first practice. A lot of guys out here were maybe trying to get used to the heat a little bit and trying to feel their way around. We addressed that in between practices. In the afternoon practice I thought we played a lot faster and they competed a lot better in the afternoon.”

(On the injuries to Steve McKinney and Donald Thomas) — “McKinney was the furthest away, the most recent knee injury if you will when we had him. He was cleared and his progression is a little bit slower so we’re taking it just a little bit slower. We rehabbed him in the afternoon and practice him in the morning. He’ll practice again out here today. Donald Thomas was just a cramp.”

(On yesterday’s roster moves were typical early on in training camp) — “The policy is that we make our football team as good a team as we can make our team before we get to the Jets game. As we get into the season, that will remain the same one way or the other. Meaning that if there are some players out there, ok, that maybe are going to be able to help our team one way or the other we might have to turn the bottom of this roster. That’s kind of a work in progress. It depends on what’s out there at the time and if we think that a player can come in and can help our team that way. Obviously we did place a large emphasis on the offseason program. That was important. We may have had a couple of guys that came in here that didn’t meet quiet the standard that way as well. Always, whenever we do anything, it’s with the roster in mind and trying to improve this roster.”

(On his theory of sending messages to players and if it’s important for a first-year coach) — “I think, and this is the way I learned it, that when you get too secure in your job, you probably don’t do your job as well as you should. I don’t know. You guys do your job and I think you probably want to do your job with a little bit of an edge. Ok? We’re jockeying microphones here right now so somebody wants to do their job with a little bit of an edge and get an edge. I think the same. I feel like as a coach, I coach a lot better when I’m on edge. Ok? When I’m not settled. I think the players; I feel the same way about. So giving them challenges, doing some of those things that way, I think kind of keeps them on edge a little bit and I think that’s good for us right now.”

(On the role rookie defensive end Phillip Merling will play on the defense) — “Again, we’ll watch a little bit more out here but obviously we did a lot of studying with Phil for the draft and we hope that he’s going be a pressure player for us, a guy that can create some pressure and get some rush on the quarterback that way. I love him movement. I think the guy moves really well out there. He’s got a nice knack with his hands. He can get off a block. He doesn’t stay blocked for long periods of time that way, which is a great quality when you’re inside as a defensive lineman. Some of those defensive linemen can get stuck to you. He’s not one of those guys. You hope that when you’re watching the game at the end of this with a guy like a Merling, you see statistically you feel him a little bit.”

(On if free agent WR Anthony Armstrong was on the teams radar because he played for the Dallas Desperados of the AFL) — “It was Jeff (Ireland). Jeff knew about him there because he did play for the Desperados. The one thing we knew with Anthony is that he can run. He really can run. So when we had the opportunity, again, you’re looking for speed. There was an opportunity to bring a guy in with speed that we did have some knowledge of and we took a shot on him, we brought him in and worked him out and we signed him.”

(On what excites him most about Quentin Moses and his conversion from defensive end) — “Quentin’s pass rush ability. I’ve seen Quentin turn the corner a few times and that’s what you look for in a rusher. The good rushers they can turn the corner. They can get small when they turn the corner that way and create havoc for a tackle. It’s real hard when you can bend like that for that tackle to get his hands on you and turn the edge that way. It shortens the pocket for the quarterback tremendously. I see that in Quentin a little bit. He does a good job with his hands. I see a little bit of burst right now. It’s still early to tell with him. We need to see it in games and we need to see it out there certainly a lot more. I like what I see so far.”

(On what he’s seen out of first overall pick Jake Long that surprises him) — “Yeah, maybe just a little bit. I think what surprised me just a little bit with Jake is I knew his run blocking ability and I knew that this kid, and I think we all did, we knew that he could play left tackle. His feet are really pretty good and when he gets out into space these are the things that he does really well. I think he can adjust in space at the second level and do some of those things. If you can find a couple of linemen that can play at the second level and that sounds easy and you would think, ‘Well this is the NFL‘. That’s not the case. The second level is not a good comfort zone for linemen. When you can find them out there that can play at the second level that will help your team.”

(On what in Dallas impressed him about Trey Darilek) – “Honestly, the first thing that I saw in Trey when we worked him out in Dallas, and again I had him in my room for a year there, not a whole year but a training camp, we let Trey go at the end of that. What I did see in Trey was toughness and it’s a quality that I like. In fact I told my team today there’s a few ways you make this team one of the ways that you’re going to make this team is if you’re a tough guy. And with Trey I did notice his toughness early on. What I wasn’t aware of because I didn’t know the player as well, I wasn’t aware of how smart a guy he is. And when you can find that, it gives you great roster flexibility on game day. If you can find some linemen where you don’t have to take eight linemen necessarily to a game, you have the ability to maybe to take seven linemen because you have a couple of guys that can play what I call ‘a two-holes.’ The tackles can flop or you got an inside guy that can play three position that way. It gives you great roster flexibility. Maybe you take seven linemen and you get an extra body. You take eight linemen you lose a body on game day. That helps us a little bit and that was something that intrigued me when I first saw Trey and I got to know him. That he did have that flexibility.”

(On how many positions can Trey Darilek play) – “I think he can play, right now, and again just working him, the center position right now is the position that he’s got the least amount of work at as we speak. But we did work him in our camps earlier on in spring at center. I think the guy can possibly play three positions right now.”

(On the fullback battle) – “Well the fullback battle is interesting because it’s a hard position in this league to find. I think when you’re looking for fullbacks you don’t see a lot of them on the street, and if you find one, most times the team is going to keep them for a long time. With our guys, these two players (Boomer Grigsby and Reagan Mauia) are both converted players. They both played on the other side of the ball at one point. So the mentality, they have a defensive mentality, which is important when you’re playing that position. Now both of them are intelligent guys and that’s important when you’re playing the position on offense because of the protection, the run game, all of the things that go along with it, the pass game, they have to be involved in that way as well. That will be an interesting competition. We got a little look at it yesterday, its only day seeing them in pads, but as we get on in this they get a lot of swings, they get a lot of at bats out there as fullbacks. We’ll get a chance to see a bunch of it, and I think it will separate itself really pretty clearly.”

(On if when he was in Dallas they kept two fullbacks) – “No, we really didn’t keep two fullbacks. It’s hard to keep two fullbacks that way, but special teams is a key factor. In Dallas, our fullback was a special teams player and a pretty good one. Early on through the nature of the position because of the grind of the position from bumps and bruises; all of a sudden maybe you couldn’t use him on special teams as much one way or the other. But here, I know Boomer has played special teams and Reagan is working with our special teams right now, so that will be important for whoever makes this team. The fullback will need to be able to contribute on that area.”

(On how much ground Chad Henne needs to make up) – “I was pleased with him yesterday. He came in, he came out to practice, and he didn’t have the first install, but when he came out he was up, obviously out here yesterday, and he did a pretty nice job with the practice schedule. But he did have to go back and did have to take a look obviously with David Lee and Dan (Henning) at what we did in the early practice. And I’m sure he spent some time last night that way. Getting him in when we got him in and that was important for us and getting him here now, he didn’t really lose much time.”

(On plan for the quarterbacks at today’s practice) – “Were going to talk about it right now actually we have a 12 o’clock meeting in there, but I believe it will be (John) Beck and (Chad) Henne today, I believe.”

(On the tight end position battle) – “Right now, the tight end position is an interesting position because again you’re looking for a guy who can maybe do two things and it’s hard to find right now in this league. The more you go on, that on-the-line-of-scrimmage ‘Y’ player that just can block and knock you off the football, those guys you are not finding as much in college anymore. You are starting to find a pass receiver where they kind of are splitting them out and doing some things that way so you got to make them a tight end. (Anthony) Fasano is a guy that we know, and I know what I’m going to get when I get to the game with Anthony. Anthony gives you flexibility because he can play two positions, he can play ‘Y’ and he can play ‘F’. David Martin, we’re getting to know a little bit more right now and I know him throughout his history in the league and I know that he’s a guy that can play on the line of scrimmage and maybe can get out in space as well. Sean Ryan I know, obviously, with my history with Sean. He’s a more of an on-the-line-of-scrimmage type player and with (Justin) Peelle, I have history with him, (Aaron) Halterman. So we have a couple of guys in the mix there that I think are going to be guys that need to show us a couple of different dimensions. You need to see a guy that can help you on special teams, and then also help you on the line of scrimmage or that can move a little bit, or maybe even play in the backfield.”

(On Charlie Anderson) – “We talked about it yesterday; I think one of the things with Charlie is just being hungry for the opportunity, first of all. But more importantly it comes down to more than that. It comes down to what we do out here on the practice field and what we do in the games. With Charlie, I see him in the practices, I see him turn the corner a few times, I see explosiveness, I see him use his hands really well. Yesterday he was in a pass rash situation versus the fullback who was a big guy. You have to win those matchups. Because the outside linebackers in what we do are going to get on backs once in a while. And we’ve got to be able to win those matchups and Charlie won his matchup yesterday. Every day he does something that stands out, that impresses us and shows us that he’s one step closer.”

(On his history with Justin Peelle) – “That’s what I know of him. I don’t have that much history that way. The only thing that I did know is that I did him when he came out of college. I was coaching the tight ends at the time and I had the opportunity to evaluate him in the draft and I really liked him at the time when we were in the draft process. But that being said, he’s played a lot of football since then with a couple of teams. I think that the quality that stuck out the most to me was that he was an intelligent guy and he did at the time have a little bit of position flexibility. He could be a guy that you could split out and get away from the tackle and keep him in line a little bit that way as well. I know last year, they used him in the backfield here a little bit too, and you could see yesterday we had him out there for a few snaps.”

(On the number of tight ends he keeps on the roster) – “It all depends on what we do with again the fullback situation, that whole thing. That’s not a secret. That’s the way it comes down in this league. With the fullbacks, the tight ends, how you are mixing and matching those people that will depend. But a large part of that will depend on who does what on special teams. You’ll have a couple of guys that will separate themselves at the tight end position and then you’ll have this argument about getting the guy into the game, the third guy in the game, whether that be the third tight end or eventually a second fullback and who can do more jobs. And this comes down to jobs in the games. When I say jobs I mean plays. We’re play-snap counters, at least I am. I want to know whoever we bring into the game is going to give us 15, 20 snaps at the game. I’m not interested in having a guy at the game that’s not going to give us any plays.”