Sparano Talks


The Miami Dolphins released a transcript of the Tony Sparano press conference following today practice.  By the way, I know it’s a pain in the rear to have to read the rest of something on a separate page, but with all the news lately, the front page wouldn’t hold it all.  Sorry for the inconvenience. 

(On if he’s glad to see LB Joey Porter back out at practice) – “Yeah, I really was. We were happy, not only to see him out there, but when practice was over, to see how his ankle responded and it was very positive. So that was a good sign. Lets us know that the steps we took here early on were really positive.”

(On how much closer he thinks CB Michael Lehan will need to return to practice) — “You know actually, Michael ran yesterday in there as well. He did a nice job running, he really did. He’s probably a little bit further away right now. Not far, but a little bit further away. So we’re just being cautious with him, but he’s getting through a lot of the cutting drills and a lot of rehab that way and I think hopefully, real soon.”

(On evaluating the TE position) — “It’s always tough to find time, reps for all the tight ends especially when some of them are crossing over into that “F” position that we talked about, kind of that fullback thing. You’re trying to get two fullbacks reps as well so during the course of practice you have to do a pretty good job of managing the scripts and what you want a specific player to see. The good thing is that when you’re going through this you can kind of highlight maybe what he has already got work at, or needs a little bit more work on, those type of things when you’re going through the script. The bad thing is, certainly you have six of them right now and it’s hard to get some work with them.”

(On TE David Martin‘s blocking skills) — “Well I’ll tell you honestly, I think that he’s gotten a bunch better since the spring. He really has. Watching him block right now in full pads and seeing what he does at the line of scrimmage. Seeing what he’s done in the backfield a little bit, some entry plays, that type of stuff. I think he’s been pretty impressive. I’ve been pleasantly pleased that way with what he’s done on the line of scrimmage blocking. He catches the ball well enough and certainly can run well enough. He came back in outstanding physical shape, really running well.”

(On what he’s seen in LB Channing Crowder) — “First of all I like the way he’s moving around right now coming off of his injury. As far as what I see, we had a chance to game plan against these guys last year and Channing was a player that we needed to know where he was. We felt going into the game we had to get this guy blocked during the course of the game, because if you don’t, he’s going to be around the ball a bunch and make a bunch of tackles. I see a lot of that. He’s around the football. Day One we were out here first day, full pads, he was around the ball. That’s what he does well. I’ve been pleased with his leadership in the huddle. He’s outstanding mentally that way, all those things. I think he knows, this being a new system, that he has some learning to do as well and I think he’s excited about getting some of that done out here.”

(On the earliest he would name a starting QB if there was a clear-cut leader in the competition and if he would wait until the end of the final preseason game to make a decision) — “To answer your first question, if it was clear cut, I would want to get it done as soon as possible. I really would. I think that (the starting quarterback) player needs to be behind the offensive line. He needs to start to find chemistry with whoever the receivers will be at that time. If he was head and shoulders above everybody else, I think it would be pretty clear to us that we would start to move in that direction. That being said, as far as going into the end of this thing and going all the way to the end of the preseason, I wouldn’t want it to be that long either.”

(On if QB Josh McCown is ahead of Chad Henne or John Beck) — “I don’t think anybody is ahead of anybody right now. The only thing that certainly, and this isn’t a secret, Josh has been in several systems so it’s a little bit easier for him to hear some of the installs. And he knows how to handle an install. He’s been out there in a couple different places, so this isn’t new to him. Where it’s the first time around for maybe Chad, where you’re throwing a bunch of different stuff at them each night. Right now in between practices, they’re getting a bunch. That would be about it, but I don’t see anybody ahead of anybody right now when I watch what I’m seeing out there.”

(On if his QB philosophy is similar to the one of Bill Parcells about not turning the ball over) — “I do, and probably the other 30 or so head coaches in the league do to. So whoever’s philosophy, one way or the other, turning the ball over gets you beat in this league, clearly gets you beat. It’s the fastest way to lose. I think you got to look long and hard and maybe look back; I’m going to say maybe it was the Rams a while ago, when they went to the Super Bowl, where they turned it over 40 something times and still won the Super Bowl. We can’t turn the ball over, we know that. We talk about it all the time. Our margin for error that way we want to eliminate the margin for error as much as we possibly can. Turnovers, not something that can happen at that position. I think also you don’t have to try to win the game at that position. You really don’t have to try and be the guy and win the game. There are 10 other guys out there with you and there’s going to be some skill people out there that you’re going to be able to get the ball to. We think we have a couple of good backs that we can hand the ball to so be a piece of this.”

(On what he likes in Nate Jones and Keith Davis) – “First thing I like, certainly that they bring to our team, is that both of them have been outstanding special teams players. We know Keith was an outstanding special teams player, but Nate Jones really made our team in Dallas based on what he did on special teams early on. Nobody gave the guy a chance and then he came in and we watched him practice and all he kept doing was showing up, and showing up, and showing up in the games on special teams. Then we found roles for him in our nickel packages and so on. Both of these players have been productive players, just not full-time players and this is an opportunity for them to come here and to compete in a situation where, again, we brought in as many guys as we can in here to compete and create competition that way. I think they add certainly some depth in the secondary with chances for both of them to potentially start, one way or the other, but also to contribute on special teams.”

(On what he sees in Jason Allen and what he’d like to see) – “What I see from Jason Allen is that I think he’s an outstanding athlete, tremendous speed. He’s a guy that gets around the ball a bunch. What I’d like to see from him is, he’s a young player really, that needs to grow a little bit more in the system and the system needs to become a little bit slower from him that way. Like a quarterback, when you’re playing “centerfield”, you always say with the quarterbacks the game has to slow down for them, and I think the safeties that way as well. The game needs to slow down a little bit for them so they can see the whole field. But I’ve been impressed with what Jason has done.”

(On last year’s starting cornerback tandem of Andre Goodman and Will Allen) – “I think they are both very athletic and they compete at the line of scrimmage. You don’t see that a lot. Both of them aren’t afraid to compete at the line of scrimmage in press coverage, any of those things, get up in your face a little bit. You’ll see some guys that want to get up in your face at that position, but quickly when the ball is hiked, they’re kind of getting away from the action a little bit. Both of those guys like to compete, in fact I just sat in on the secondary meeting and watched some tape with them. You can see both of them up there compete and if their guy makes a play they’re upset about that. They’re getting out of their breaks really well, crisp that way and also I think mentally they both understand it pretty well.”

(On if the new defensive system is conducive to getting Jason Allen to perform) – “Here’s what I think, and again I don’t know really what they did before and that’s not my priority, what I know about our defense system is that it has allowed players to play. And that sounds easy. But what I mean is, from a mental standpoint, we try to take as much of the gray area out as we possibly can, making fewer calls, whatever the case is that way, fewer adjustments. That being said, there are things that go on in the game that you have to adjust to, no doubt about it. In the backend, if you screw that up, it’s going to be a big play. From our standpoint we try to eliminate some of the talking that goes on back there, but there are some things that they have to adjust to and they have to understand.”

(On what Defensive Backs/Assistant Head Coach Todd Bowles brings) – “What Todd Bowles brings to the table, first of all is that he did play. Fundamentally, whenever you can get a coach that was a player in the league and has had to play against several receivers and do some of those things, I think fundamentally there are some shortcuts there for players that they kind of like. I remember talking to a couple guys that have played and are now coaching, and they say ‘one of the things that I liked is that I was able to throw out some of the things that I didn’t need to know and just grab the things that I really need to know.’ I think Todd can bring that to the table for them. He can give them only what he feels they need to know. That being said, there’s a lot of information back there. So he’s able to weed out the some of the things that maybe they don’t really need to know, and concentrate on the things that are really critical to what’s happening back there.”

(On Chris Crocker) – “Crock, he’s a veteran player, he’s been a physical player. What I like most about Crock right now, and what he’s shown us is that he’s a guy that can play two positions back there. He has some position flexibility and that’s important. Again game day rosters and all of the things that we talked about yesterday, those things come into play, and if you can play free safety or strong safety that helps. Also, when you get into some of your nickel packages and your dime packages, having the ability to cover with some of those guys, which Crock has done since he’s been in the league helps a little bit too. His leadership skills, because he’s a veteran player helps us back there.”

(On Donald Thomas playing with the first team yesterday) – “Yeah, Donald worked with the team yesterday, sure did. So we moved Trey (Darilek) out to right tackle yesterday in the second group and we moved Donald up to right guard in the first group yesterday, and watched him a little bit. He did a nice job.”

(On is Donald Thomas ahead at right guard or is he continuing to flip new guys in at that position) – “Right now you have right side and left side, and with a young guy you’re trying to keep them on a side right now as opposed to starting to flip them early on. At the same time Donald is a big, strong kid that’s athletic. When you watch him out there, I know coming off the field yesterday, a couple of our defensive players thought ‘He’s really heavy.’ And when a defensive player says ‘Really heavy,’ he doesn’t mean heavy in size, he means in heavy when he hits you, and when he leans on you and those are good qualities to have in offensive lineman when they’re big and they play big. That was encouraging. It was good to get him out there and let him compete against some of the first team players out there and see how he responds. As we’ve said before we’ll keep moving them around until we find the right five.”

(On encouraging Bill Parcells to give some one-on-one instruction) – “Sure, yeah, no question. Anyway that he can help that way I think is a positive. When you’re talking about a guy like Coach Parcells, and the knowledge that he has in this game, and the things that he’s seen, there was a situation that came up yesterday. I was watching tape of some of our opponents and this one situation came up with clock and clock management, those kind of things, and I was able to just go down about it, and he and I talked about it and I picked his brain. That’s why he’s here, and if he’s here in that situation and if he can help some of our young players in there, that’s great.”

(On if that’s how it is with Bill Parcells) – “Yeah, it is how it is. I think when you have it in your blood like he’s had it in his blood for as long as he has, he has to do it. And that’s good and I love it. I think the world of the guy, and I’m glad that he’s out there and he can contribute any way he can that way.”