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Sparano protecting players an asset or liability?

I cringed yesterday when I heard coach Tony Sparano say that against the New York Jets the Dolphins receivers as a group, "played well. Not great. Well."

You decide based on what you saw if the group played well.

My point is if you ever expect Sparano to tell you exactly how awful a certain player is, you will be sorely disappointed. He will NEVER openly criticize any player because he doesn't think it is beneficial to the player or the team.

If you read the question and answer column I did over the weekend after a sit-down with Sparano, you would know that when it comes to criticizing players Sparano believes he doesn't need to do that in public.

The intriguing thing is he doesn't mind calling out groups of players -- such as the offensive line or defensive backs or receivers -- as long as he doesn't single anyone out. That makes his defense of the receivers even more curious.

So this is what I am wondering:

Do you agree with the coach that receivers as a whole played, "well?"

Do you now lose some trust in what the coach says about his players because you know he's never going to rip a player no matter what?

And do you wish Sparano was more like his mentor Bill Parcells who apparently had no issues with publicly expressing his dissatisfaction with players? By the way if you don't remember, Parcells once referred to Terry Glenn as a "she" and talked about Terrell Owens' injuries that forced him to the workout bike without ever actually calling Owens by name.



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Mando: Fetch the bone.
FLPD: Woof.

1. To say the receivers played well is to say Moe, Larry and Curly also played well.

2. There is a difference between not outing a player and just lying. So don't criticize if you don't want to, but don't insult my intelligence.

3. I wish Bill Parcells was the coach.

Is there a chance receivers were getting open and Chad P. just wasn't hitting them?

I'm not sure we can assume Sparano will always do something or never do something. He's only been here a little while. I don't care what he says or doesn't say to the media. He could lie all day for all I care. I just want him to concern himself with getting this team ready to play each week.

Look at who we have as receivers. The only legit player is Ginn and he's still wet behind the ears. Wilford supposedly has "issues", Hagan can't deliver outside of camp and Camarillo is just a complimentary guy. However, it's still early and there is a chance of them jelling by mid-season. If not, I'm sure it will be addressed in next years draft.

Everyone's got their own style. I think it's going to be a long season, but a little too early to start nit-picking or sounding the alarm. If they lost their first four games, then we can start second guessing. But 1-15 doesn't get turned around in a blink of an eye.

Good leaders praise in public and reprimand privately...

What good does it do to debase and embarass someone to the media just so you can eat that up and "do your job" in getting it out for public consumption? Absolutely none.

Boomer does not produce, he's gone, because someone better was out there with better skillsets ready to produce. If there is a better WR available on the market you can bet the Dolphin's brass is going to make a change; but they certainly are not going to berate someone publically just to fill your rag with negativity about the current players.

1. No, they did not play well. Then again, the pass protection was so bad Pennington had to throw to his backs and tight ends most of the time anyway. He never had time to sit back there and really look downfield.

2. No I do not lose trust in them, because it is not their job to criticize players in the media. No matter what Sparano says, we all know the truth and he does too. It's his job to work with the players and he'll do that.

3. I don't think it matters one way or the other. Parcells' strategy might have worked but that does not mean Sparano's cannot either. There's no universal way to run a football team or handle players.

They played well if you include the TE play.........

I think Ginn played bad the Bess and Camarillo played good Hagan was a no show. so over all the recievers did just what he said they played good not well but good.

Nothing better to write about than this? What a waste of my time even bothering to read it. I am sure Tony Sparano is losing sleep wondering with you think it is a liability for him to protect his players... Too funny....

for one he is a rookie coach how can a rookie coach call out players when he hasn't won a game yet? I think he is playing it smart the man knows what he is doing. Everytime i read you blogs its like your looking for drama inside for the dolphins with the ricky getting hustled or with this now. Come lets talk about how the recievers have to get things together or about how we need ronnie to start and that partick cobbs shouldn't be the 3rd down back. I hope you understand where im coming from ima dolphins fan if i wanted soap opera i would watch it.

Saprano (yes I know that's spelled wrong) is starting to make Wanny look credible. I'm not impressed.

Honestly if you go back and review the game (which i have done many times) Ginn did not play as bad as everybody wants to believe. He was actually open quite a few times in the 1st and 2nd quarters. Pennington overthrew him or wasn't looking. Even CP admits going thru his reads too fast. Don't throw in the season unless ur gonna do it to PMan, DGar, and Cpmr as well cause they played as bad as we did and we know they are decent

I agree with Paul K., Paul and Huss. Do you really want us to attack the coach after one game? Or attack him because he doesn't publicly humiliate individual players who are sacrificing themselves (such as Donald Thomas) daily for him and this team? The team's loyalty/support for him is more important than yours or the fans, as it should be.

I realize that professional sports is entertainment and thus you are basically an entertainment reporter, but can you try to focus more on the actual game as opposed to constructed soap operas. Perhaps a blog on the difficulties or opportunites that face the Dolphins against Arizona OR maybe an analysis of how Dallas performed in the first year under Parcells after his first draft? Thanks.

Go Phins!


I think anyone who watched the game knows how they played so what difference does it make what the coach says to the media?

I will say that hearing the line " because he can do more jobs" is really getting old. If the guy is a better performer then fine , say that. "More" is not always better, and in the case of Booomer seems to be inacurate. If the new fullback is a better blocker, then say that, if he's better catching out backfield then say that. The "more jobs" thing is boring and uninformative.

Not singling out a player? Am I missing something here. That is exactly what you want isn't it? Why because it emphasizes the concept of TEAM. When complaints are leveled at a functional unit such as the offensive line it is because that is how the unit operates. Think of it. If, as a coach, someone has a player's back and limits criticism to the locker room, then that player has less to worry about and can focus on his job on the field. Expectations are laid out and the player either meets them or does not and faces the consequences which, as you have seen with this team are fairly transparent - being cut.

So I ask you - why would a coach need to criticize a player in public? It will only demoralize and undermine the concept and culture of "TEAM" that is being built.
I suppose that a so called 'players coach' who has not laid out clear objectives and consequences might feel insecure and resort to such practices, but human memory is remarkable and plays a role in terms of motivation.

When you are facing the Patriots on the road in December sometime in the future, down by 4 points in posession of the ball deep in your own territory with 2 minutes left, and on the previous play your QB just got his face bloodied up after the receiver broke his route off and the left tackle allowed the DT to come through the backfield like he was on train tracks and the RB whiffed on a block, I would argue that the concept of a single cohesive unit (i.e. 'team') might come into play on the next snap. If you buy into that argument, then perhaps 'team' culture is a worthy area of focus is in the early days of revitalizing a once proud franchise.

You don't beat a single player on the Patriots, Steelers etc because they stand as a team and don't allow you to isolate a weakness. Conversely, if they face a prima donna player on the opposing team, they usually target said individual and as a result a chink in the armour of the team is exposed as part of the systematic dismanteling of the opponent's 'team'. Once the 'team' unravels it is the beginning of the end. Blood is in the water and a good team will make quick work of such opponents.

Shula's won with all types of talent, and sometimes with a lack of it. Bum Phillips said of something to the effect of him, "He could take his'uns and beat your'uns and then take your'uns and beat his'uns ..."[sic]

In my humble opinion that was quintessentially Shula's (and any other great coach's) talent. Maximizing a player's strengths and minimizing his weaknesses. Public humiliation of a player appears to be a diametric opposite of such a credo.

If I may offer:
1) Lay down the law in public.
2) Criticize and teach in private.
3) Enforce or reward in public.

In short cut him or keep him... dont make him a lame duck in public and wonder why you lost the 'team'.

- out

Playing "well" for this young group is different than playing "well" as a veteran group. The coach knows his personel is limited in experience and talent.

This regime does not feel the need to tell the fans or media any pertitent information. This includes calling players out or giving a valid assessment of there performance. This is the way it is, and if the trifecta is successful I could care less. I am just glad that Sparano is not saying all the retarded things that Cam used to say.

Did the Dolphins even have WR's on the field?

No, they didn't play well. I only remember two guys: Camarillo and Bess.

they are a young group and there is no need to call them out in public.

I like what Paul K said. You guys in the press are bored. It's not your job to determine whether or not a player played well. If you were good at it....you would be coaching. You jokers in the press look for tiny little tid bits to exploit and this is just another example. just like your BREAKING STORY about Ricky's contract. Who cares. Ricky should be able to do what the hell he wants without Super-Mando lurking in the bushes waiting to tell the world and disguise it a "discussion Forum." This is the reason that the coaches act the way they do to the press. I wish Tony would treat you like Parcells would be treating you. Just like a baby treats a diaper.

Mando, this is certainly not your best work. To sit here without watching tape and knowing much about the game and to make this assumption is just unintelligent. He already criticized the O-line and who know who was getting open and running good routes. Did you watch the Dallas game? Even with their receivers and threats Romo was taking sometimes 6 or 7 seconds to find a receiver, but the difference is that he had the time. I'm not even going to answer your question.

the buccaneers are shopping Jeff Garcia for a trade.

1. No. It's not all their fault. The team is liable.
2. No. Look at Andy Reid. I know some people have lost respect for him but you can't argue the playoff and superbowl runs he's had.
3. No. I like Parcells but Sparano is the coach and Parcells put him there for a reason.

The whole team played bad and the coaches had a bad game also. The OL didn't block well, the QB made mistakes, the RBs were non existent, the DL and LBs couldn't stop the run, the secondary got beat, punting and kicking teams were just ok, return teams didn't have any great returns, and the WRs couldn't get open to save their lives. The coaches made bad personnel decisions and bad play calling. Until the team and coaches come together with a good game plan and execute at all levels it will be a long long season.

Ok, I said this in another blog entry yesterday, but after watching the game for a second time on the replay, I actually this time paid attention to what individual players were doing, and I was surprised by two very noticeable things:

1. The receivers WERE getting open, especially in the 1st quarter. You may remember Pennington pathetic start with terribly inaccurate passes. Then, once the Jets went ahead and the Dolphins abandoned the running game, the coverage got a lot tighter with the safeties staying deep. You may remember all those throws to the tight ends, the safeties were 20 yards downfield, creating space down the middle. The gameplan obviously in the 1st quarter was to come out and run the ball, and when they did pass, Pennington didn't allow the receivers to make a play on the ball.

2. The OL was REALLY good in pass protection, especially in the third and fourth quarter. Pennington was taking 5, 6, 7 seconds sometimes to get rid of the ball. To me, that is a testament to the blocking up front. The only time a defender got in Penningtons face was an OLB blitzing around the corner. Fasano totally whiffed a couple times, as did Brown and Cobbs. But the OL were doing a good job.

As for Armando's post, reminds me a bit of a certain S.S. reporter....

Everyone is blaming the offensive line and the receivers. The person you should blame is Reynaldo Hill. He lost coverage on Bret's hail mary play to a receiver who has never caught a pass in the NFL.

Usually i agree with most things you say (although I dont understand WHY you choose to be so negative all the time) But come on!! Ripping Sparano because he wont give you any juicy stories about the players? I've read MANY reports that if a player doesn't do well, Sparano takes them to the side and gives them an earful. Just because he doesn't rip those individual players to the MEDIA doesn't mean he's not doing his job and keeping them motivated. I think Sparano is doing a great job as a rookie head coach and keeping his players on their toes. I know im not a sports writer, and i know you're doing your job but this was the worst article i've ever read from you. Horrible...Trying to turn the fans against their rookie head coach is NOT cool man. You need to relax and trust the Trifecta is taking us to the promised land!!!

I am a first year Dolphin season ticket holder from Jacksonville, and came to the game on Sunday. It was a good game, obviously not the outcome we were hoping for. I rely on Armando for all my "scoop", whatever, good or bad, because The Times Union is nothing about the Fins...I love the column, I love the stadium and support staff, not sold on the coach yet and I am adjusting to orange and aqua vs. teal and black....thanks for the good info Armando... I appreciate it all!!!

The WRs as a group (I do not include the TE as that position is unique on the offense) played very poorly last Sunday. Ginn, for all the hype about his offseason improvements, was basically a no-show, and he is supposed to be our best deep threat? He can't get open on a fly route?

I knew coming into the season that WR talent for the Fins was shallow and I had hopes that Ginn would make improvements and start providing some game breaking plays. If he plays every week in 2008 like this past Sunday, it will not be long before Parcells shows Ginn the door.

The fact the Jets were able to keep 8-9 men on the line to stuff the run shows they had confidence their corners could lock down the Fins WRs, which they did for most of the game.

I'm glad he doesn't single out players in public. If he were to say that Ginn played bad, that tells the rest of the receivers that they weren't as bad, and shouldn't bother trying to get better. How would you feel if your boss singled you out on tv and said how lousy you were last week. Would that make you want to do a better job? Or would you just be ticked off about what he just did? Most people don't take public critisizm well, and most don't use it as motivation to succeed. Just look at Vince Young.

This is a team sport, and it's good to see our coach treats it like one. You win and lose as a team. And please stop freaking out about this first loss. Everyone knows this is a rebuilding year, not a push for the Super Bowl or else year. There's going to be growing pains. Half of our roster is new. It's going to take more than one training camp, 4 preseason games and 1 meaningful game to turn it around. The important thing is we are headed in the right direction. Give it some time, and we'll all be celebrating wins before you know it.

Horrible blog yet again. First off, without the ability to watch coaches film and know the play calls, none of us are in a position to say how the group played as a whole. The fact that Sparano doesn't throw individual players under the bus is a good thing MANDO, not a bad thing. Maybe if writers like you ever played an organized sport at a high level, you could grasp that concept. You mention Parcells, who was a motivational expert, he knew what buttons to push with each player. Not everyone is the same. If you go back and watch most of Parcells press conferences, he was much more critical in a win then he was in a loss. Stop acting like people are hiding things from you and start understanding the reasons why it's done. Maybe you should attend a coaching seminar or several.

You can't make chicken salad out of...you know. With this group of WR's, the reality is that they aren't very good. We are rebuilding. Period. Bashing them is accomplishing nothing. Did you see Ginn Jr. trying not to look frustrated when the home crowd was booing him after he weakly backed off of fielding a catchable punt? This is a reciever (and a group) that totally lacks confidence and an indentity. Even Chambers lacked a fire and confidence when he was here. In the spirit of rebuilding, I would be ringing the phone off the wall of the Seattle Seahawks. You just lost your top 4 recievers? How about we ship you Ernest Wilford for a draft pick? Interested in Derek Hagan? Ted Ginn and Family? The point is, until we draft some quality WR's or trade for someone like Boldin, it really doesn't matter what Sparano says: they're just not very good, and as Obama says, it'd just be putting lipstck on a pig to compliment them.

Coach Sparano is doing exactly what is right. Calling out the groups allows peer pressure to work first. The players are learning that they need each other, aka: Team, in order to be successful. The good coaches get harder on the players the better they play. Let them learn what to do and how to do it first, don't embarrass them while they are learning and then after the system is COMPLETELY in place and they all know it then get in their faces and call them out when they screw up! Sparano is doing his fair share of yelling already! Leave him alone for at least half the season and then come back to this issue.

Considering this IS a rebuilding team I didn't think they played all that bad and even had a chance to win at the end. Let's face it most if not all of these receivers will not be on this team 2-3 years from now anyway so who cares what the coach says to them after this one game...

I went to the box score and counted the plays:78 plays of which 16 were passes to the wr's. There were 62 other plays that did not pass to the wr but the wr's were still responsible for running the routes/blocking etc. Saying they played well means they ran the correct route/made the proper adjustment 85-90% of the time.

Am I the only one who noticed Ginn got open real deep on a couple of plays and Chad missed him.....they replayed both times ! Ithink it's kind of unfair to say Ginn played bad if he got open deep. He never will be a guy who gets 10 rec in a game , but should still be solid...
I disagree with picking him so damn high ( thanks cam ) but I think he will bwe fine.

These three statements are true:
1. Davone Bess was the main receiver for the most prolific passing offense in NCAA history.
2. Ted Ginn had an unbelieveable career as a receiver and punt returner and won a national championship.
3. Chad Pennington has never been able to make the throws included in the Man's section of the playbook spefically throwing fastballs to receivers in tight coverage and allowing them to make a play. Chad's game has always been to hold the ball until a defender falls down and then lob it to the receiver.
We have a QB that cannot execute the playbook. The receivers did not lose thier athletic ability. Perhaps wilfords problem is a learning disability, perhaps he is taking a long time to learn the playbook.

Brett Favre on the other hand admits that he does not know the playbook of the Jets. Brett just simply fires the ball into tight coverage and gives his wr's a chance to make a play. Brett plays like most other nfl qb's: like a man.

look...we are still a new and as a new team the receivers did to well, our star receiver is only in his second year of the nfl and we all know the horrible season he had last year. We just need to work on not being stupid! what wa sup with all those penalties, and i will admit miami is a little unlucky when it comes to penalties there wer some horrible calls. And the whole sparano not singling out anyone but instead a whole section is legit cause instead of one player trying to improve the whole section will it to me is smart and will make the team stronger!

1. I know the receivers didn't catch many balls but I wasn't at the game so I can't tell why that might have been. Meaning when you watch a game on tv they show the qb and the line through 90% of the play. That means on tv you can't see if the receivers are getting seperation, running crisp routes, or blocking well. I'm still not sure if the receivers didn't catch a lot of balls because they weren't open,because Penny wasn't throwing to the open guy, or if the line wasn't giving the receivers enough time to get open in their routes. There are a lot of things that go into deciding if a wr played a good game besides catches on the stat sheet. A receiver could have 1 catch in a game and still have played a great game by executing all of his blocking assignments and helping the team down the field. 2. Don't understand this question. I don't know of a lot of coaches that publicly rip their players. Belichick,Dungy and many other great coaches keep it in house so I don't see this as a bad thing. I always thought Parcells was a douche when he was pulling that crap. The players DIDN'T call the coach out for his mistakes so why would he call them out. It's a bulls**t way to motivate and it just creates bad feelings. If some guys aren't motivated enough by wanting to win and be the best then it's time to lose that player. I have been playing and coaching hockey my whole life and I have never publicly embarrassed my players when they underperformed or made mistakes. I will take them aside and tell them I'm dissapointed and they may lose playing time if they don't get it straight. That always sends a fine message, But I had a coach who would do it in public, in front of everyone and WE HATED HIM. And no embarrassing us in front of our peers never worked unless "worked" means made us play so nervous and tight that we made more mental errors. 3. SEE #2!

Master, since you're taking the 'roid-rage macho man stance, riddle me this: Wouldn't the "MAN section of the playbook (which to be honest sounds a bit fruity)be all about RUNNING the ball as opposed to passing?

juandiggler, I also saw Ginn open downfield two or three times and Pennington went for checkdown or ran the ball. I have been saying that for three days now, does no one even read my comments? (sob)

Good response so far today folks. This blog, as usual, continues to be among the most popular items on The Herald website.

A couple of things:

Chris S.: Dude, you lost all credibility with me when I wrote Chris Crocker was moving ahead of Jason Allen in camp and you said I was crazy and that Allen would start and you haven't owned up to that yet. Seriously, you have no clue how much you don't know.

Zeninzion: Where did I rip coach Sparano? I presented what is the truth and asked what you guys think about it. Where did I say, this is wrong or that is bogus or this needs to change or he's off here or there? Honestly ...

Also I just wanted to say kudos to most everyone who posted in here today. There were some really well thought out points and opinions and it was a fun read. Good job people! Oh yeah and thank you Mando for bringing up the discussion. It's good to see that there are a number of intelligent fans out there who are keeping things in perspective.

Wow, Armando. (aside) so ruuude...(aside)
So when are you going to blog about what happened today?

I wasn't copying Armando with my last post, he was posting while I was typing. Too funny.

Tin, just got home from work, what happened?

The more important question is when will Huizenga and Ross step in and stop this madness. If there is to be any hope for the future, the Trifecta must be removed, and soon. Parcells & Co. are destroying a once proud franchise.

There' a difference between calling out individual players which didn't happen and saying this/that group played well which didn't happen either.

What we're tired of is hearing how this or that player/group is, pick one: practicting well, improving, playing hard or can play on special teams.

Enough with the BS.

First off, it is just one game. We are not 0-10 yet. Sparano appears to be a tough no nonsense coach, who is giving his players a chance. He doesn't berate in public or shoot his mouth off about another's shortcomings. That being said, it takes a lot of things to happen for a receiver to catch a ball. From qb to o line to receiver and defenders. It don't just click or everyone out for a pass.

Judging from your article you forgot this and asked a dumb reporter question. A general statement was given back to you in response and then you write this drivel. But it is fun responding to the question. So thanks for the article. I see that I am not the only drunk on my computer.

I think that the recevers also played "well".

Armando, just to echo the crowd -- they are a team and a team is like a family, which means (or should mean) loyalty top to bottom. I'll get in my brother's face but cross him and....

So the coach is 100% right on in this case, and plus you wouldn't have nearly as much fun if he always called it like it is.

And ball bag -- then just don't come. It's a big net.

Sometimes I think Armondo can't actually be a sports writer in real life.

No name calling, no nasty insults, but Armondo, seriously, what were you thinking when you wrote this blog entry?

Sounds like Tony is nothing like Bill Parcells.
I couldn't stand the way BP talked to and about his players. All that reverse psycho bable BS.

I'd slam 'em personally myself. WR's didn't play WELL as a group, they failed to even be competent. Give out individual accolades if they earn it too, but you can't be too soft with them at all.

I think that if they play poorly over the next couple of games as they did week 1; Sparano might not see the end of this season.

why does he need to single out players publicly for criticism Armando? It may give you media types something to get off on, but it doesn't help the player or team. I've seen footage of Sparano at practice and he certainly doesn't hold back when players need a kick up the back side. I'm sure the players respect him more for doing it privately, rather than publicly to be played out in the press.

Stay classy Mando

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