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Sparano rightly asks for perspective on arrested players

Today I ask the mob to put down its torches and pitch forks and take a deep breath. And I think Dolphins coach Tony Sparano would agree with me that in judging the recent rash of off-field stains by arrested or suspended players, we inspect the fruit before deciding it is rotten.

This offseason some Dolphins players have obviously shown bad judgment, been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and clearly failed to use their God-given brains in getting arrested or suspended by the NFL.

Will Allen and Ronnie Brown were arrested for DUI related offenses after failing field sobriety tests. Tony McDaniel was arrested for a misdemeanor domestic violence charge. And Jason Ferguson was suspended eight games by the NFL for failing a league mandated drug test for performance enhancing substances, the second positive test of his career.

"First of all, I'm going to say this: I'm obviously not happy with any of this," Sparano said Tuesday. "That is for sure. I'm absolutely not happy with any of it. Anytime any player -- anybody -- brings a negative light to the organization in any way, I'm not happy about it. Those things have been addressed."

But then the Dolphins and we need to step back from the ledge of outrage and move to the more solid footing of reason and logic. Drunk driving is horrible and hitting a women is equally reprehensible. But we're talking imperfect people here and none are chronic offenders.

And no one has been convicted, save Ferguson who will serve his penalty.

"A few of the players that have had these issues as of late have been model citizens since I've been there and, really, for a long time in this league," Sparano said. "From my end, I do take that into consideration when you're talking about character. I've seen these players in critical situations during the course of the season, in critical situations during the course of games, off the field and what they've done in our community. I've seen them do a lot of positive things that way. I don't want to confuse one issue with character, but it is an issue that concerns me and is an issue that has to be addressed. But we're just going to let this whole thing play out and gather the facts and then make some decisions."

It is easy to demand the Dolphins or any other public trust have a no-tolerance policy and cut these players for getting arrested. But that isn't reality and isn't the right approach.

I cannot tell you exactly where the line is drawn for requiring instant termination of a relationship. But none of this offseason's problematic incidents have crossed that line yet. That doesn't mean no players should be terminated for being in trouble. Some definitely need to go.

The NFL is seriously concerned about Ben Roethlisberger and his (at best) penchant for getting into compromising positions with women who claim he has sexually abused them and (at worst) actually is a predator.

But one DUI arrest in Brown's case is not in the same universe with Roethlisberger. Allen, who has had offseason incidents in the past, is walking perilously close to being a problem, but again, what if he is tried and found not guilty of his DUI? He has, by the way, pled not guilty in the matter.

"I think you've got to look at the player's history," Sparano said when I asked if he'd cut a player who got in trouble. "If the history was chronic and there was a lot of problems there in the past or any of those type of things, I think that's something you would consider, for sure. But I think you really have to look at the past history of the player and see where you are and maybe, at that point, where your tolerance may be for that situation. But that's a possibility."

It obviously isn't a possibility with any of these players yet. And even with Ferguson the Dolphins went in the other direction -- signing him to a one-year contract days after the suspension was announced by the league.

"Jason Ferguson, really, for us, he's been a captain here for two years," Sparano said. "He has been a guy that I know very well, that we know very well and that knows us very well. I think that the guy made a mistake. But at the end of this, the middle of the season we really would've been looking long and hard to find a player like Jason Ferguson when he got hurt and we couldn't find one. At the end of this whole thing, when the suspension is over, we'll see where we are during the course of the season and where we are at that point. It may possibly be a great move."

So does it send a mixed message that Ferguson is a team captain, a leader on the defensive line and is also rewarded with a new contract after his second performance enhancing drug suspension?

Sparano thinks not as he vouches for Ferguson.

"He's been suspended one time since he's been here with us as a captain," the coach said. "But I would say to you that ... to send a mixed message? I don't think it sends a good message. I really don't. I know this player. I know Jason Ferguson pretty well."


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boobyd, I like Gronkowski's size too but he missed a lot of time with back problems last year. I think he didn't run at the combine or his pro day for same reason. Taking a flyer on him in round 3 might be worth it but this is a very deep, good draft and I don't want anyone with injury concerns.


I know what you mean. I guess after the Pat White pick, I don't think they are as stuck on the prototype as they may have once been. The game is changing.
The guy I mentioned, Dallas Clark is nowhere near what a TE would have been 20 years ago. However, if you held a gun to Peyton's head and said you cam only keep one guy, I'd be willing to bet he would say Clark.
Heck, if we want to understand what a great TE can do to a defense, we just need to watch our team get killed week after week last year. You can't cover a guy like Hernandez, and he would help not only Henne but the WRs as well.

As for Gronkowski, you can add him to the list of names I'd be pissed if I heard us pick. I like the guy, but a back injury is one of the worst injuries a guy can have. I say pissed with the caveat that he would be picked in the first 3 rounds. If he were the pick round 4 or later, I would be more understanding.

I like Bootangs and Andy assessment.
Martin provided some nice YAC ability.
I mean, we know they will not make a move for a WR early.

What is the take on Pitta from Penn State? I think they coached him at the Senior bowl...

dickerson is that TE that can give real bad match up problems but i dont know much about his blocking ability but if we are looking for a tight end to play the dallas clark role then dickerson is the guy. he is fast and athletic and IMO catches the ball good.

Waterboy, Pitta is from BYU he is a good player though. The scoutign report on him is that he is a good recieving tight end but not very fast. Quarles is the guy from Penn State I think he is a project type like Graham.



Dennis Pitta of BYU is the real deal, and could very easily be picked in the 2nd round. He is very adept at finding holes in coverage, and catches the ball very well. He is a guy I think is also on the radar for Miami. Not as big or as good an inline blocker as Jason Witten, he has a Witten type feel to him. Witten was a 3rd round pick, I just don't see Pitta being around come round 3.

Let me google some highlights of Pitta

WVA I saw Dickerson play a few times. He makes plays in the passing game. He isn't on the level of a Hernandez after the catch. He might be more complete on the next level as a blocker though. He has decent size 6'3 245 I believe.

The name I have mentioned for a long time who probably wouldn't be a major contributor right away is Clay Harbor out of Missouri St. This wouldn't be a John Nalbone type pick, this guy is a beast and is on everyone's list of risers.
I may be in the minority on Jimmy Geaham, but I have major concerns about the kid. He will probably get picked a round or two too early. He is in that Jason Pierre-Paul great athlete mold. I always am leery of these guys. Boom or bust usually apply to these guys.

The hardest thing for rookie TEs is being good blockers, most have very rarely been asked to do so. However, you get one of these athletic TEs running routes, lined up in the slot or out wide, and they can cause major problems. Not only do I say that a TE is probably be picked first, but also could very well have a bigger impact right away too.


Andy NJ, understood on Gronkowski but he did his workout and lifts at Combine and people were raving about the shape he was in...He woulda been a high first rounder and his injury should not effect him...kid put up awesome stats and would open up the field for WR and is a big blocker...I would rather take a chance on him then a kid who only played one year such as Graham...my opinion

This is from Scouts Inc on Pitta.

Soft and reliable hands. Elite body control and uses big frame to shield defenders from the ball. Consistently comes up with tough catches and balls thrown outside frame.

"Gets into strong initial position and works hard to sustain blocks. However, we have concerns about his ability to consistently hold ground in pass protection working against powerful NFL defensive ends.

This is on Pitta's competiveness/toughness

Competitiveness/Toughness Not afraid to lay body on the line when attacking the middle of the field. Excellent concentration when making catch in traffic. Works hard to finish and will hustle to throw blocks downfield.

If I was building a team, I would have one great blocking TE, one who was good at both blocking and catching, and one who I primarily used for mismatch purposes. Hernandez and Pitta fall into the latter category, though I think Hernandez could turn into a decent blocker. If you have the elite pass catching TE, a defense is going to either cover him with a LB or S and get killed, or use a CB or the nickel guy on him, meaning a WR now is lined up across from a lesser guy.

I like my players to compliment each other. You will hear me say Earl Thomas with Y Bell. Hernandez with Haynos and Fasano. Dansby and Crowder. I like when players accentuate what the other does well, and allow each to play to their strengths.

Bootang25 I have the same philosophy with building a team. You make a great point that you need players with different strenghts out there on the field. Much like the New Orleans Saints do on offense. I have this feeling about Miami's WRs. I like the WRs if they had a true number 1. The problem with Miami's WR they have too many possesion types. Hartline is going to be a good # 2 that can get about 60-65 catches but not elite. If Miami did find that elite guy who can get about 70-80 catches a year the rest of WRs could do what they do best.

OK let me give my two cents!!

I think the NFL is full of it!!! How is it been has been in this position within the last year and nothing has been done!?!? When Goodell first became commish, he quickly targeted and suspended A.Jones(Pacman) for numerous run ins with the law, keep in mind he hadn't been convicted of anything!!! Now we have this issue with Big Ben and he's playing the wait and see approach.........THATS TOTAL BS!!!! Same happened with T. Johnson before the LAW could run its course the NFL jumps in and the Bear's cut the guy. A week later all charges were dropped!!!

If he's gonna be a strong arm commish he needs to be the same and stop picking and choosing the players he wants to crucify!!!!!!!!

Sorry typo.........How is it BIg Ben....


Not sure if have seen me post it, and probably not something any Fins fan wants to hear, but next years WR class is amazing. I have no doubt we address the WR position, just the names available right now aren't really beneficial to us for the team philosophy.
As for this draft, the 2 names I really like are Arrelious Benn and Golden Tate. I don't think either reaches us at 43, but if they are there, I really believe they may be the name called.
As for our WRs, the 4 of them are good, but probably a position too high on the depth chart. If Andre Johnson was our #1, Hartline 2, Bess in the slot, and Ginn and Camarillo as the backups, we would have a very good WR group. I think the number 1 opens a lot of things up. But a TE who dictates coverage may be the solution to that for this season.

Bootang25, u probaly have nothing to worry about, The chance of Gronkowski making it to pick 43 is slim anyway

J dizzle,

It is much easier to make a stand against lower tier guys. Doing so against a 2-time super bowl winning QB is an entirely different thing. I wholeheartedly sgree with you, there should be no double standard. But if you learn anything in life, I suggest one of the first lessons is that life is not fair.


I really like Gronkowski a lot. Just in this deep draft, combined with the holes we have on this team, we must have 3 starters or major contributors with the first 3 picks. Anyone with a question mark, no matter how trivial, really comes into question for me. A back injury really scares me.

Boontang25 , I think jdizzle is bringing the racial crap into it.

I know what he is trying to imply, I'm trying to give a more logical reason as to why this has happened this way so far.

Bootang we see a lot of things the same way today. I like A. Been and G. Tate too. I don't think either will be there either though. I want defense in round 1. Round 2 I like a few guys like Hernandez, Tate, Benn (if available) but wouldn't mind going defense in the first 2 rounds. Miami's D sucked last year. Nate Allen S, T. Cody are two guys I like in round 2 but they both could be gone too.

If Miami goes anything other then LB in round 1. I also like Ricky Sapp and Jerry Hughes. Hughes will be gone but Sapp will be there. Thadeus Young too. But I hate Ohio State players. Hartline is my boy though, tough, and under rated in year 1. He is my guy to make big strides next year.


I think that we need a few things to happen. We need a run on CBs, I could see at least 4, and as many as 6 before we pick at 43. Same with the offensive line, as many as 7 I could see going before we pick. Also, if we can get Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow to go before we pick, that helps too. Those are areas we are set at (though we could add secondary and o-line depth) and would push good players down the board. Which could help us a lot as far as getting a great player in round 2.

If we go defense 3 out of the first four I wouldn't be suprised at all... I do want to see a big WR or TE as one of those picks though...still hoping we can pick up an extra pick in 2 or 3 somehow, someway


I want extra picks too. We could go defense the entire draft, and I wouldn't complain, that is how bad our defense was last year. People forget we had a revolving door on the offensive line, basically started a rookie QB, lost our best offensive player, and we were still formidable on offense at the end of the year. With stability on the line, and Henne having the entire offseason as the number one, that should add 3-4 points a game in itself. That is not to say the offense is set, but our downfall was 100% our defense last year.

Yes it's a guessing game Bootang but that's true. We need to have other positions addressed to get those guys. Also if Dez Bryants slips which I believe he is going to fall to the late teens maybe 20s that could help the A. Benn or Tate chances.

Off to lunch fellas talk to you guys later

I am still a big fan of Brandon Lafell any news on his stock right now???


Lafell has really fallen a good bit from what I gather. I know one thing I remember is he had one of the smaller sets of hands at the combine. I was not really high on him in college, so I'd be lying if I said I put the time in to studying him and seeing if he'd be a good fit.

What wide receiver will def be there at 43 that we should look at???

this years hbo hard knocks training camp is visiting that ugly puke green color team from up here in northern jersey

Westvafins, the dolphins brought in lafell for a workout. So they have an eye on him.


Very hard to say what WRs are going to be there at 43. Like I said earlier, let's hope a bunch of guys we wouldn't take go between 13 and 42.

what are your thoughts on him ?>?

I like him , He's a big , strong target with good hands. His route running needs work ( who's doesn't ) but i would take him with our high 3rd round pick.

Guys, what would be a more shocking pick : Mclain or Spiller?

Do you think there is any chance the fins go after Dough Boy if he is available at 43?


Spiller would be the more shocking pick, IMO. If there at 43, I think Mt Cody could well be the pick.

Spiller, hands down.

I know about the weight issues with mt cody but he seems like the run stuffer we need in the middle and then bring PS in on third down. That would be a heck of a rotation after week eight as well.

Spiller would be shocking - I would take Mt. Cody at #43 as well

I also think Spiller would be shocking.
If they pick Mclain I would understand, Clam Chowder isnt getting younger, and I think Dansby might play some OLB
But I would have to say that Thomas or Berry would be a necessary pick at 12 if available.

McClain wouldn't be a shock at all, Spiller would be because are defense has so many holes...and God, I pray Fat Man isn't the pick

If Berry is there at #12 I would do 14 handsprings and put it on youtube.

Who do you think is more Pro ready : Dough Boy, or Dan Williams. I hate to take a guy to groom for a whole year.

That Fatso from the Bengals, did he start right away?

Fat Man Cody would be able to come in as a NT and contribute right away since he has experience in the scheme. Williams could also contribute right away - just feel like Cody is more ready to handle the position.

Can you imagine what nolan can do lining up mclain and dansby all over the field ?? One lines up in the middle the other outside and vice versa ? One blitzing from the inside one time while the other from the outside. The qb won't know what hit him.

I wonder how much Fat Boy's great performance enhanced Mclains stats...
Thats one of the reasons I would stay away from Mclain.

Do you buy into this theory of not drafting a safety in the top 10 picks which is circulating around the NFL?

Sean Taylor was a Top 10 pick - he was DAMN good in the league

I hope they circulate it to top 11 and hope 11 teams buy into it


If you went back and redid the draft Ed Reed came out in, you would easily have him top 5. I know it's a lot of money for a S, but the way the league is as far as passing goes, you better have guys that can cover all over your secondary.

Mclain did just fine without cody in his freshman year . Mcclain played in 13 games starting 8 and ended up with 74 tackles 2 sacks and 2 int's as a TRUE FRESHMAN . He was sec defensive freshman of the year and the leader of the defense as a 18 year old freshman. That theory doesn't fly. Cody did help the next 2 years but it wasn't like mcclain couldn't do anything without him.

Thanks for the stats NJ Phin fan
That clears up Mclains performance solo

HBO is going to
be in Florham Park??

Great...Rex Ryan will get to role-model MORE of his:

*** 'Its OK to be a Head Coach yet still Talk like an @SSH0LE' ***


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