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Tony Sparano breakfast: The quickie take

Tony Sparano has just finished an hourlong breakfast meeting with the local media.

This is the synoptic (look it up) version of the most pertinent points:

1. Sparano, who declined to name Chad Henne his starter after the 2009 ended, named Henne his starter today. Henne is the starter and Sparano confirmed an earlier Miami Herald report saying Chad Pennington is the No. 3 QB.

2. Sparano did not name the No. 2 and No. 4 QB but that is quite obvious. Tyler Thigpen starts out at No. 2 and Pat White is the No. 4.

3. Sparano said Pennington is the No. 3 because he doesn't need as many snaps as the mystery No. 2 guy. I asked the coach if Pennington's surgically repaired throwing shoulder has rehabilitated to the point he can throw a 15- to 18-yard out and he said, "Yes."

4. Sparano said there was "100 percent" attendance at the start of Miami's offseason conditioning program Monday. That included restricted free agents Anthony Fasano, Ronnie Brown and Quintin Moses. Not present at the program was guard Justin Smiley, whom the team is trying to trade.

5. On Smiley, Sparano said his injury history was part of his evaluation process but the coach said, "other things were also involved" in the decision to break ties with him.

6. Sparano shot down the ridiculous rumors that Phillip Merling will be moving to OLB. He (the player) weighed 295 pounds at the end of the 2009 season. Yeah, he's a 3-4 defensive end.

7. Sparano opened the door for the Dolphins chasing older unrestricted free agents the remainder of this offseason. In the past, the team has concentrated on UFAs that generally were in the 25-28 year old range because those were still in their prime. But desperate times call for desperate measures. So Sparano said the "philosophy is to find the best player" regardless of age. My opinion? Keep an eye on unrestricted free agent safety Darren Sharper.

8. It doesn't sound as if Jason Taylor is a big priority for coming back to the Dolphins. At this point it looks as if the team is planning to go on without Taylor in 2010. I asked Sparano if the team intended to bring the team's all-time sack leader back in 2010 and Sparano said, "I'm not going to make a comment on that ..." before going on to saying JT is a "super guy" and that he "enjoyed having him on my team."

9. Sparano said the team is obviously not hiring another coach for the outside linebackers. Last year Miami had an ILB coach and an OLB coach. Bill Sheridan will handle both ILBs and OLBs this year and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan will also be involved in the process.

10. Sparano said he'd feel comfortable if the wide receiver corps going into 2010 was the same as the 2009 wide receiver corps "because we know exactly what we're getting." OK, step off that ledge because I still expect the Dolphins to draft a wide receiver (or two). The coach has to say this because it's part of his job. And I have to share it with you because it's part of my job.

11. I asked Sparano his reaction to the string of arrests this offseason, three in all so far, and whether he might ever cut a player based on being convicted after an arrest.

"Obviously we're not happy about it," Sparano said. "Absolutely I'm not happy. Anybody that brings negative light to the team disappoints me. At the same time the team is getting all the facts on  this ..."

The coach said he would weigh a player's history when deciding that player's fate on the roster following an arrest or conviction. 

12. Sparano said newly signed Richie Incognito is "more a right guard-type of guy for us right now," suggesting he and Donald Thomas will compete for that job. The question is who starts at left guard when Justin Smiley is no longer on the team?

The obvious answer is the team can move Nate Garner to left guard where he started a game last year and played a lot. "We're going to put all of them out there and let them go and see what happens," Sparano said.

13. Incognito's reputation for suffering lapses of anger were partially the cause of him being dropped by St. Louis. Sparano addressed those lapses.

"We spent an awful lot of time together," the coach said. "This wasn't something that was just done very, very fast. We did our due diligence this way with Richie. But in spending our time together I wanted to hear why he thought some of these things happened and then I wanted to voice my opinion on where we were. And where we are right now is one of the lowest-penalized teams in the National Football League for the two years that I've been here. It is a way to win and lose in this league and not something that I'm going to tolerate. I think Richie understands that very clear. One of the things, I think, with Richie is to get a fresh start, a new start. I'm looking forward to being able to help him with that."

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you have two number 5's listed mando... on purpose?

and, by the way, first and second!

I just don't quite get the reason for keeping Smiley out of conditioning programs unless there was already a specific trading partner who didn't want him to participate, and it doesn't sound like that's the case.

Because if Smiley hurts himself, Miami has to keep him and pay him. The seahwaks are doing the same thing with a OL they have.

same here Sweat.

#7, since almost every free agent left is old, it's not hard to see this point.

Another point on Smiley, if you've decided to trade him, why would you want him working out at the facility ? So the players continue to bond with him and feel even worse when he's shipped away in 1-3 weeks from now ? What's the point of having a guy workout with you if you don't want him ? Please explain this latest bitching point of the unwashed masses ?

#8, good, now we can have a winning season again, something that never occurs with Taylor on board.

Players are going to develop a much stronger bond in the next two weeks than what they've already developed in the last 2 years? This is football, not fifth grade summer school.

I agree. Be straight with the guy! Don't act as if all is good and make him go through our off season routine and then pull the rug from under his feet three weeks into it. That's just wrong!

Hmm sounds like the formula is still being tweaked not only in the scheme and player-type respect, but in schemes and HOW to Coach these players respect.

I have all the confidence in the world in bill p and Toni s, but why do we still have pat white? He is a nice guy, but so am I! I am not on the team. Can someone please tell me why???

can we please trade pat white for a real football player!

ask why about incognito??

and if they have some suitors already interested in smiley?

I really don't think we can afford to lose Taylor right now. Just because we need to many other positions already. The only reason they don't talk about him is because neither has talked money and no one wants to show interest.

I'm disappointed to see alot of mock drafts having the Dolphins taking Jason Pierre-Paul... I'm just not buying into the hype on this guy...

OK, Pat White's still on the team because of 2 things, we drafted him very early and he has no trade value. They will keep him on the team for maybe another year and see if he can develope ANY trade value and he'll be shipped off after this season. On Smiley, why would they make the man come and work his butt off for a team he wont be apart of? And very good point, if he gets injured, he looses all trade value he has right now. If Darren Sharper comes to miami I'll be a happy man. Sharper, Davis,Smith,Allen,Dansby,Wake, Mike Nolan, And Bill Sheridan= a Defensive Crew im expecting to reek havoc next season.

mando why didn't you ask him if they are going to keep 4 qbs or 3. Then we know if thigpen and white are competing.


I asked everyone yesterday for players that if they were the pick at 12 would piss them off. I have only one: Jason Pierre-Paul. I will probably punch someone in the face...repeatedly.

MF305...great point on PW...2nd rd pick who cost us a pretty penny...show us something this season so we can trade in 2011.
Or...if he has a breakout season, keep em ( highly doubtful)


I also saw Weatherspoon creeping up the draft boards alot, even to number 15 a couple times... He could definitely be on the Dolphins radar at 12...

I wouldn't be upset with Pierre-Paul cause he's the one guy out of the OLB prospects that looks like he can be truly special. But like its been put out there its high risk vs high reward. I don't really even think the risk is that high if the Fish take him. I personally think he's a safer pick if taken by a 3-4 team.

On Smiley, why would they make the man come and work his butt off for a team he wont be apart of?

Posted by: MiamiFan305 | March 23, 2010 at 09:19 AM

I'm sorry, but this is stupid. The injury argument, OK, that makes good sense. But who gives a crap if a guy has to work hard, while he is being paid a lot of money, by the way, and then gets traded? That's all part of the business. Plenty of guys in other sports get traded right in the middle of live games.

We already have a project OLB in C. Wake. I like JPP but not at 12.

The new mock drafts on NFL.com has Dez Bryant dropping to the jets and that would be a HUGe mistake. Please... DRAFT Dez Bryant !!! Before your division competion drafts him and he haunts you for the next ten years.

I sure hope we already have a trade in place for Smiley, otherwise I feel this was a bad move telling him not to report. What happens if we can't trade him? Now what?, just tell Smiley sorry Nobody wanted u so I guess u can come on back???? Crossing my fingers that The Big Tuna knows what he's doing!!!

Thigpin is #4 and PW is #2. It only makes sense for the wildcat option. Plus you need to give PW another chance. Remember last year was his rookie year any most qb's dont come in and learn a new system and play great right off the bat. Remember he did make some important first downs to help win a couple of games. yes i was about to poop in my pants when i saw him in there. he is a playmaker and adds another demention to the team. I say one more chance.


1) Pat White is # 4 QB until we can trade PigPen
2) We will draft a WR early
3) Darren Sharper will be our FS
4) JT will be resigned
5) More surprising trades to follow

Wake's a 28 year old project though. I'd be alright with a 21 year old project, too.

and i'm not saying I hope the Fish take JPP, but wouldn't be mad if they did.

OMG, not another Dez Bryant crankie wankie. Cubaphin, no offense, but your on meds. First of all, Jacksonville might get him, and don't even forget Buffalo needs a WR! Second, no way we draft him that high, with such a deep class of good WRs. Sorry-but I would rather draft USC's Mays at #12(Louis Oliver type skills), and speed, rather than a 205 5 ft. 9 guy. Sure there are numerous counter arquements and doubters, but if the Phins don't take a long hard look on March 31st(pro day), they will regret it. This guy is a merciless football player, short and sweet. Anybody that thinks he is not good because of the defense he played on only needs to look at Clay Mathews and Brian Cushing from last year. Those players made that defense. I think Mays is just as good.


Sean Weatherspoon is my favorite player in the entire draft, as you know.

As for Pierre-Paul, I don't want a 21 year old project at the #12 spot in the draft, which will also require a good sized contract. Cameron Wake didn't even get $5 million total, Pierre-Paul will get that in guaranteed money.

Good morning fellas. On Darren Sharper - I wanted him last year before all the production last season because of the 2 rookie corners. Now correct me if I am wrong in an attacking style 3-4 defense which Nolan is sure to bring the safety is man to man or has to come down hill to make the tackles on running backs catching the ball out of the backfield. That doesn't play to Sharper's strenghts at all. I'm not sure how Shaprer fits with a 3-4 defense. Any thoughts?


I would not mind Weatherspoon at 12, the man is a Beast ! He has been climbing the mock drafts and the last had him pegged at 15 going to the giants. He is a stud.
Weatherspoon or Bryant...Please ? ?

Bootang...no sure things when it comes to drafting.


I thought Earl Thomas was your favorite player in the whole draft?

Bootang25, totally agree- on Weatherspoon at #12, would be a GREAT pick. I am with you- although I still like Mays-for safety over Thomas. Though- D. Morgan could work as well. I have a feeling we are going to have a top 10 defense this year!

Would also love to have a shot at Jerry Hughes from TCU, another tackling machine and a great pass rusher. Have him actually ranked higher than Michigan's Graham.
Any chance that if Berry does fall to Cleveland at 7, that the Dolphins somehow move up to 5 with KC and grab Berry ?

2nd ILB in the 3-4 is the one you save money on if you got a real dynamic top dawg of an ILB. We paid Dansby like he's going to be that guy so no drafting ILB until late unless someone drops unexpectedly.

Does carlito have a job?? He is always on here. Probably posting on this site on company time. Thief!

My top 5 is still constantly changing... Here is mine:

1. Eric Berry
2. Sean Weatherspoon
3. Rolando McClain
4. Dez Bryant ( I know I'll catch hell for this, but I don't care)
5. Dan Williams

Honorable mention to Earl Thomas

Cubaphin, I know the connection is there with Parcells and Pioli but it would take a lot to move up from 12 to 5. Also the 5 pick is going to cost millions more to sign. I think Miami will stay at 12 for that reason.

Cubaphin...you don't draft to keep divisional teams from getting players. You draft for your team needs and trust in your coaching staff and the players you develop. Chasing other teams is a sure-fire way to looking like a fool and locking up the division cellar.

Mike in Houston, exactly right...it seems alot of people on her get the notion if the Fins don't get him, the Jets or Pars will, so what??? Worry about our team, not what others will do

carlito, i'd give you a harder time for having 2 ILBs on your list after we signed Dansby than for having a #1 WR on it when the team is full of #3 WRs.


You're trying to tell me Weatherspoon can't play SOLB??? Lol

Carlito...are you trying to tell me you think Weatherspoon CAN play SOLB in a 3-4?

Carlito, yes you have to catch hell for that one lol. But way to stick out your neck for a player you believe in. I know my Sergio Kindle to Miami pick isn't popular either.

no its not andy lol

Last year the word around draft time was the Pats really liked Pat White and wanted him for their own WC scheme, and wr took him to block that pick and to expand our WC offense. I always wondered about that, and hope it was not true.

i'm not sure which one of us is more surprised.

cause i really am surprised you - or anyone - would think he's being considered as a 3-4 OLB.

Standley, you know this is the time of lies, lies and misleading lies.

teams talk up the guys they don't want. bring them in so it looks like they're interested. really play the whole game of misdirection.

Andy NJ, have to keep Kindle away from Allen and Ronnie, don't want all 3 of them drinking, texting and running into apt buildings they don't see

WestVA lol yeah I know bro. I personally like him but I'm not saying he is my top choice to go there but I do think he is going to be the pick for some reason. I'm a Michigan fan so I am biased on Brandon Graham and I also like Dan Williams better too.

I mean it made some sense for New England to grab white at the time. They had just traded away Cassell and Brady was coming off a serious injury they had no one really ad a back up. I bet there was some truth to that.

Do we have any idea at all who the trade partner for smiley could be????

Bobby yeah it's like the era of knuckle heads in sports. Kindle didn't see the building in was in a blind spot lol.

Seattle. Done deal for a 4th

Then he pulls his car out of building and goes home because he didn't want to bother the Police, at least he is thoughtful, police have more important things to do then deal with some guy who drove his car into a Bldg...LMAO

Seattle for a 4th??? Not bad at all

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