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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."

[BLOG NOTES: Check back as I'm updating as I write.]

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