The following is the transcript of coach Tony Sparano's press conference with the media Saturday afternoon. Enjoy.
(On what he feels Randy Starks has to provide to the team) – “I think just becoming familiar with the position again in there. Randy has played inside before, so this wouldn’t be his first rodeo in there. I think as a nose it’s a little bit different. He has played 1-technique before, he’s played 3-technique before, and he has played square before. So, I don’t think those things are issues. One of the things that Randy can do very well, and we’ve all learned, is that he can pass rush from any of the down positions well. We’ve used him in the nickel stuff before that way. So, that transition I think will be a little bit easier for him there. I would say just getting used to the patterns, the blocking schemes that are coming at him now. The double teams are coming from inside instead of from outside and those type of things when you move out the 5-technique. It’s really the same process he had to go through when we moved him outside. He had to start to figure out “hey, here comes this tight end now, or, maybe here comes something from outside in at me,” he’s got to get back used to again these things happening in closed quarters.”
(On how it feels to be the guy that either “makes” or “kills” the rookies’ dream of playing in NFL) – “I told you yesterday it was like Christmas and you just turned it into a nightmare for God’s sake (laughing). In this business it’s hard because there are some cold realities here in that not everybody at the end of this whole thing can make it and not everybody that’s here today maybe is going to be on any team in this league. I’m not sure of that one way or the other. But, the few that do, the stories that come out on the kids that do, like (Davone) Bess and some of these other players, I think those are the things that from a coaching standpoint you become most proud of in making some of those types of dreams come true when you look at them. We’ve heard stories on all of these kids that are here right now, so I know how important this is to all of them. Some of them are here and will get the opportunity to come here for the weekend and really have to impress. For them it’s kind of “I got to do this now.” But, from my end it’s really having the ability to say yes and no. It’s not something that I take great pleasure in by any stretch of the imagination. I feel bad for all of these kids, but, somewhere out there, there’s a place for all of them.”
(On if what he got from Anthony Fasano and Joey Haynos last year was enough) – “I think the usage can be a little bit different, but I think that we certainly got our worth out of both players last year. The job descriptions are different. When you break down the job descriptions and you look at the end of the year, and you see that Anthony Fasano is asked to pass protect 139 reps this year, and then you guys wanting to know why he’s not getting the ball. Well he was asked to pass protect 139 reps and that’s a part of the game as well. So, the job descriptions we’re a little bit different. Joey Haynos played 564 plays I believe last year. Different positions all across the board. When Fasano was out he had to play wide, when Fasano was back, he was playing F. In our two tight end package he played Z. So, some of those types of things, when you look at what they did, I think the usage may be something that we can improve on. Meaning, how we can get them involved a little bit more, but, not disappointed at all in what they did. As a team we need to do it all better, but, I think when you bring a player like a Brandon Marshall on your football team, it gives a few people around them a few more opportunities.”
(On his thoughts about Nolan Carroll) – “One of things, besides the fact that he’s a good football player, we had to go back obviously to ’08 and watch him play there and see what he did that way. His season was short this year, but, beside the fact that he’s a good football player, he’s been found on the field out there at midnight doing back pedal drills and all of these types of things and I think these things are all true with Nolan. He comes from very good family and good upbringing. When you talk with the young man he’s just an impressive guy, he really is. The first time I ever met him I was really impressed with the way he came off. Never mind how he presented himself from a football standpoint, but, he had all the other things that are important to us too. He’s a guy that we feel like has to make up and clearly he does and works out at night.”
(On what he likes about Ryan Grice-Mullen in comparison to Davone Bess) – “I think they’re two different players, I really do. I think they remind me a little bit of each other in the fact that—it must have been a heck of a 7 on 7 period down there in Hawaii when you’re throwing the ball around and these two guys are moving all over the place. They’re both really quick twitch guys that way, and they’re quicker probably then they are fast. That’s the thing that they have in common. Of course, Davone is built a little lower to the ground and Grice is a little taller than Davone I would say. Both of them have good ball skills. But, just a little bit different players I think in what they do for the football team. The thing that they have in common is that they both have return abilities and some of those skills. So, that was something that interests us with Grice as well.”
(On if there’s a difference between the skills needed for returning the football in the CFL versus the NFL) – “I would say so, yes. The field size and all of those kinds of things make it a little bit different. Also, certainly speed coming down the field and any of those types of things. So, I would think that having the ability to judge the ball as the returner and not having to go through that process—He has shown me so far, and not just here in the last couple of days, he has shown me good ability to judge the football back there which is a major hurdle with any returner is to get by that type of deal. So, I feel like he’s going to be a pretty good decision maker.”
(On his thoughts on trading Ted Ginn) – “I think Jeff answered that question a while ago. I think what went into that was just that we signed Brandon Marshall and both players played the same position. So, to be honest and fairness to Ted at that point, it was better that we move on. Then there was some value out there on top of that which gave us the ability to have a safety on the field today, so, I think that those types of things are reasons why we didn’t move with him.”
(On how getting Brandon Marshall will create opportunities in the return game) – “It does. It creates opportunities in the return game…but obviously when you do something like that, you think about all of the pros and the cons. As you guys you know, the thing to me is that you have to bring a player to the game with a real clear vision about what the number of plays they can potentially play. Although the return thing is very important, I want to have a guy that can do a few different things out there. There is going to be an opportunity for Grice-Millen and several others that will be us here as we get on.”
(On what he saw from Koa Misi in the Senior Bowl that made him feel he could make a seamless transition) – “Well in the Senior Bowl, he played off the football the whole time. The whole time during the Senior Bowl, he was an off the line of scrimmage linebacker that looked very natural in coverage, which he has looked in the last two days out here. He was a guy that took information and handled information very easy down there within the coverage. I just liked the way he moved that way. That led me to believe that the coverage part of this….his range. This kid was out in one on one drills down there, creating interceptions at the Senior Bowl, those type of things. I liked what he did what he did with his movement, his range and his coverage skills. You turn the film and watch Koa play…that’s a different deal now and it is easy to project whether or not the guy is going to be able to play the position from an “up” position because he is a million miles per hour full speed all of the time. He is just an exciting guy. He has rush ability at well with his hands and really understands what is happening to him. He is a really smart player.”
(On Misi’s weight fluctuations) – “We have some players like that a little bit. We have some guys at the position right now that are like that…can put it on and can take it off. We’ll see as we get on in this thing. One of the big things this weekend…it was good to see that he weighed 243 when he came in here. I think all of them were a little bit lighter. Well I don’t want to say all of them (laughter). There were some big guys. That wouldn’t be accurate I guess. Most of them were a little bit lighter because of the travel and all that.”
(On what weight he wants Misi to be) – “I am not sure. We want to watch him work this week, but somewhere in the 250-52ish. I want to see him run and see what his body does when he is down here eating pretty regularly that way and lifting the way we lift. I said it yesterday; some of these kids are training to run fast right now. That’s not necessarily what we need out here right now. We need them to run fast, but we’ve got them in the right physical condition. "
(On how long he thinks it will take John Jerry to get used to playing on the left side) – “Yesterday (laughing). It takes a little while. We are going to bounce him around a little bit. It takes a little while to get him used to the left handed stance and things happening from the left side. I know that sounds difficult…different for you and it shouldn’t be as big a deal as it is, but it is a big deal. What hand is down, what hand is up, what foot is that. All of those things take a little bit different time. I am telling you yesterday a player like (Richie) Incognito who has played for a little while has been a right guard…just anybody that moves over there in that situation…it’s not really natural to immediately. I would say it is going to take him through OTAs to feel a little bit comfortable.”
(On if he thinks A.J. Edds athleticism gets underestimated) – “He plays fast. More importantly when you watch A.J. on film, you see a pretty good fundamental player. The people at Iowa have done a great job of coaching them. He’s a good fundamental player out in space. He knows how to use his hands and uses his length. That is the one thing. How do you get better in that area without anointing any of these people…I would tell you that between Karlos (Dansby), Edds and Koa, our length is tremendous right now. These players are long players when you look at these players. (Chris) McCoy is a long guy. Edds in space plays long. He has good foot speed out there and covered some pretty good people. Tight ends, receivers, so his foot speed is good. Well coached, plays long and I think those are good qualities to have when you are out in coverage.
(On the purpose of the offensive line drill with the heavy bags) – “The purpose of that is getting them used to playing on their back foot. What we watched last night is that we’ve seen a lot of waist bending. We’ve seen a lot of people playing forward and start to get their feet underneath a little bit and get used to playing more on their back foot and less with their face in their protection a little bit. That sandbag weighs you down and if you are sitting back, it will move you forward.”
(On how heavy the sand bags are) – “Those are 50 pounds, so pretty heavy.”
(On defensive tackle Travis Ivey) – “(He’s a) big guy, has some real good ability, we’ll have to play around with him a little bit and get him in good shape and maybe get his weight down a few pounds. He really is not a bad looking big guy for his size. When you watch him on film he flashes at times some pretty good ability out there that leads you to believe that if we can get some consistency out of him, we aren’t asking him to play 50 plays right now, we have got a guy in there that we feel is going to be pretty good and we got Paul Soliai in there right now. So I think that when you look at him we want to be able to get some consistency and start with some shorter bursts and build him up, I think that’s the big thing. He has flashed on film the ability to do some pretty good things, so we will see how it goes.”
(On Ivey starting to play game later than most players) – “There is some more upside there, there’s good upside. I said this before, you don’t find people with that kind of size, this is a big man’s game, and you don’t find people with that kind of size, so to take a shot and our scouts did a heck of a job in being able to get him here. There were a lot of takers on draft day at the end of the draft to try to get his services, so we were able to get him here, and we have got a lot of work to do with him right now but I think what I have seen out here he’s a pretty willing guy.”
(On what he saw on film of Nolan Carroll’s comfort playing the slot) –“Yeah Ethan, you see him in the slot especially in ’08, you have to go back and see some of that stuff, but you do see him in there a little bit. One of the things that I think I want to try to do with Nolan right away is to just get him in a position where he’s going to be able to get himself settled down and play because he has missed so much time. So I think early on in this process trying to bounce him around in the slot when there are some contenders on the team right now that I need to see with Nate (Jones) being gone now, there’s a couple guys that I do need to see in there right now. I think that we are going to kind of let him get his feet set at corner right now and then take a look at some of the players that we have in there and then worry about whether we get him inside.”
(On attending Game 4 of the NBA playoffs with Heat President Pat Riley) – “I won’t say what we talked about, but that was a real treat for me. To have the opportunity to sit next to Coach Riley, obviously I get that treat every day when I come in here from a football stand point when you have somebody down the hall like Coach Parcells, but hearing it from a different side and talking about critical factors in our sport and critical factors in their sport and some of the things that you look for and what they look for it was kind of neat. It was great conversation, I got an awful lot out of that and I really appreciate him taking the time to do that at such an important time for them.”
(On if Coach Riley invited him to the game) – “No I wanted to go to the ballgame and when I got down there I got a good surprise, so it was kind of neat.”
(On seeing Dwayne Wade’s performance in person) – “Yeah I wanted to get in Coach Riley’s ear and maybe getting him out here and running a few routes for us, but I don’t think that would go real well.”
(On how John Jerry’s body compares to where Donald Thomas’ body was when he was a rookie) – “Well they are two different guys. One of the things with Donald when he came in here, you know Donald is a tightly wound guy, he is put together very, very well. When you do the body fats and those types of things, Donald is very strong, very well put together guy. With John, he is a bigger boned type of a guy, kind of a little bit wider in some of these areas and he is a powerful guy, really strong, plays powerful. Getting him used, particularly in the lower (body), get him a little bit stronger and used to using some of those leverages a little bit differently and the strength that he can generate from his lower will be critical over the next several weeks.”