The Dolphins did more adjusting of their roster on Sunday, and as we discussed yesterday, the veteran defensive ends that made the final cuts Saturday won't be around for the team meeting Monday morning.
Will Allen also won't be around this year as he has been placed on injured reserve. Don't be surprised if Allen's Dolphins career comes to an end after he's healthy. He is signed through 2011 but it seems unlikely the team will pay him his scheduled $5.5 million for that season after he's missed almost two seasons with the same knee injury. Bringing him to camp next year will be an expensive risk the Dolphins may decide not to take.
Anyway, for an overview of the roster moves the team made Sunday click here.
Coach Tony Sparano met with the media late Sunday afternoon. It was a meeting that showed that the regular-season and it's pressures are here because Coach didn't seem eager to share anything that might help the Buffalo Bills.
Explain why the team made the roster decisions it did? No.
Give an update on Jake Long's knee injury? No.
Give an update on Channing Crowder? Nope.
I get it, good for the Dolphins ...
One answer that stuck out like a sore thumb was when Sparano was asked if he'd bring back David Martin, who was cut yeterday.
"We'll see," he said.
Um, no we won't see. Martin has joined the Buffalo Bills and by tomorrow will be downloading for Buffalo not only what the Miami offense is about, but perhaps telling offensive coaches about all the blitz packages Miami is using in practice. Ouch.
The Dolphins open the season Sunday against Buffalo.
I'm sure the Dolphins will say all that information sharing is over-rated. But I'd rather have a former Buffalo player giving the Dolphins information than have a former Miami player giving Buffalo information, that's for sure.
Anway, what follows is everything coach Sparano said to the media today:
(On why Will Allen was put on IR) –“Well, I’m not going to get into any specific reasons why we did any of these things. But I just think that - something that had to be done right now.”
(On the team being very young and how many rookies are on the roster) –“18 total. Well (I mean) there’s 18 first or second year players, whether they be rookies or first or second year players on the roster right now. But there’s 23 guys on the roster that are five years or better. So, there’s a good mix I think on the team as you look at it right now - you’re trying to develop some young players and you have some of the young players that you have developed in that mix and then you have a good group of veteran players. I always thought that those five six year guys made up really your varsity - they were those guys that kind of grew up in your program a little bit. We’ve been fortunate now because we have a good group of 3 year guys right now on the team too with Jake Long and (Chad) Henne and (Kendall) Langford and these people here (you know) so, that’s been a real positive group for us too. So, I like the makeup of the team. The strengths are good. There’s youth and then there’s some certainly some veteran leadership there.”
(On how much did his experience with players like Davone Bess or Dan Carpenter (undrafted college free agents) in the past help him make the decisions that were made) - “I’d say quite a bit, yeah sure. I think that one of things with Davone Bess when he came in here that you learned is that - we got a chance to evaluate really a guy that was ahead of the curve I think from a receiving standpoint. You’ve seen this guy come into a NFL camp show great stamina during the camp - it wasn’t too big for him at times, well most times I should say, it wasn’t too big for him. And played good in the games when he would have the opportunity to. So, he learned a little bit from Davone (Bess) in that situation and I kind of felt like these two players have really done a lot of those things. (I mean) every challenge that we’ve thrown in front of these two guys, they have answered really. Had very few days out there where concentration issues and any of those things were factors. So, it didn’t look like it was too big for them and when they went to the games they played pretty good. Not to mention that both of these guys can do a little bit more than maybe what they’ve been.
(On what he envisioned in Pat White when he was first drafted to the team) - “Just a young developing quarterback, that’s all, really. It didn’t have anything to do with - it didn’t have anything to do with wildcat or any of those things. We liked the quarterback prospect and I think that the wildcat stuff, all of those things were icing on the cake. We knew that we would get those things in Pat (White) and could have had those things in Pat (White) that way. We used him in a few games in those situations, but, this was again a hard decision. Not an easy decision because he is a young player that has good developmental skills. It’s more about what the other people at the position did I think in this situation. You look at what Tyler (Thigpen) has done in his time here right now. And he’s played a lot of snaps and had a lot of opportunity to both have success and/or fail. And we felt like Tyler (Thigpen) has made good strides and he’s a young players. He’s one of these four year guys that we’re talking about and then of course (Chad) Henne who’s a three year player in that group, so. We really feel like the quarterback position and the decision on Pat (White) really had more to do with what the other people did, including Chad Pennington.”
(On how he looks at the 2009 Draft) – “I just - I think you got to - you can’t, you certainly can’t dwell on the “what ifs” on any of those types of things. I think you got to look back and you got to try to think about what you got out of it. I mean I look at guys like (Chris) Clemons and some of these people and say hey, these are pretty positive guys right now that maybe - who knows, a while ago we were thinking we needed - we had to have a free safety and we had to go out and spend a lot of money for one and maybe there’s one there that we got in the fifth round, so.”
(On if he looks at that and uses it as a learning experience) – “I think we evaluate everything we do. I think you go through this and you evaluate everything you do with the ones that maybe didn’t work out. But I also think you got to look at the ones that have worked, okay, and you got to look at these ones that you’ve stolen. And part of our philosophy here, and I’ve made that very clear is just that the time after that you’re off, okay, this whole free agent period right now, for us is an extension of the draft. It’s no different than accumulating seventh round picks right now. So, and I think that we’ve done a pretty good job in that phase right now to see ... really we’ve had three free agents make the team right now with the two young guys in receivers and Micah (Johnson). So, that’s - those are like added draft picks for us.”
(On how tough it was to let go of David Martin)– “Yeah, it was really tough, really tough. So, (You know) in the last - in that. I told the team yesterday, I said look, I don’t expect anybody really - you certainly - nobody needs to feel sorry for me in this situation, that’s part of my job. But it wasn’t a good day yet it was a good day in that once the decisions were made, we were able to move on and really get a good look at this 53-man squad right now and you have excitement and enthusiasm about what lies ahead with this 53-man squad right now. (I mean) I like the makeup of it. But those decisions when you’re making them, they’re hard decisions, (I mean) they really are because (you know) you know these people personally and in one way or the other they’ve done something for you. And I’m not naïve enough to know that David Martin isn’t a guy that’s done something for me since I’ve been here and I appreciate that.”
(On if Jermey Parnell is going to play offensive line and tight end) –“Right now he’s going to play offensive line, so.”
(On if they’re going to head into the season with just two tight ends for now) –“Well that’s the way we’re heading right now. We’ll see.”
(On if there’s any chance on bringing David Martin back) – “Well see.”
(On if John Nalbone can be a legitimate pass catching threat in the offense) – “I think so, yeah. I think that John, one of the - I think one of John’s redeeming qualities is the fact that he can run and catch down the field and we’ve seen it in practices we’ve seen it that way. We’ve seen it over the last year, so this is a guy that we think has gotten a lot better right now. He’s certainly has made improvement along the way. We’ll just have that - time will tell. (I mean) this guy hasn’t been in a game yet. So, we’ll see.”
(On if he’s still looking for something with the backup offensive lineman) – “Kind of still looking for the right combination of people. I think we’re a little bit closer to the right combination of people certainly. And I think the additions of the people that we just added here recently I think will help us with (Jermey) Parnell and (Joe) Reitz. So I think that that’ll help us a little bit right now. But I think one of the things you can’t - you got to be careful not to - when you’re putting a line together make sure that you have tackles - those positional players are a little different than - you want to have good - you want to have a number of backs those type of people because I think as you get on in this thing later on they’re hard to find. So, from my end, position flexibility some of those things maybe guys that can do a few more jobs and help a little bit. Now (Cory) Procter was one of those guys, he could do some jobs but I think there’s some other guys here including couple of the ones that we just brought in that we feel like can do some of those jobs.”
(On if the team is making an effort to become younger; accurate or coincidental) – “It’s just coincidental in those areas. I just think that - I think one of the things within the defensive line area is that you do have a couple of young developing players there that we just picked up. So I think - and they’re guys that we thought highly of. So, had they not been out there in that situation we certainly maybe wouldn’t have done what we did today. But because they were out there in that situation we had the ability to get them and we thought highly of them in the draft. This was an opportunity to get a couple of players that were young and developed and in what we’re finding out is that these interior guys - you know they’re the guys that play the most plays at the end of this whole thing. It isn’t the receivers it isn’t the running backs it isn’t those people. These guys go out there and they’re playing 75-80 plays at the level that they have to play from a physical standpoint you just don’t have enough of them and you would hope that they would be young enough and have enough stamina to do what you need them to do.”
(On his comfort level with his corner backs) – “Well I think one of the things is, obviously I feel comfortable with the group. I think Vontae’s really had a really good camp, so I feel really comfortable there. I thought Jason Allen had a really productive camp. I think Sean’s (Smith) gotten better. I know that Sean had a couple rough go’s at times in a few ball games, but I feel the guy’s gotten better. He’s another one of these two year players, so from that end. The addition of Nolan Carroll I think is going to be a good addition for us there, and Benny (Sapp is a good addition). I think those that people will help us a little bit; they give us jobs at the game and at the same time are competitive corners. I can remember coming in here my first year and being able to look around at some of the names at that time and now where we are right now. I mean we got five corners that I feel like can go in the game and compete. We’ll see, I mean I know they’re young; I got it, but they were young last year too.”
(On what he likes about the newly acquired Pat McQuistan) – “Pat McQuistan is a guy that of course I had with me in Dallas and I brought him in as a free agent at the time and he is a, first of all he’s a smart player, second of all he can play a few positions. He’s a durable player; the guy I mean he keeps going and a really strong guy. There’s a lot of things I like about Pat that way and I’ve had good experience with him. He’s helped himself in the last, you know the last year or so since I’ve been gone where he’s kind of been able to go in and play guard. In our game the other night he played two positions; he played and really on both sides, so he really played all four spots except for center out there in the course of the game which was pretty good.”
(On whether he would have had more patience with Will Allen’s injury if Vontae Davis and Sean Smith hadn’t seen so much playing time last season) – “I mean just, obviously knowing more about Sean and Vontae and seeing the progress of Jason Allen makes those decisions easier I think. Getting the surprise, I wouldn’t call it a surprise, I shouldn’t call it that, but seeing the progress of Nolan Carroll throughout this whole camp. I think those type of guys make that decision a little bit easier. I mean it certainly isn’t an easy decision though to be able to do that with a ten year guy.”
(On whether he has any information on Channing Crowder’s unspecified injury) – “No, no more information that I’m going to give you today. So I believe Wednesday’s the first time I really have to do that.”
(On this year’s expectations compared to his first two seasons as head coach) – “To me the expectations are really high going into this season, no question about it. I think that for us, we want to be in the playoffs, so those are the expectations. Now some people can stand up there and talk about it and not really feel like they have a chance to do it but think it’s the right thing to say, okay. I really believe that we have a chance to do this. This football team walking in the door on Monday knows the expectations clearly, okay. They’re not going to back down from the expectations, and that’s what I would tell you. I mean the expectations for us are that we continue to improve here and get to the playoffs and give ourselves a chance.”
(On what positions newly acquired Jermey Parnell and Joe Reitz play on the offensive line) – “Yeah, guard and tackle; again, Reitz can do a little bit of both. So, a Nate Garner like type of guy.”
(On whether Pat McQuistan is also a Nate Garner type of player) – “Yeah I mean, so same deal. So now you’re gaining on me and I know that, I don’t want to spend a lot of time with this but like with Cory (Proctor), you think well you lost a guard, okay and that type of thing, but you really did gain two you know here in these couple moves too. They can play guard and tackle which helps you a little bit.”
(On the status of Jake Long’s knee) – “You’ll find out Wednesday.”
(On Quentin Moses and his value to the team) – “Here’s what I think Quentin has done right now. In the ball games that Quentin has played in, of course he missed a game there. This guy against the run I think is probably one of the better guys that we’ve had against the run. I mean he’ll punch you; he can knock the tight end back. With he and Ike (Ikaika Alama-Francis) and Koa (Misi) right now, you feel a little bit stronger there, and what he’s done is he’s also gone in the game and given you a little bit of pass rush. Now he’s done that even last year at times when we brought him up in the few opportunities that we did bring him to the game, he was able to rush the passer and get to the quarterback a little bit that way. I think those are the things he’s done; what he needs to do right now is he needs to continue to, to progress on special teams because that’s going to be important for him as we get on in this thing too is that, that role gets better, but I think that that’s what he’s done.”