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Crowder doubtful (he's not playing) plus more

Usually the Dolphins are not practicing on Saturday because they're either having a walk-thru practice or flying to their away games. But since this week is about playing on Monday Night Football, the Fins practiced Saturday.

And afterward, coach Tony Sparano met with the local media for the final time before the game. Here is everything he said. By the way, Channing Crowder is back to the team and worked on a limited basis Saturday. He's listed as doubtful, but let's be clear, he's not playing.

(On if he wants to say how Channing Crowder’s doctors visit went) – “No, not really. I mean nothing I want to say.”

(On how Channing Crowder will be listed on the injury report) – “I believe he was limited practice today, doubtful.”

 (On whether the Patriots still have their mystique) – “Sure, yeah absolutely, as I told the team today, the Patriots, Jets those were the two playoff teams last year. So those are the teams we’re chasing. Until we beat them, we’re still chasing them. To me they still have that. They know how to win games; they know how to win big games. They’ve been in a lot of them; their quarterback’s been in a lot of them. I still think they have it; sure they do.”

(On the Patriots defense) – “Yeah I mean some of the faces obviously have changed, but they still look like the same group of people in that they’re really a big physical group. You don’t have (Ty) Warren or (Richard) Seymour right now, but you got (Ron) Brace and these guys are big, the other (Gerard) Warren. So they’re really big, strong, physical people. The two inside linebackers, you know (Jerod) Mayo’s been there a few years; I really think he’s a heck of a player, but this (Brandon) Spikes from (the University of) Florida is a good player, physical guy. I think it’s a similar group, I really do. The back end, their safeties are tough guys, no different than they were a couple years ago back in the day. I think it’s a good group of people.”

(On the Patriots offensive line) – “Yeah well I mean there’s obviously good depth but that group really, they’ve really worked well together right from the beginning. They’ve done a nice job; looks like they got a bunch of smart guys up there that play real hard. (Dan) Koppen I think really does a super job with them in the middle there in getting those guys lined up and getting them going. Of course (Matt) Light has always been really a good player. They’ve got good players up there, and they’ve had a couple guys step in there and fill in for them that have done a nice job.”

(On Lousaka Polite and Davone Bess on third down and the value to have a viable option in the running and passing game on third down) – “Yeah I think so; I think it means something to the people that are defending you too. I think that’s where it helps you. In other words if it was just one and not the other I think (it’s) a little bit easier to maybe take that element out of third down. When you have the possibility of being able to run the ball okay or gain the yard that you need there or have a player like Bess right now and, or Brandon (Marshall) because right now in the league Bess and Brandon are really up there in these third downs in the league. When you have those elements I think it makes it really hard to defend all the weapons, and it’s like us playing against this group. They got two or three weapons there on third down that you got to make sure you account for.”

(On whether it is a legitimate gift to be talented on third down) – “I think so, yeah and one of the reasons I think so Jeff is because of the situation. In other words that’s one of the most critical situations in the game that comes up. I think that the players that can consistently are good on third down the way Bess has been good on third down, you would call them clutch performers. You would put them into one of those categories, and I kind of think that there’s a, when you’re looking at critical factors of a player, I think that’s one of the critical factors with some of these players that you can find out after you draft them and when the ball is hiked a little bit. I think it’s a pretty good gift to have.”

(On the most important thing he tells his linebackers and defensive backs when facing Wes Welker) – “You have to be disciplined with Wes. It’s just before the catch is where you’ve got to be disciplined with this guy because you have to have yourself in good body position to either make a play on the ball or make a play on him. I think that he’s such a herky jerky quick guy that when he gets you set and he gets your feet flat footed at that point is where he makes his next move one way or the other. I think that when you fall asleep on that move, you’re going to lose the rep and not only lose it, but probably lose it badly because you’re going to be in a bad body position trying to tackle this guy. The things that you’re telling them is to constantly be on the balls of your feet, constantly being in good body positions, try to get your hands on him and reroute him, do some of those type of things is what I think you go to do. Making sure that you’re, and I used this term before, plastering him throughout the rep is going to be important.”

(On whether he has ever found himself getting too wrapped up in what Bill Belichick is doing) – “No, not at all, no.”

(On whether there is even a temptation to over-prepare when facing Bill Belichick) – “I think he’s a great coach; he’s one of the great coaches that we’ve had in this league for a long time now. Coach Belichick concerns me, but they guy wearing 81 (Randy Moss) and 83 (Wes Welker) and the quarterback (Tom Brady) and those people; they concern me pretty big.”

(On whether he would be pleased if the infield dirt was taken up again) – “Yes, so if that happens, that would be super.”

(On whether the infield dirt is an issue he may not know the outcome of until Monday) – “Yeah it’s not, it’s not an issue one way or the other. My team is 100% prepared for the infield.”

(On the umpire’s new placement) – “Yeah I mean I haven’t really seen a whole lot one way or the other with the placement. I thought it was it was going to be a bigger factor in interference at times back there just because you’re not used to having him back there. These quarterbacks all of a sudden turn around and there’s another body there. It hasn’t really been a factor one way or the other. The calls have all, I’ve actually studied the calls between this year’s three weeks and last year’s first three weeks, and it’s probably pretty similar.”

(On if defensive lineman can now get away with a little more because of the umpire’s new position) – “I wouldn’t, I’m not going to comment on that.”

(On his being good at avoiding those questions) – “I need my money. I got kids in college.”

(On his son Tony’s coaching and if he’s been able to keep up with it) – “Yeah I got a chance to watch the game last week; it was good. My wife and I put in Direct TV and actually on that day Friday and they played Jeff Garcia and the Omaha team or whatever that was. They lost in the last second of the game on a last play. It was interesting. Garcia threw a touchdown to I believe it was Robert Ferguson, but they had a bye week this week. Actually my little guy is playing Yale right now from Albany’s playing Yale down at the Yale Bowl down in my hometown so my wife and my entire family are there. They were winning at the half but you guys are holding me up.”

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