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1 posts from June 2010

June 01, 2010

Tony Sparano on Tuesday's OTA

Yes, I'm on vacation. But I have not gone anywhere yet. And I cannot stay away from the information. So I'm going to share with you everything coach Tony Sparano said after Tuesday's OTA session, courtesy the Dolphins media relations department.

Head Coach Tony Sparano:

(On how Channing Crowder is coming along) – “He’s coming along good. We were able to get him involved a little bit more today. You know, it’s a little positive getting him out there and getting him running around. So, we’ll just take it slow. We’re going to have five or six more of these so little by little here we’ll check again with him tomorrow to see how he does after today’s work and we’ll maybe start to get him involved a little bit more. So hopefully by the end of this we’ll have a big chunk of it anyways.”

(On the green dot (signal calling) and if they worked with that today – “We did a little bit. If fact today out there we had the offense on the defense’s and the defense on the offense’s, so it was out of whack today. But we’ve done a little bit in the last three or four games, yeah.”

(On if the green dot usage will be a training camp decision) –“Yeah, right now we have it in Channing (Crowder)—well, not Channing (Crowder) but I believe in Karlos (Dansby) and (Austin) Spitler’s helmet today out there. Just linebackers and safeties. Yeremiah (Bell) has one in there right now, so, we’ll see.”  

(On if the green dot usage makes it easier on the offense”) – “Yeah, very easy on the offense because they knew the call (laughing).”

(On Chad Henne and what areas of improvement he wants to see) “I would say that probably the greatest thing that we needed to see improvement in from Chad is certainly the decision making process of taking care of the football. Sometimes the impulse throws, feeling like you have to do it all on one play, you know, or maybe have to do it all on one play, those types of things. Some of the up and down throws, the touch throws that are necessary in the middle of the field. He’s showed improvement in both those areas right now. His numbers are off the chart here right now. On Sunday he was 12 for 12 in practice. So, this guy’s numbers are outstanding as we speak going through these practices and OTA’s and he’s made good decisions and is taking care of the ball. Today, backed up, first play, our backs against the wall, he throws the ball away…it’s a good decision.”  

(On Vernon Carey and his veteran leadership) – “Vernon is a veteran player that’s played an awful lot of games; he’s started a lot of games in this league. So, I think that alone should create a little bit of leadership that way and I think what Vernon has done really well is he and Jake (Long) mesh pretty well together. I don’t think you find too many places where the two of them aren’t together. So, that’s worked out pretty well within that group as well. So, I like what Vernon has done, he’s a guy that always comes out here every day, he practices and you can count on him in the ball game. So, those types of leadership qualities are pretty good when you find a guy that’s dependable like that.”

(On how Vernon Carey helps with the young players) – “He’s good. He communicates well with the young guys. That group is pretty…well, there not selfish in that group at all. A lot of those guys don’t mind sharing information. You got (Joe) Berger, and (Jake) Grove who are competing with each other out here and everyday they’re in the weight room lifting together. So, these guys are pretty unselfish that way and they try to help each other out.”

(On Chris Clemons being an overall quiet guy on and off the field) – “Well, I’ve noticed that Chris has opened up a lot right now. Now again, off the field I’m not sure what Chris is like when he’s off the field that way, but while he’s in this building he’s been strictly professional that way and speaks—when you know, he’s very vocal when he needs to be vocal. So, I was just talking about it today to the team this morning—Chris had 256 scrimmage plays right now in practice. 256, that’s the most on the team by any player. Those are live scrimmage reps and he’s got minimal, minimal, mental mistakes. So a lot of that is due to the fact that this guy is a communicator and sees it pretty clear. He’s been doing a nice job that way. So, I guess when he gets out here it must be a good ‘ham and egger’ day.”

(On Chris Clemons learning the defense and if it has to do with learning his personality) – “Yeah, I think so. It just comes with learning the defense really. And I think it comes with a little bit more confidence too. When you see it in Chad Henne in the huddle and you know, a year ago, there was questions about Chad Henne in the huddle, and now here he is with a bunch of games under his belt and when the guy is completely different in the huddle, well, Chris (Clemons) had a good taste last year. He got out there and got to play in some ball games and he’s getting a big dose right now out here. So, I think with playing time, I think these guys open up a little bit more out there and he’s been crystal clear to me.”

(On if he’s challenging players with weight loss in junction with his personal weight loss) – “Not getting into any of those competitions like that. So, I’ve heard a few of them that were running around the league but, I haven’t gotten into many of them. But, I’ll challenge any of them but to bang in the tires and flipping them if they want.”

(On Donald Thomas and what he wants to see from him) – “Well, I’ll tell one thing, right now what I’ve seen in Donald is that he’s moving an awful lot better. Now this is one of the first and I’m going to say this in regard it saying it. But, it really is the first time that we’re dealing with Donald in one of these off seasons here where he’s completely healthy and he’s had the benefit of the entire off season program to date. So, this guy is moving an awful lot better. I think the mental part of this thing and the game slowing down for him you don’t realize it, but, because you think, well he started his first year here as a rookie, but only played one game. And then he sat the rest of season with an injury and now you get to the last year where he’s really trying to catch up in training camp coming off of the injury So, this guy really hasn’t played a lot of football. So, the game is just starting to, I think, slow down for him in there a little bit. And that’s the biggest thing we need to see, is the game slow down for him so he can play a little faster.”

(On which position he is trying to work with Donald Thomas at-left or right side) – “Well, I think we’re trying to just put these guys—I know Donald (Thomas) can play both sides. I really know Cory (Procter) can play both sides. And John (Jerry) being young I would want him to play one side right now. But I think that we’re just trying to get them in positions here to get enough reps out of them and see them play. As we get out in training camp then we’ll start to pair it down and really work, and getting a little closer to the game we’ll figure out who needs to play both sides and why.”

(On if the number of guards they have are misleading or due to versatility) – “Yeah, I think it probably can be a little bit misleading. Right now, there are a couple of guys out there that are just one whole players, so to speak, at this time. They can play two positions, maybe left and right, which is helpful. But not necessarily move inside and play center and move outside and play tackle. So, there’s a couple of things as we get on in this that still have to happen in that group. Somebody from the inside may have to go to the outside like Nate Garner was able to do for us last year. That’s value at the ball game when you have a guy that can play guard and go out and play tackle as well. Or vice versa, play tackle and can go in and play guard. I think those are valuable pieces to have when you’re at the game.”

(On if he sees Cory (Procter) getting into playing the guard position) – “No, I don’t think so not right now. Maybe somewhere down the road. Right now, we have three centers out here that are working pretty consistently and we need to get all of them evaluated the right way. At some point down the road, we see how this thing sorts out and I’m not going to worry about it. But, I know Cory (Procter) is going to do well. 

(On why Jared Odrick hasn’t seemed to take as many reps with the first team as other rookies such as Koa Misi) – “Not in the first group you mean? Yeah, he was out there today in the first group. I think what we do on defense right now, depending on the day; the subs stuff, the third down stuff, some of those guys are up in the first group, some of them are down in the second group. It’s just a matter; a lot of it is the package. Today, we were working the big packages; the short yardage, the goal lines, those things and Jared was in the first group.”

(On whether he is surprised by Brian Hartline’s big play ability and whether or not that gives him an advantage in the competition at Wide Receiver) – “I would say that anybody that puts up big play numbers there’s an edge. Okay, so I’m not saying that that’s Brian or anybody else, but if the numbers at the end of these training camps and into these preseason games show us that there’s another guy out there capable of posting those kind of numbers, that’s certainly going to open my eyes because that’s what we’re looking for. But the thing I think that Brian did well, to his credit, is his big plays weren’t only catching the ball you know at a certain distance. He was able to run with the ball after the catch. I think that those things, some of those eight yard plays that you know he turned into fifteen, eighteen, twenty yard plays have been really big plays for us too. That is not something that surprised me to be honest with you. I think that he’s really a competitive guy. He’s a guy that understands that half of his job is to catch the ball and then there’s this other half that comes after the catch and think he’s pretty hungry to do those things. So I’ve been with what Brian’s done. He’s in really good shape right now. He’s played well.”

(On whether the media sometimes makes too much of who is taking reps with the first team during OTA’s and Minicamp) – “Absolutely, but I do think at this time right now, everybody’s dealing with the same problem. You know, you have 80 guys. I mean the Karlos Dansby’s of the world; those people are in the first groups. Of course they’re in the first groups; those guys are here to play. But, there’s some guys who are in-and-out and up-and-down, and there’s reasons for all of it, honestly. I mean I’m going to go in there tonight at 3 o’clock and I’m going to meet with my staff and I have the breakdown of the reps every day by practice. So I know who’s taking what reps and we’re sitting in meeting the other day and I’m saying to Todd Bowles, “Hey look, I want (Ross) Weaver and (A.J.) Wallace to get more reps against this group of people right now.” You know, so it’s bringing the third group up to the second group and the second group down to the third group. You know, we switched Pat (White) and Tyler (Thigpen) last week a little bit, you know in those huddles to make sure that that’s happening.  So it’s about trying to get the work against the better people. Different groups competing against different people right now and not necessarily getting stuck on who’s in the first huddle now or any of those things. It really is just about the number of reps. Sometimes the first group, by the nature of the Quarterback on the other side, Chad Henne, can dictate how many reps people are taking because I really don’t want, in the first group, a lot of down the liner’s with Chad. I kind of want Chad, so if Chad’s taking six reps, well we’re going to get as many guys that we think are going to be up in the first couple groups with Chad to work with Chad and that deal, and now the rest of the reps kind of trickle down. Right now, reading an awful lot into it is just going to frustrate you guys.”

(On his prior experience and whether he has had players who have looked good throughout OTA’s, but once you put pads on them, don’t look as good) – “Yeah, well I’ve had experience with it. Yeah, I have. You got to be careful right now and what you’re seeing out here from our end. I’ve said this before, and I do believe that there are some things out here that you can see out here at different positions. I don’t think you’re going to be able to tell a whole lot about these linebackers other than the athletic part of things right now. These fullbacks, these tight ends, those type of things; throwing, catching, the athletic part of things. But all of a sudden when you get out here and you start protecting, and you start run blocking at full speed and you start doing things that way and isolating in the hole with fullbacks. Those are things you can only see when you put pads on. Now the lineman, I think you can kind of see a guy that’s going to take a bite out of you right now, maybe you can get an idea of that. But it’s still too early to tell. So some guys, they look really good in helmets and t-shirts out here and then may surprise you when you get down the road one way or another. Sometimes that can work to their advantage, and sometimes maybe not so much. So, I try to watch that a little bit. When we’re evaluating, it’s more about the mental part of things than the athleticism right now than anything else.”

(On whether he knew Nate Garner would have the kind of season he did last year at this point in the process) – “At this point no, I couldn’t say that, no. To his credit, he did an awful lot of work in the offseason and you know with Nate, Nate was one of these guys that we’re talking about here. When you put Nate out there in pads, he was just; he really was a tough guy. I mean he really was a tough guy. There’s some things Nate can do a lot better, but from a toughness standpoint and a mental, being able to handle the game mentally, you know this guy doesn’t make a lot of mental mistakes and he’s tough. He’ll stay in front of you. So, those were things that you could see in training Camp and it forces you say, get him in the game, put him in the game. And then as he’s doing this in the game, you figure you got a little something here.”

(On what guys have caught his eye while returning kicks thus far) – “Returners, yeah I mean those people all have done a nice job. You know, (Ryan) Grice-Mullen and Kory (Sheets), and a couple of these other guys have done a nice job. I like, obviously what (Davone) Bess has done back there as well. We got (Julius) Pruitt working back there. We’ve got four or five guys working back there that we’ve kind of narrowed this, this thing down to, at least for now as we go into this. I like what they’ve done right now. Today we had a couple deals where we didn’t use good judgment and we have to use good judgment back there.”

(On Cameron Wake whether the media is looking too much into his not taking too many reps with the first squad or if he is waiting for Cameron to take the next step) – “No, I mean I think you’re probably reading a little bit too much into that again too. I think when you look at the number of reps; Cameron has the most reps of any Will Linebacker right now. So anybody who’s playing the Will Linebacker spot, Cameron has the most reps. It goes back to the question that Ethan asked before because if you break down the reps, Omar, he might not start in that group right away. Charlie (Anderson) may be walking out there first, but he’s taking a couple of those reps. He’s getting a couple those first team reps at the end. Charlie may be in for four, he may go in for two and then play that next group of people for three, four, but he has the most reps. At the end of this whole thing, it really is about the amount of reps and how many at bats you can give these guys in different situations. If we’re working a series of six plays in the red area and the tight red, well I may want Cameron to make sure that he gets a play in the tight red and in the red, instead of just giving him two plays in the red area.”

(On if Paul Soliai’s maybe missed his window of opportunity last year to start) – “I wouldn’t say that he missed his window of opportunity. This is still a young player that had an awful lot to learn and he’s behind a veteran player in (Jason) Ferguson at the time and all that, and did go in there and play really pretty, pretty well for us at the time. You know, I mean obviously had ups and downs throughout some of that but played some pretty good football games during that stretch, you know did some things well. I would say that with Paul, the consistency thing has to happen for us in there right now, and he’s getting a ton of work out here as we speak, but making the move with Randy (Starks), I mean I really think Randy’s going to be a good player in there, a really good, solid player in there and you don’t have enough of them. I mean, we really don’t. So Paul’s going to play plenty of snaps in there right now as we look at it, and this guy’s a competitor. I mean he’s doing a good job with his body weight right now and he’s really worked pretty hard. But consistency, I think at that position is important. The people in back of you really want to know that, that you’re taking good care of them.”

(On where Patrick Turner stands with the mental side of the game at this current point in time since he cannot participate in practice) – “Pat, I think he’s really good in the mental part of this right now. In fact, today, I’m just watching tape up there and those guys are huddled up with the Quarterbacks, standing over there today, and they’re going over some of these plays. I think Pat Turner; he’s not going to have any problems mentally. I think he’s done a good job of keeping himself involved that way, mentally and Karl (Dorrell) and Steve Bush have done a nice job also.”