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Tony Sparano & Brandon Marshall Media Session



Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Head Coach Tony Sparano

(On what guys might return to practice today (i.e. Reshad Jones, Tristan Davis, Channing Crowder, Greg Camarillo) –“Yeah, I expect a few of those guys to be back in practice today. So, a couple of them were still up in the there. But, there’s a chance that most of them might work.”

(On if he has any concerns that some of their absences due to injuries might be long term) –“No.”


(On  Nate Garner and when will he make a decision on if he’ll keep him as part of the 53 or possibly putting him on the IR list (if he’ll be out longer than expected)) – “I think that’s probably something that’s going to happen down the road here. So, when we see maybe a little bit more of some of the people that we have here and where we are and really get a better idea on what the time frame might be. I really have no idea, honestly, what the time frame is. (You know) I think that the last deal that they had we took every caution that we could take trying to get that thing going the right way and obviously had a setback. I don’t know what the time frame is, but we need to make sure it’s right.”


(On if he has decided on his quarterback rotation and if Chad Pennington will get to play in the upcoming game) - “I have not really decided it yet. But, chance probably not right now. Chance, so, (I) might change my mind so I reserve the right.”


(On if it matters when he decides who his back-up quarterback is and the timeframe) – “You guys think that that’s only decided with a twelve year veteran in the game (the backup quarterback thing). I think I see an awful lot of what’s going on out here at practice right now. So, I know exactly what Chad Pennington needs. So, I’m not really that concerned about that. I’m concerned about seeing some of the other guys that I really do need to see in these ball games, so.”


(On what his reaction to the news that Brett Favre being back in the league) – “I have no reaction.”


(On the offensive line (i.e. Donald Thomas, Cory Procter, and Lydon Murtha flipping sides more than usual and if so why) – “Yeah, that’s correct. They were flipping sides a little bit more and we…just a way to get them a few more reps. And I think with John Jerry we were kind of trying to not put as many on John’s (Jerry) plate yesterday. So, those guys worked around a little bit more than usual and that may or may not happen in the game, but, we wanted to have the flexibility to kind of get those guys on both sides.”


(On how nice it is to have an All-Pro like Yeremiah Bell and if he plans to expand his duties) –“No, I think his duties I would say within our defensive scheme would be expanded. But, having him back there is a tremendous luxury for us. It’s hard to believe, but he’s the—if I’m correct here, the most tenured defensive player that we have I think right now from a Dolphin standpoint. With Yeremiah (Bell) I think an interesting thing is happening back there with he and Chris (Clemons). I did this math yesterday, but, they’ve played 945 plays right now in this training camp and they have 4 total mental errors between the two of those guys. So, he’s very good at it right now and I think it’s helping Chris (Clemons)—that communication. Now early on our first year here (you know) that thing was—I couldn’t tell you the number of problems we were having in the early part of this thing, so, with the two of those players back there right now there’s a pretty good common influence going on back there with the young people around them. Vontae (Davis) and Sean (Smith) and (Nolan) Carrolls and these players that are all in the ball game at times—having those two people back there has been really good.”


(On what does the end of training camp means for him and the players; having less practice time/less evaluation time) – “I think a little bit less from a rep standpoint, yeah. The heavy lifting is kind of done. Rep wise you’d say that you’re reps get cut in half right now with one-a-day coming up down the road, but, the meeting time increases, the opportunity to get away from the large install The playbook will start to shrink down now is really the phase we’d be in next week. Shrinking down the package to more fit our players. Even on defense right now, so of the things we’re asking them to do in these first couple of preseason games don’t necessarily Highlight some of their specific skills, okay, responsibilities—or, I think at the same time gives some of them the chance to—maybe gives them a chance to grasp what we’re doing a little bit easier too. So, we’re going to get into the pairing down process now and spend a lot more time in meetings and a little less time on the field. It gives us a chance to get their legs back. Yesterday morning, that was a really hard one yesterday. It was pretty hot out here. We did a good job I think during the course of that practice but we need to start getting their legs back to them a little bit.”


(On what the second preseason game is used for) –“I think the second one Omar (Kelly) is maybe used to identify some—you obviously want to get some of your starters a little more work or kind of starters—the tweeners the bubble guys a little bit more work. But also maybe to identify specific clumps. (You know) groups of people out there that I think you might have some questions about. So, there’s chances in this second preseason game—there would be more guys that would not play and a few other guys that you would need to increase because you just lost reps. For example, if you leave Jake Long in the game for a quarter—a half or maybe even a half then some, it’s the next guy in line you don’t have—you can’t get three Tackles reps, you can only get maybe two Tackles enough work. So, we would probably, we’re going to identify which we have done already a couple of groupings of people that I think we need to see a little bit more of and that might affect who plays and who doesn’t play and that type of stuff. But, it doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot to those people because you know you still have the fourth preseason game that you would get some of those guys reps in. But, it’s a good opportunity to identify some of these people now.”


(On Jake Long and Vernon Carey’s relationship) – “Well the relationship with each other is really good. The two of those players, they’re good friends off the field, they really are. I think they spend a lot of time together with each other off the field. They know each other’s quirks and all those good things, but as far as what they can do for each other on the field, I think that more than anything I really don’t see the right tackle and the left tackle as the same animal. I don’t think in a game, Vernon’s going to be able to say something to Jake or Jake’s going (to be able to say something to Vernon), they have two different job descriptions, I really do, even though they play technically the same positions. Where I think they can help each other a little bit more is in the meeting rooms, you know watching film, those type of things. Vernon has played left tackle in this league so he’s played against some of the people that maybe Jake is playing against, and I think that’s helpful. When they study film, they are looking at the same things. They just don’t necessarily approach it the same in the games. I think that that way there is really where they can help each other a little bit. The other thing the two of those guys do a lot, is I notice that especially when it gets a little long out here, when one guy’s down the other guy’s kicking the other guy and when the other guy (is down the other picks him up), they’re kind of picking each other up a little bit like, like friends do.”


(On whether finishing training camp makes it more difficult for guys practicing with the second team to win a starting job) – “Play from behind Armando (Salguero), yeah I would say, but I mean I don’t know if play from behind is the way I would say it, but it’s just when you have less opportunities, fewer opportunities, and the team knows this, I’ve told them this. I’ve been very, very clear with the fact that they need to make opportunities now because when training camp breaks, eventually I’m charged with getting a team ready to play that’s going to get ready to play. I have to start to identify those people and get those people in positions to play. Some of these people that have been getting reps, a lot of reps in practice because you have two a day or a lot of reps in some of these games, those things are going to be a little bit fewer and further between. I mean when that stuff starts to happen, yeah you get less opportunities, fewer opportunities and fewer chances. As I’ve told the team, you really need to be showing us what you need to show us right now. Now there’s enough things going on this practice field where your curiosity is peaked in enough areas to put some of these players in those groupings and be able to carry them into the game but the separation will come here in the next several games.”


(On Brandon Marshall and whether he has been one of the most impressive players in camp) – “I don’t know who the most impressive guy has been really, to be honest with you. I don’t gauge that right now, but I think he’s been one of them; he sure has.”


(On anything in particular Marshall has done to gain that distinction) – “I think his approach to the job is tremendous, I really do. As I said before, this guy prepares like a pro, goes hard in practice all the time. I think more than anything is just you guys see the couple that he drops; I see the ones that he catches, and I see what he does away from the ball, when he doesn’t have the ball. Some people talk about that in basketball. I remember having a conversation one time with, well (pausing), I had a conversation with somebody in the know that is telling me about this whole thing about what you do when you’re away from the ball that matters, okay. Well this guy when he’s away from the ball and the attention that he draws out there when he’s away from the ball even here in practice when we’re practicing against the same people 27 times. You can see the difference when you’re watching it on the tape. I think that those are some good things that this guy brings to the football team right now. Now how people are going to approach us, (I have) no idea. I’m sure that, I’m sure we’ll see a little bit of all those things out there in game situations.”


(On what guys have pleasantly surprised him throughout training camp) – “Well I mean I can’t really single out one person, honestly. There’s several people that you want to look at a little bit more. I mean you’d be crazy not to want to look at Nate Ness a little bit more after what he did in the game the other day in different areas, right? So you need to look at a guy like that maybe or a couple of these other young players. These two receivers that we have running around, (Roberto) Wallace and (Marlon) Moore, you know who have done some good things in practice and did good things in the game. When I see them do good things in practice and good things in the game, I feel like I need to see them more. Those are just several examples, Nolan Carroll, people like that, young players that I think I want to see do a little bit more in the game.”


(On the center competition and where it stands) – “Ethan, I’d like to get it settled as fast as I can because I do think that that’s a position like the quarterback that you need, you need a lot of reps. You need the majority now, not splitting them; you need the majority. That’s important because we had some situations the other day in practice where defensively we were doing some things on third down and we’re rotating centers a little bit. Some of the looks that one guy got, the other guy didn’t get, and you’re trying to make a fair evaluation here but some of the looks were a little bit more difficult as the period went on. These are things you want the first guy to be involved in; you want him to be involved in, you want him to have to go through the process of determining what that front is, how we’re lining it up, who the Mike is, and I think that those things are all important. So the quicker you can get to the bottom of that, the better. Now the hard thing with the two players that are there right now is they’re both very, very smart. They are smart, it’s just that they do need to see those pictures, and more importantly, the rest of the group needs to hear it out of their mouth consistently.”


Brandon Marshall

“Get me that football (Is given the football and proceeds to punt it softly, everyone laughing). Any questions (laughing)?”


(On explaining what just happened) – “Well, you guys aren’t really good journalists because you reported it wrong. It didn’t make it over the fence; it stayed in the facility (referring to his punting a ball in practice the other day after a drop, laughing).”


(On what emotions the punt expressed) – “I don’t think it’s a secret; I’m the type of guy where I want to compete and I want to compete at the highest level on a consistent basis. When you struggle at times, well when I struggle at times, I’m not going to be happy, and it’s not going to be a secret, and I will never let it be a secret. When I’m frustrated in practice, I’m going to be frustrated. Now in the game it’s a different story; I think in the game you don’t want to give your opponent that edge so you try to control your emotions but in practice you want to compete and you want to get better. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do here.”


(On his showing of emotion in the past) – “Well I think that’s exactly what it is. I’m not going to compare a situation in the past to my situation now. This is the first time in, in four years that I’ve went into a season or a training camp where I was completely happy. Now am I happy every day, no because we compete every day, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, and that ultimate competitor in me, I’m not going to be happy. I think we’re doing a great job as a team competing every day and trying to get each other better. A lot of great competition going on you know on the field, which I think is going to help our team in the long run.”


(On whether his new contract puts any additional pressure on him) – “Not at all, I mean the pressure to do what, catch a football? I’ve been doing that since I was six years old. The only thing I can do is what I can do; I’m going to be the same guy. Whatever made me great is what’s going to be on the field throughout this season. I’m excited about this opportunity that we have as a team, our goals, and working to achieve that.”


(On if he enjoys the spotlight) – “I love it. I embrace it. I think this is an organization where there’s going to be a lot of lights on us. I think we have a special team here. It’s a special organization, and I think we have a chance to do some special things.”


(On him seeing his charisma wearing off on his teammates) – “Well like I said, it’s good when you take the positive from it like Vontae (Davis). Every day we’re going out there and competing. Every day he wants to prove to me and to our teammates that he can shut me down. There’s, what’s the word…I guess I’m supposed to be a good receiver. It gives him an edge on other receivers. It gives him a confidence when he does great against me. Every day he’s out to prove one thing, that he can shut me down and our other receivers in our room. So it’s exciting to see that our young corners are getting better and they’re taking advantage of this opportunity.”


(On his reaction to Vontae’s punt after breaking up a pass in practice) – “Yesterday? I didn’t like it at all. I went back to the sideline and I told coach, I can’t believe I let him get the opportunity to kick the ball because he made a great play. It’s a play I think I should have had and he knocked the ball away, and he got up and punted the ball, and I didn’t like that at all.”


(On his relationship with Vontae) – “Oh I care, oh I care. It makes me mad (when he punts the ball) just like if I make a good play and I say some words to him, it’s not good for TV but he’s going to come back out and he’s going to compete that much harder.”


(On the competition aspect of his relationship with Vontae) – “Yeah I mean me and Vontae, we went out to lunch today and we just sat down and tried to pick each other’s brains’ about what we’re seeing on the practice field, how we can make each other better, and it’s exciting. Sean (Smith) the same. Sean’s a corner who like I said before is physically gifted and the way he’s been applying himself in this camp is amazing, and I think those two are going to have a great year.”


(On how this camp is different for him considering he is happy and healthy) – “Yeah, definitely healthy, definitely happy, the only thing is I’m hot. Add another H to that, the three H’s: happy, healthy, hot.”


(On how things are coming along with Chad Henne) – “You know what; we got off to a slow start last week. We let the conditions get the best of us. I went out there and had two drops; you definitely don’t want to start off that way. But hey, we got three more preseason games left, a bunch of practices before Buffalo, 24 days till Buffalo. We got time to get things better; we’re not where we want to be, but we’ll work to get there.”


(On whether getting off to a slow start makes this weekend’s game a big game) – “Every practice, every game is a big game. Not just because how things went for our first team last week. Every time we step on the field, and every time, whether it’s practice or game day, we want to take advantage of it. That’s exactly what we do every day.”


(On whether his being out during OTA’s has slowed his progression with Chad Henne) – “No, not at all. That was a time where I was able to get mental reps and pick his brain every play. That helped a lot, and like I said, we have a bunch of practices before Buffalo and that’s all we need. We’ll be fine.”


(On his reaction to people saying he should change his number away from #19) – “I think this is kind of played out, but it’s just practice. I’m not going to go over there with A.I. (Allen Iverson) (laughing). Like I said, that’s why I get frustrated because the way you play is how you practice. If you’re dropping the ball in practice, you got a chance that you’ll drop the ball in the game. It’s something that we definitely, I definitely need to correct, so there it is.”


(On him having all the attention) – “I’ve always had a bullseye on my back and a spotlight on me. Not always for the positive, but it’s been there before. It’s nothing that’s unique to me, and I embrace it.”


(On the quarterback group as a whole) – “Well I’m excited because we get a chance to grow together. We have a leader in Chad Pennington who has a lot of wisdom, who’s played a lot of games. He helps not only the quarterbacks but he helps us receivers in the segment room. I’m going into my fifth year, I don’t know it all. I may be one the oldest in my room, but I still have a lot of learning to do. How to approach the game in a professional way on and off the field, and that’s what Chad Pennington brings to us, so we’re excited to have him, and I hope he stays around for a long time.”

(On how the offense compares to the offense he played in for Denver) – “Well actually, it’s similar. The formations, personnel calls, it’s kind of from the same (coaching) tree. The transition for me is pretty easy and pretty similar.”


(On his relationship with Mike Sims-Walker) – “Well that was my college roommate, one of the best men in my wedding, more like a brother. So that’s my buddy.”


(On whether there are ever any wagers between the two) – “Definitely. Every time we match, man we got wagers on everything. We’re always betting but it ain’t about cash though, (it’s a) gentlemen’s bet, gentlemen’s bet.”


(On whether he wants Darrelle Revis to settle his contract dispute with the New York Jets so he can go up against him) – “Well of course because I mean in order to be the best, you got to go against the best and you would love to compete against someone of his caliber and make plays on him. It kind of gives you that confidence; kind of solidify yourself, so I would love to see him out there. I think it will get done; I don’t think it’s a matter of if, but when.”


(On how he expresses his emotion even while he’s in the spotlight) – “Well I think down here, it’s new to you guys because I’m a new guy, but a year from now you guys will be  able to say oh that’s just Brandon. That’s how he performs, that’s how he practices, he plays with a lot of emotions, he approaches the game with a lot of passion. You don’t want to do that in the game but it’s practice. Like I said, I’m a guy that wants to compete, and compete at a high level. Hopefully things will work out for us where we get things rolling in the right direction.”


(On how he channels his emotion to make sure it’s positive) – “Well I mean I honestly believe you’re supposed to be, you should be harder on yourself than anyone else. I honestly believe that. If you don’t push yourself, then how can someone else push you? So that’s what I believe in, and that’s how I approach the game.”


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