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Friday, February 08, 2008

Sparano availability short on news

My apologies for not getting new stuff up sooner, but I've been under the weather since getting back to South Florida from Phoenix.

Anyway, you guys should know that Tony Sparano talked to the media Thursday and basically, didn't say a whole lot that was interesting. I must say that, with all due respect for my media peers, they didn't seem to ask some of the important questions.

No one apparantly asked for a health update on Ronnie Brown or Yeremiah Bell or Ricky Williams.

No one apparently asked Sparano if he wants to keep Williams on the roster. No one asked what happened that Giants quarterback coach Chris Palmer was not included in the offensive coordinator search.

No one apparently asked if Zach Thomas has overcome his post-concussion headaches yet. No one apparently asked what philosophy the team will use for rebuillding -- to rebuild with youth and stay away from high-priced, older free agents, or to dive right in and try to get things rebuilt ASAP by signing 31-, 32-, and 33-year-old vets as well as drafting rookies.

And if the answer to the last question is the Dolphins are going young, someone should have asked the reason the Dolphins have reportedly reached out to 37-year-old Trent Greent?

Oh well.

Below is the complete transcript of the Sparano availability. I'm sorry I missed it.

(Opening statement) – “I just wanted to get a chance to visit with you a little bit and talk about our staff. I’m really excited about the group of people that we’ve put together here. We finally completed the staff early in this week here when we hired Dan Henning. It’s completed and we’re excited about it. We have some great teachers here for these guys and I think something that will really help us to be a lot better football team here as we get on. There wasn’t one guy when we got into this process that we weren’t excited about and tickled to death to have. We’re really happy that they’re here and we’ve hit the ground running and we’re moving right now with meetings and all those things, personnel-wise. It’s been really positive for us that way. That’s what we’re talking about.”

(On why he chose Paul Pasqualoni as defensive coordinator) – “Obviously, Paul Pasqualoni, my defensive coordinator, is someone that I’m very familiar with. He has a great deal of experience, but, more importantly, I really respect what Paul stands for and I know the strengths that he’ll bring to our football team, and that will be the discipline end of things. There won’t be any detail that will go undone that way with Paul and those are all really positives for us. He had a great group of guys in Dallas that he got to play really well for him. His players like playing for him and they like that relationship because he’s straight-forward and he’s been honest with them all along the way. I think that’s been really positive, to get Paul and to get his experience.”

(On why he chose Dan Henning as offensive coordinator) – “Dan Henning is on a different side of this thing. His experience that he brings to the table – not only for the team and the players, offensively, but even for me – this guy has been a head coach a few times and it gives me a great opportunity, a sounding board to kind of bounce things off of a little bit too. It’s been helpful that way. Getting a coach like Dan, and Paul (Pasqualoni), two coaches that way, to be able to come into this building to help our players, with the experience they have and the way that they form relationships with the players along the way, I think are really positives. That way there, you’re not trying to coach the coach, so-to-speak. These guys have done it. They’ve been in some of these battles before, and it will be a little bit easier for us.”

(On Dan Henning’s reputation for being able to turn around struggling offenses) – “I think, obviously, you’re exactly right. He’s been in some of these situations before. When you look at where they were with the Jets, or when they went into Carolina, that situation wasn’t a great situation when he went into Carolina, and there was a lot that had to be done. We’re in that situation right now. We know the amount of work that has to be done right now. We know that. We know the challenges. I think the great thing about Dan Henning, where he is in his career, is that he’s excited about the challenge. He’s ready to dive in.

One of the things he said to me is he said, ‘Tony, I can’t feel my feet hitting the floor right now. I’m walking on air. This is great.’ To see that kind of enthusiasm and excitement come out of somebody that’s in our program and our family right now excites me. I think he does have a reputation of fixing things and helping quarterbacks and those types of things. He is very knowledgeable that way. The receiver end of things right now, he sees the wide receiver position a lot different than most and can be really critical of that position and help the players in that position. We have young players in some of those situations, so that’s going to be helpful for us, to bring that kind of experience to the younger players.”

(On if Dan Henning will call the team’s plays) – “Yeah, Dan is going to call the plays.”

(On what Mike Maser brings to the position of offensive line coach) – “He brings an intensity to the staff and to the group that I think is important. What I love about Mike Maser is his expectation is to be an offensive line coach, to be the best offensive line coach he can be. That’s what I love about him. I didn’t want to hire me as the offensive line coach. What I mean by that is I didn’t want to hire this guy that wanted to be the head coach or wants to be the coordinator. I felt like our offensive line needed to have a coach that would just put himself in a room and want to coach five guys and have a little bit of tunnel vision that way, and Mike Maser is that kind of guy. He wants to coach the five guys he has. That’s really what he wants to do and help them to be better in any way we can. I think that’s critical, right now, to our success.”

(On how similar what he looks for from an offensive line is to what Mike Maser looks for from an offensive line) – “Very similar in that way; Maze (Mike Maser) is his own guy and he’s been doing this, in some situations, even a lot longer than I have with the offensive line. I’ve been in a room with Maze before in Jacksonville. We coached together. He and I have a great relationship that way, so I know exactly what he brings to the table. He really does look for a lot of the same things that I look for. That’s one of the reasons that he’s here. Make no mistake about it, myself, Jeff Ireland, Bill Parcells, Brian Gaine, we all have pretty good ideas of what it is that we’re looking for and for the people that we hired we felt like that would be important, and Mike (Maser) is one of those pieces. He knows exactly what we’re looking for that way and shares my philosophy.”

(On what else he has done other than the hire of assistant coaches) – “Honestly, what we did is once we got the staff together, and really waiting for Dan (Henning) was the last piece, getting Dan in here, but prior to that we really spent a lot of time just watching our players and watching what we do. I’m really not concerned about the other things right now. Bill (Parcells), Jeff (Ireland), they can handle that part of this right now, meaning the draft and free agency and all those things. Right now the most important thing to me was to see what we had in house and evaluate our personnel as we go along doing that. We’re still in the process of doing that right now. With Dan on board, we’re still in the process of getting in there and watching our guys, watching all the tape to make sure that we do a thorough evaluation of each area.”

(On what he has learned from viewing film from last season) – “Just that there were a lot of young players and injuries last year that had a lot to do with what happened to this football team, obviously. Whenever you have as many guys as they had, as we had, I should say, on the injury list that takes its toll. As an example, I sat here at 10 o’clock at night watching six or seven special teams games. At times running down the field there is a different number every game. Almost every other play there is different people running down there. It’s hard to grab one or two guys and say ‘This guy played 15 games and he did this really well.’ We’re having to go back even to the preseason to watch some of this tape. That’s kind of what I see. I see a young football team in a lot of situations out there because of injuries and those types of things. Right now, that’s what we see.”

(On how he interacts with Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland on a daily basis) – “Because of the relationship it’s walking into each other’s offices at different times. That’s the way it is. Jeff will come into my office anytime. I can go into Jeff’s office. I can go to Bill and Bill can come to me; any of those kind of situations. It’s really very open that way, and it’s been great. Everything that I expected when I came here I know that I’m getting right now. I enjoy both of them. I enjoy working with both of them, and I think they feel the same way. We have an open relationship that way so it’s good for us to be able to talk and communicate every day, and that’s important.”

(On if he has had an opportunity to speak with players) – “I’ve spoken to a lot of players. I had sit-downs with several of them. Not so much direction or any of those things, it was more me getting to know them and them getting to know me, and a little bit about what I expect and what I’m looking for that way, and me kind of hearing them a little bit, too. I’m not going to go into detail about that. That is between me and our players right now. More importantly, they were positive meetings that took place.

I met with Jason (Taylor). In fact, Jason Taylor was the first person to come up and visit with me right after the press conference, which told me an awful lot. It told me how much he cares about the Miami Dolphins, and it sent a really good message to me. I thought that was important. I’ve met with Jason, I’ve met with Zach (Thomas) and I’ve met with several of the players right now. My coaches have reached out to them as well. I thought it was important that we contacted them and we had visits with them on the phone and had a chance to introduce ourselves and say, ‘This is what I am, and this is what I’m all about,’ and hear from them as well. That is done, or is being done, as we speak.”

(On why there was a delay in hiring an offensive coordinator) – “What it was was just me really having the opportunity to get a chance to think about where we needed to go with that position. I’m an offensive guy, but at the same time, I know that the responsibility from my end needs to be to see the big picture of this football team. I’m not going to stick myself in the room and be an offensive coach or go over and be a defensive coach. I need to be able to touch Jason Taylor, to be able to touch Will Allen, and yet, at the same time, to be able to get over there on the offensive end and help Ted Ginn out if I need to. That is important for me that way. I needed to find the right piece, so it took me a little longer, because it was an offensive position. I knew Paul Pasqualoni was a guy I thought an awful lot about. I knew of Dan Henning, but didn’t know Dan Henning, personally, that way. When Dan came in, we visited and we had great talks. Dan and I visited for about eight or nine hours and sat down and talked about a lot of things. It was so positive that at the end of it, I knew this was the guy that we want. That’s why it took so long.”

(On if Pete Carmichael, Jr. was offered the offensive coordinator job) – “No, there were no job offers that way at all. Dan Henning was offered the job.”

(On the process used to pursue Pete Carmichael, Jr.) – “There was no process. At the end of the day, Dan Henning was the guy that got the job.”

(On Karl Dorrell choosing to accept the position of wide receivers coach) – “What’s interesting is that Karl Dorrell, our relationship started in Oxnard, Calif. We were practicing out there when I was with the Cowboys and, quite honestly, Karl came out with his staff to practice. He really met Bill (Parcells) at the time and kind of visited with Bill a little bit. Then Karl was around and we got a chance to visit, ourselves. We were right in the middle of camp, but we spent a little bit of time that way. More importantly with Karl, and this was a big factor, he’s seen how things were done. What he wanted to be a part of was the way that we do things, and the way that we’ve gone about doing things. I think that from practice to the evaluation of players – all the things that he’s heard about or he got a chance to see when he was out there on the practice field. Our interaction with our players, the way we practice and all of those things are kind of what, I think, excited him about this opportunity. You’re right, he did have a lot of opportunities and we’re lucky to have him. He’s a good coach.”

(On if he can shed light regarding Zach Thomas’ future with the team) – “Right now, we haven’t evaluated any of those situations. Every player that is here is on our team, and we’re doing what we have to do that way. We’re still in the evaluation process right now of going through any of this. We have not sat down and talked about that at all.”

(On the dangers associated with having everyone on the coaching staff familiar with his method) – “At the end of this whole process, when I look at our staff, George Edwards is really not part of that process. He’s just a good football coach that we all know is a good football coach, and we retained him. For us, it’s a win. James Saxon is not part of the process from Kansas City, but what I know is that he’s had some great running backs out there and has done an outstanding job with a lot of those players. Karl Dorrell is not really part of the process. When I say this to you, I mean that he was out at practice for two days. He just got a chance to see what we were all about that way. Jim Reid is not really part of the process. We were able to hire four or five guys. Luckily, a couple guys I worked with in Dallas and, at the same time, some coaches that I’ve been familiar with myself, like Mike Maser that I’ve been in a room with, and that starts a little bit of the core of the staff, which is important. You have to be in there able to talk the same language. But these coaches have all been out with other people, and I think that’s important. They’ve been out with other people, seen other things and they bring great ideas to the table – James from Kansas City, Karl from his background and being with Denver, and that type of situation, and Jim Reid. I used to go watch George DeLeone clinic as a coach, as a young coach, and listen to him clinic. Now I have this guy as a piece in my room coaching the tight ends. I know that tight end is getting coached. I know it. It’s been good to get those ideas. We wanted idea people. What we didn’t want to hire is guys who are just “yes men” that shake their head “yes” in the room. We wanted to bring idea people into the room. We have idea people. I feel like our staff is full of knowledge right now to be able to help these players.”

(On hiring coaches who understand his method) – “I think that’s important. I think that if they understand the method, at the end of this we have a vision and we know where we want to head, and that’s important. In most cases, I think there are several of them there that also have to understand that.”

(On if it is more important for him to be liked or respected by the players) – “It’s more important to me to be respected. It doesn’t have anything to do with liked. That doesn’t really matter to me one way or another. At the end of this, I know that if I do my job, and I do my job well, that our players will respect what I do. They’ll respect it as long as I do my job well. I’ve got to hold up my end of the bargain, and I will.”

(On if he can provide a thumbnail of how he envisions his offense and defense) – “This is as honest as I can be with this question. Right now, we really don’t have an idea one way or the other of what direction we’re heading. What I told you in the press conference, and I believe this, is that our system needs to fit our players. Our players don’t have to fit our system, so that’s important right now. We need to make the system fit the players. In this evaluation that is taking place right – and this isn’t a one-day thing, so I can’t give you the answer that you’re looking for right now – we’re watching 16 games of film, all sides of the ball, going back to possibly last year on some guys and also watching preseason tape. That is how thorough that we’re doing this. When we finish that process, we’ll know the answer. We’ll know this is what we can be because of the people that we have right now. That’s the best way I can answer that question. That is where we are.”

(On how he would handle having a team suited for playing 4-3 defense when he ideally wants to play 3-4 defense) – “I don’t, ideally, rather play either/or right now. I want to play what it is that our personnel dictates us to be able to play. When I look at our personnel and we get a clear evaluation of that at the end, we’ll figure out what it is that we’re going to play. Obviously, we have exposure in both systems right now, and so do the players here, from that standpoint. They’ve been involved in 3-4, and they’ve been involved in 4-3. We really need to identify the pieces that are in place right now that way. As far as my philosophy goes, my philosophy is one thing. It is something that you wish for and something that you hope for maybe. At the end of this, we have to do what’s best for our people here and for the Miami Dolphins. That is going to be predicated on the rest of this evaluation as it goes on.”

(On the types of players he is looking for) – “Smart, tough, disciplined players. Smart, tough, disciplined players, with ‘discipline’ being the key word probably.”


Anonymous Cam Cameron said...

You're right about other questions that should have been asked. That said, it's likely that none of those questions would have been followed with very enlightening answers. Team Parcells does not give away information just to help the media or fans. It's just going to take some getting used to.

On a side note, if anyone needs some Friday entertainment, check out these Emmitt Smith ESPN quotes:

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Armando, it seems to me there was a hidden meaning in Sparano's comments. In saying he would tailor the system to the players and then saying he was trying to figure out which players to keep clearly indicates that there is little or no players to build around.

A lot of references point to Don Shula approaching his teams by building the system around the players. But systems are built around special players and Shula is a great example of this. That player is usually a quarterback so the hidden meaning is that Sparano is looking for a QB to build this team around.

I think this has been a problem with the Dolphins since Marino left. Jay Fiedler was the closest thing we had to a leader and that is not saying much. I don't know if it means he is not impressed with John Beck but I don't think there is anything wrong with letting two young guns battle it out. Once you know what you have then you build the system around it much like Shula did with Marino.

On the defensive side it may be a little easier because we have Taylor but he's getting a little long in the tooth. Remember, Parcells built the old Giant defensive system around another guy named Taylor.

It kind of indicates to me that we shouldn't be surprised if the Fins draft a QB.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous B Man said...

Sparano's coach speak has me more than a little worried. Witness the
things from his mouth - all direct quotes from your article.

Dan Henning sounds a little light in the loafers. "One of the things he said to me is he said, ‘Tony, I can’t feel my feet hitting the floor right now. I’m walking on air. This is great.’"
I bet he feels just like a little girl in a doll shop.

And then on the the o line coach
"I’ve been in a room with Maze before in Jacksonville. He and I have a great relationship that way, so I know exactly what he brings to the table." Okaaaaayyy... um you guys were in a room together in Jacksonville and had a great relationship. Not that theres anything wrong with that, but I DO NOT want to know what he 'brought to the table'...

And the front office deal sounds a little fruity... "Because of the relationship it’s walking into each other’s offices at different times. That’s the way it is. Jeff will come into my office anytime. I can go into Jeff’s office. I can go to Bill and Bill can come to me; any of those kind of situations. It’s really very open that way, and it’s been great. Everything that I expected when I came here I know that I’m getting right now. I enjoy both of them." thing you know they will be exchanging fabric samples and drinking latte discussibng Bill's hair dye and perm.

It aint Art Donovan and Bronko Nagurski I'll tell you that.

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Jason Atlanta, GA said...

Looks like we got ourselves a nickle back in Joey Thomas. I remember when he came out in 2004 that he was supposed to be a 2nd round guy that GB stole in third. Don't know how this guy hasnt stuck, he had the measurables 4.4/4.3 40 yd speed pretty good size too if I remeber correctly. What is the deal on this kid? Head case? Can't figure out how he never stuck on a roster but lets hope Miami can straighten him out, we need the speed and the size in the secondary.

9:49 PM  
Anonymous mr. kennedy..... kennedy!!!!!!!!!! said...

Well, was any of your other colleagues at the presser? Maybe, you could've sent them a text message or called them with of some questions you might have wanted to ask him.

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think he is still trying to find out exactly what he has to work with and formulate a plan himself.

3:10 AM  
Anonymous Cuba Si; Yanquis No said...

Mando, sorry to hear you're feeling lousy.

Please recover quickly. The questions your blog poses demonstrates, yet again, that you're the only reporter in South Florida who understands the game well enough to ask the questions the fans want answered.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Randy said...

I am guessing that even if you were there those questions still wouldn't have been asked, 'Mando. Or, we fans wouldn't have heard the real answers to them anyway. I've been following these blogs/reports for a couple years now, and I'm always left with unasked/unanswered questions after reading them. It's always amazing to me how many questions DON'T get asked or don't get followed up on when they're answered with some stupid "coachspeak" and not really answered.

It seems to me that sports reporters are more interested in how many hits they get on their blogs than actually investigating the team and it's issues and then relaying that information to the fans. Yes, I'll keep reading this stuff, but only b/c it's the only way i know how to follow my team and know ANYTHING about what they're doing.

I assume you'll have another press conference with Sparano sometime soon, Armando. That'll be a great time for you to ask all those questions you just posed in your blog. I'm looking forward to reading the answers to them all b/c they were some really good questions.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous BoredAgain said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:12 PM  
Anonymous R. Telubus said...

I think one thing Dolphin fans can take heart in from Parcells, Ireland and Sparano's collective comments is that the have created a culture/mindset of winning. Not just winning but also of the positives of what CAN be not what is. Once players see that light they have a goal and motivation.

It has become obvious to me from Bill Parcells comments that he has set up a positive sphere of beta waves that allow him to channel directly from Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland. An easy way to think of this is like the classic timecube paradigm wherebye an individual can simultaneously operate in multiple consciousnesses
yet set up direct pathways to ones followers.
It is also becoming obvious that Tony Sparano is developing an ashram to receive the marklar that Parcells uses to veto or approve draft picks. This should prove VERY interestiing in April! I for on am excited by the positive vibe I am picking up from this whole energy process. Soon universal beings while tune into these foci
aand talent aquisition will take place on a grand scale. I do know for a fact that Belichik is somehow aligned with Gozar the Destryer and Parcells will choose to vanquish him with a very powerful energy force at his own conveinence. We can rejoice in this fact.

Best wishes and soulful journeys into the peaceful bliss of knowledge.

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Armando, you are such an arrogant putz. Of course if YOU had been there YOU would have asked the deep, insightful, hard-hitting questions. YOU are the only journalist in South Florida who is capable of asking the tough questions. YOU are our savior, our redeemer, and our light. YOU are OURmando. So sad you have the sniffles and can't work, boo hoo. Are you sure we can't talk you into being the owner/gm/coach and maybe the franchise quarterback too? You are such a spectacular man, I'm amazed you can walk down the street without being mobbed by women. You are a demi-god, a living embodiment of all that is great from our creator right here on earth. Incredible!

Richard Thurston, Gables by the Sea

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, lay off Mando, tho the part abt the women (and some men) is true ;)

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:17 PM  
Anonymous UM rules said...

Actually, my boy Mando lives a pretty fly life. You haters should stop spending so much energy ripping him and maybe try to be more like him.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's up Richard Thurstan Howell III's butthole?

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey UM Rules - fyi: maybe if people got less of the Peacock routine, and more quality reporting, they'd be less inclined to get on your boys case.

6:53 PM  
Anonymous UM rules said...

Hey anonymous, you know what you're getting if you come on this blog. If you don't like the guy, don't point and click to visit here.

It's pretty simple, really.

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Armando, I found that Sparano said precious little of interest to me. He needed to be pressed a little bit. I also would have liked someone to ask what he thought of the Gambino crime family roundup.

7:55 PM  
Blogger KD said...

Hey B Man,
Go back and read what you wrote.
You ARE an idiot!

10:36 PM  
Anonymous B man said...

Better yet, you go back and read it .. its all there for you boy.

You want some of this? Now listen boy and listen good I'm not going to get into a pissing contest with a underendowed 10 yr old, and I sure am not getting into a battle of wits with a one armed man(oh did I say one armed man - I mean quarduple amputee who should be thrown in Biscayne bay and called Bob- get it? Damn I'm good).
Now listen here buoy - I mean boy... I just report the facts and if that kind of hart hitting journalism that made this country great is not your cup of tea, then kindly refrain from further duboius slander lest I smite ye - oh unwashed heathen of the underclass. Now... go put your cahuna's on ice .. Thank me? oh dont mention it. Now's my martini? Oh Skyler, bring me another one of those ...

11:24 AM  
Blogger KD said...

B Man,
Underendowed? Quarduple? "Hart" hitting journalism? Do you high five your poodle after you write this garbage?

Just because the coaches talk about relationships, being in a room with someone, and walking on air, you TRY to be funny with your homophobic views. Please use your spell check and a little more intellect when you respond!

Like I said before, you ARE an idiot!


9:40 PM  
Anonymous b MAN said...

Who needs a spell checker when I got you... now shut the **** (spell check that) up and get back to work.

- (Burp)

10:57 PM  

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