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Thursday, April 03, 2008

What planting of the Parcells tree means in Miami

The Bill Parcells coaching tree is flourishing. It spans the NFL from New England to New Orleans, Cleveland, and with both the Jets and Giants. Now it is taking root in Miami and I thought one way to give you insight into what to expect with the Dolphins is to let the coaches from those other places tell you.

In brief, the Parcells way includes ideas about what kind of players you need, what kind of schemes you run, how and when one trains those players both during the season and the offseason, and how you handle both players and the press.

The Dolphins will run the 3-4 defense. It may take Parcells some time to get the right players for it. But that defense is simply the Parcells way, according to Bill Belichick.

"You have more linebackers on the field and less defensive linemen," Belichick said. "You need to have some flexibility there. Since there is some flexibility, that creates more learning and adjustments. Theoretically, you should be faster because you have a more athletic linebacker over a defensive lineman on the field, so you might not be quite as big, depending on how big your linebackers are.

"There are a lot of different ways to play a 3-4, just like there are a lot of different ways to play a 4-3.The thing about it, what Bill does, he's experienced with it, he knows what he's looking for, he'll get people to fit his system. I think we've all seen his system be productive in every place he's coached. I would think, eventually, in time, his system in conjunction with the coach and all that - he's not the coach - but I think that combination of things, certainly, there's no reason why it won't be successful again, based on, historically, the way it's gone."

Saints coach Sean Payton says the Parcells way includes a philosophy on how to prepare a team in the offseason so that, unlike the Dolphins of last year, it isn't overcome by a plague of injuries. So what is Miami's new offseason conditioning program built on?

“It’s not built on machine weights, it’s built on free weights. It’s built on cleans, it’s built on inclines, squats, it’s built on running," Payton said. "And I think it’s built on an environment where these guys have three or four lifting sessions per week and there’s a set number of goals we’re looking for by the end of this spring.

"He pushed minicamps back to the latter part of the offrseason and focuses more on the strength and conditioning aspect of it and didn’t intertwine football during that time. He wanted them to feel like it was just strength and conditioning and football would be later in May. It allows us with injured guys to get them healed up more before you get to the minicamp where you’re not maybe losing some of them.”

To that end, the Dolphins won't have a veteran minicamp until the latter part of May and another in June. The rookies will have a minicamp in early May. Also, the philosophy should help you understand why Parcells is not happy Jason Taylor is missing the current conditioning program. It's not just about being in shape, as Taylor obviously is. It's about getting stronger by lifting dead weights and gaining endurance from running.

The Parcells way is also about how you handle people. I believe the short way to explain it is no B.S.

“He’s someone that really taught you all the dynamics inside the building and how to be successful," Payton says of Parcells. "In other words, it wasn’t so much the football scheme on offense or defense, but what we’re looking for in players, how he wants the training room to function, what he thinks the offseason program should consist of, what’s important in his coaching staff makeup. Things that are a little bit broader than the football game itself.

"He was very detailed that way and held everyone accountable. He’s very good with personnel and is very good at what he’s looking for with players, size wise, speed wise. Those are all things you couldn’t get enough of. Being around him on a daily basis, without seeking out or asking, you heard these things repeated over and over again about personnel, about philosophies on offense and defense, about lifting, the offseason program under him, I thought, just watching it as an assistant, our players really benefited from that."

Parcells coming to Miami means he is now a rival of old friends and confidants like Romeo Crennel and Belichick and even Eric Mangini and Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum. They all know what Parcells being in Miami means.

"You know that with Bill there, they are going to keep getting better as long as he’s a part of them for years," Mangini said. "He was great as far as Mike and I calling him, getting advice. I’ve always respected him as a talent evaluator. There’s a lot of familiarity."

Not anymore, Eric.


Anonymous MartinK said...


11:59 AM  
Blogger Ron in Charlotte said...

Nice insight Armando. It's nice to see a more specific explanation of the philosophy. I am interested in seeing how those philosophies blend with Sparano's style. It seems as though Bill is letting Sparano coach the team.

Now we can let everyone talk about who is the number one pick, why Beck is the worst QB ever, why McFadden is going to the greatest running back of all time, why we should have picked Quinn instead of GInn, and how much you suck as a reporter;)

Thanks again!

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great read Armando! This would have made a great article and thank you for taking the time to get all of that info for us. NYScott

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Rich Taylor said...


Having written this post, are you still in the camp of those who wanted to keep Cam Cameron for another year? If so, what do you think Cam where do you think the Dolphins focus would be right now if Cam were still in charge?

12:16 PM  
Blogger Ron in Charlotte said...

Great question Rich!

I am not Armando, but I would love to answer that too!

I was on the keep Cam and Randy side.

And I laughed when people suggested he would be fired.

I believe Cam may have had a lot to learn as a head coach, but I never doubted his offensive mind. The guy was not able to keep the team together in the end. But a big problem for him was everyone expected Miami to contend. He fell into the same trap of refusing to just rebuild from day one.

Cam had the trickle down effect of many bad drafts.

And Randy was doing a superb job. The fact is that this team is going to be built around Randy and Cam's top three picks. Ginn and Satele are obviously in the teams long-term plans and Beck should be, but is yet to be seen.

It isn't often a teams first three picks, then followed by Lorenzo Booker who should be a key contributer, Kevin Faulk style, hit and turn into full-time starters and key contributors in their second year.

Cam and Randy's draft could turn out to be one of the Dolphin's best drafts in 20 or more years.

Now what would they be doing now?

I think they would be rebuilding the defense. It is very clear this was the next step, and they would probably look for OL help deeper in the draft.

I think they would draft another QB to develop because that was their philosophy. I think they would have kept Chatman and traded Taylor and Thomas. I think they would have gone after a solid TE, and I think Beck would have had a great offseason as the pieces fell in place for Cameron's offense.

I just don't know if Cam could have had been an effective leader to this team knowing how the end went down last year.

But I would have still felt confident letting Cam and Randy build this roster, and then finding someone capable of coaching it in a year or two if Cam didn't step up and win this team back.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott Small in Southern California writes:

As usual, Ron in Charlotte offers a great perspective. I agree with his excellent speculation as to what the Dolphins would have done this year under Randy Mueller. I think Mueller should have been retained, and that Cameron deserved one more year. I have serious doubts about Cameron's ability to be an effective head coach, but 2007 was hardly a fair shot.

Thanks Ron... and thanks Armando for a great piece.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

ron in charlotte,

Not only did Mando do a fine job of giving a more detailed report of the Tuna's philosophy for the readers here that do not know...but you gave excellent insight as to what this blog will consist of by the time the next one is posted. Excellent stuff and quite funny as well. Thanks for the laugh!

P.S. - you did leave out a few things but I guess Mando will delete those posts at some point.

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Red Dog said...

Cam and Randy did do a great job drafting, and its nice that someone acknowledges that. I'm far happier taking Beck than Quinn, Satele is a beast, even our low rounders were great (Abraham). I think Ginn has potential, and there's a good chance he comes through, I would have loved that young DT (Okoye). My question is FB Maui, was he worth it? Or is he soon to be cut with Boomer on board? Of course I'd love to have a few monster FB's, but we've not held onto more than one.
Given the 3-4 is LB heavy, could we see Roth converting? I'd love to see the BIG boys on the front 3, with a guy like Holliday being your "lightest", and your 4-3 ends coming back to LB. All in all, I think the 1-15 record betrays the potential on the roster. OBVIOUSLY we need some major moves, and a change of culture, but there is reasons to think the immediate future is brighter than people think.

Uh-oh, I said something hopeful and positive about the fins, let the lashings begin!

1:30 PM  
Anonymous MartinK said...

Hey Ron,
I too was on Cam & Randy's side & I agree with what you said regarding the trap they (and anyone who would've been the coach) fell into. I think they would have looked at some receivers like Bryant Johnson in FA and tried to sign McCree from the Chargers. I'm sure he would be trying to trade JT as well and get the defense younger. He was definitely a fall guy for past failures but he didn't help his cause much. I have also posted on here before that we have Cam & Randy to thank for a solid '07 draft. I'm glad we moved on from them though because Parcells knows exactly how everything should operate & we'll have a solid team structure for years thanks to him. Armando, you mentioned "cleans" as part of conditioning/strength training - what is that?

1:33 PM  
Blogger LaQuin said...

Hey Armando. Nice piece on the Parcells tree effect. It actually makes me feel real comfortable knowing this man of great experience and success is the head of our football operations. We needed that.

Ron in Charlotte
Nice follow through on the Cam and Randy question. I liked Cam as well and thought Randy would do a good job. I understand that Bill Parcells is "THE MAN", but I could'nt help but feel Cam was surrounded by his own inexperience and with more time he would have been fine. His offensive mind was something special. He just didn't have the tools yet.

Red Dog,
Keep those positive thoughts and post coming. Don't fear it. Be positive. Best thing we can be in a real rebuilding phase.

On the Parcells conditioning and training philosophy, the free weights program is very old school. And successful. I think when our defense started to get older, previous regimes tried to prolong their careers for fear they would get too old, slow and worn out if pushed too hard before the season. Did this start happening under Wanny's regime or Jimmy's? I can't remember exactly, but I remember the idea of lighter workouts starting years ago. That's why you need a constant group of talented young guys to keep the hard work going.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i would have loved to see cam as our offensive co. but as a head coach i dont know mabe if parcells would have taken him under his wing, but i think one day cam will be a good head coach, he does know how to get the most production from his RB, like most rookies he just couldnt hack it to much inexpirence, for a rookie head coach to coach and call the plays, he set himself up to fail

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the brains have the afternoon off. Good to see.
Armando, that is a great article. I knew that Parcells was a winner and it is good to read about his philosophy. Ask any weightlifter. Free weights develop the whole structure forcing the muscle to not only work but balance the weight. That makes a person stronger.
Cam and Randy did not deserve the injuries last year. They team was just not deep enough on offense or defense.
But they did have a great draft and for that they deserve credit. Thanks for reminding us of that Ron in Charlotte.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Jay in Raleigh said...

The other thing about Cam and Randy that they don't get much credit for is cleanig up the cap situation. The team had more money than almost anyone else in FA this year, and that was mostly due to Cam and Randy biting the bullet and letting a lot of their veteran depth leave in an attempt to fill the backup positions with younger players. That was the biggest thing that hurt the team when injuries started piling up, all the backups were too green. That, in turn, limited a lot of the scheming, especially on D, that could've used JT and JP as intended when Peasy signed. I'm glad that Parcells has replaced them mostly for one reason...he has the cache to walk in and rebuild from scratch, and that means jettisoning Zach and JT, amongst others. I don't know if Cam/Randy could've gotten away with that, but I doubt it.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Ron in Charlotte said...

Jay, I agree with you there.

Cam and Randy couldn't have pulled off letting those two go. You have to have credit to get a loan or a pass. Parcells comes in with a high credit score. Cam didn't have that.

But I think we have to thank a 1-15 season for making it clear to this organization that it was time to clean house.

I also wanted to add that Saban inherited the cap mess and did a great job of getting it started. Cap wise, I think Saban did the best he could in that area without rebuilding. Cam had to thank Nick for getting it going, and Parcells and Co actually are walking into a good situation because of those guys. They will get more credit than they deserve for having the resources and young talent brought in over the last three years.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Ron in Charlotte said...

Oh and I will remind every one too that Randy Mueller was the cap guy under Saban in year two. So credit Randy all the way around. Saban wasn't a numbers guy.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Martink, I believe that what BP is refering to when he says cleans are clean and jerks. It is a weightlifting technique where you bring the weight up to your chest in one motion from the floor.

Ron in Charlotte you have been on a roll keep, it up.

Armando or anyone else, how many o-linemen do the 'Phins take in the draft? +/-2-3. I think either of the Longs would be a welcome addition, although I'm hoping for Jake to be the pick.


3:30 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Clean said...

martink cleans are when they put the entire roster in french maid outfits and hand them dusters and brooms and they fire the custodial staff in order to save money for the number one draft pick sounds silly but it works

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Martink said...

Well... the 3:30 Anonymous post seems more realistic, but I like Mr. Clean's thoughts more. Thanks for cleaning up that question for me. Thought - If we fire the cleaning staff, then who will 'Mando get his info from?? Just joking Armando. Thanks for the recent posts.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Ron in Charlotte said...

Thanks HouPhinfan,

I do cleans with beer cans. One clean motion from the fridge.

We have nine picks and I see 1 DE, one CB, one S, one WR, one DT, and one QB. That leaves three other picks. I would imagine there are 2 or three. We need Guard help too

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Armando, the words about Parcells seem to contradict what Sparano said when he was introduced to Dolphandom... The talk sounds like Parcells will build a team around a system, while Sparano spoke of building a system around the talents of the players.

More smoke and mirrors?

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the Dolphins are unable to trade out of the first pick in the draft and are not sold on a pick, why not just pass on the pick and stick the Rams with the number one pick (and corresponding salary).

I am only proposing this if the dolphins get down to 0:00 on the clock but if you think about it they would still get their pick of guys but at a sliding cost. Conceivably, they could even pass from 2 to 3 to 4 until they get someone who wants to trade them for the pick.

I know this may sound strange, but if there is no clear #1 that that the team is sold on, then why not?

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Jay in Raleigh said...

Anonymous, there's no way that, if the Dolphins passed on their pick, that the player they did pick would, reasonably, I think, demand #1 pick money. That's just a circus waiting to happen, and realistically, not worth it to save a couple of dollars (less than 1% of the total cap) over 5 years.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous AADolfan said...

For me, the most encouraging sentence in the article was:

“It’s not built on machine weights, it’s built on free weights. It’s built on cleans, it’s built on inclines, squats, it’s built on running," Payton said. "

I agree about the free weights being much superior to machines. The running also. It appears they will emphasis the strengthening of the core muscle groups.

I think "core strength training" is what football is all about (deadlifts, squats, and cleans). This should help with gaining leverage on your opponent at the line.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Ron in Charlotte said...

Anonymous, about passing the pick...

While it seems like a great idea, I think it could cause immediate problems for us. The person we pick may hold out for more money. I don't think it is really worth the trouble or fallout. PLus the owners of the teams right below us might be upset. It is probably a bad idea.

However, it could force a change with the rookie pay system.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Armando Salguero said...

Good question about the Cam/Randy firing. Let me put it this way.

Having Bill Parcells run the Dolphins is an upgrade from where we were last year. No question. He has a track record, he has a system, he has the respect of the entire NFL which the Dolphins have lacked for, oh, five years or so.

Having said that, will Jeff Ireland prove to be a better GM than Randy Mueller? I doubt it. Will Sparano prove to be better in his first year than Cameron did in his first year? That's hard to say. Cameron made a million mistakes. Sparano will also make mistakes.

The difference is Parcells. He will see those mistakes and pull Sparano aside and help him be better. And he won't let Ireland make some of the mistakes perhaps Mueller made -- such as Matt Roth as a starter. Oh, they seem to be repeating that again. Never mind.

The point is, I think if Parcells had decided to keep both Randy and Cam it would be as good as it will be with Ireland and Sparano. The difference maker, at the end of the day, is PARCELLS.

And thanks for the nice comments, gentlemen.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the tree does not have any bud's keep ricky away

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to see Miami keep an eye on Chris Henry who was released by the Bengals. Just a thought. He has serious problems I know, but he has incredible talent.

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Ted Bundy said...

I think Parcells could also be like a shrubbery, or an herbaceous woody perennial. But you are right man - he is most like a tree. Using osmosis, capillary action, transpiration and the like as he grows and extracts vital nutrients from the soil. - Great writing man.

8:34 PM  
Anonymous The Dude Abides said...

If I were a tree I'd be a willow man. Peace out.

8:36 PM  
Anonymous AADolfan said...

I know I'm preaching to the choir but I looked up some Dolphin's recent draft history. Not good.

Players drafted that are still on the roster:

1995 - 0
1996 - 0
1997 - 1
1998 - 0
1999 - 0
2000 - 0
2001 - 0
2002 - 0
2003 - 1
2004 - 1
2005 - 4
2006 - 3
2007 - 10

I guess no more than 6 of the 10 2007 picks end up on the regular season roster this fall.

Also a pathetic way...if you look at the number of players still on the Dolphins roster that were drafted between 2001-2006 you get 9. Do the same thing to the Pats roster and you get 18 (19 b-4 Assante Samuel left a month ago). Those nine extra draft picks is almost the equivalent of an entire defensive or offensive unit. That is huge. I choose the 2001-2006 time frame because those players now have between 2 and 7 years experience... ie. the prime of their careers.

Thankfully, I believe Cam and Randy did quite well last year. Time will tell.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Zolo said...

Dose of reality: Parcells is in a new position. Ever here of the Peter Principle? Not saying this is the case here, never know. Also, I'm not so sure about his two puppets. Puppets are not typically successful trying to be like the one who is pulling their strings, and how well will Parcells do what ever his real job is while mentoring his two tail waggers? I too would have liked to see Randy and Cam given another year. And another point, theoretically we should be competing for the trophy in about 3 years, right about the time the Tuna will be going through escape well will his two twinkies perform without the master? We are running the risk of going through more coaching shake up right when the team gets seriously competitive if those two can't handle it on their own when the Tuna departs. What worries me about those two, they seem more eager to look up to daddy than to do things on their own. The bits I've heard from Sparano were just the same lines already dished out by Parcells. I respect Parcells as a coach, but this triumvirate deal seems like a shaky experiment to me.

2:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know how much JT is lifting but I would actually think his endurance would be better now from doing DWTS?! It sounds like he's going non-stop all week...

9:08 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Things that make you go "Hmm..."
Question Armando,
For the past couple of drafts, it has been the expectation of the ownership that our 1st round pick (in fact, all of our picks) show up to camp on time. "NO HOLDOUTS!". The rhetoric in the past has been that if they don't report on time they don't play for the year. I actually liked this stance and I think Ginn will be that much further ahead of the curve due to his participation last year. (vs. sitting all year had Huizenga needed to enforce his rule and sit Ginn).
However; it is becoming increasingly common that 1st overalls sign very late in the process. Russell last year wasn't signed until well into the regular season. Are we to expect the same emphasis to be placed on the first overall this year as was placed on Ginn last year? If I remember correctly, we got down to the wire even with him at mid-round.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Jeremy said...


Our new sheriff(s) in town will not allow that to happen. They will have an agreement in place before the draft; remember the Texans and Mario Williams. Parcells will not tolerate that infantile/greedy behavior. I also honestly believe that is they can not come to an agreement with their #1 choice that they will move on their #2 choice. Just my opinion but history tells me it is viable.

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what if we play like this:
LEStarks NTFurgoson REHolliday
SS Bell FS Allen
LCB Allen RCB Lehan
Some positions could be upgraded after the draft
this will be the best LB corps in the NFL

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Tony Mandarich, Lyle Alzado and Jose Canseco said...

Your all wrong guys, cleans are not the way to go!!! I can feel a vein in my forehead about to pop as I read this. The best way to list is with pure presses and jerks using York barbells - no others will do! Damn this angers me. I am going to put some sedatives in my power protein drink to calm down.

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


the best way to list? i think you meant lisp and that is estrogen not sedatives which explains the lisp

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is all so meaningless in view of Parcell's failure to sign Faneca & D'Angelo Hall!

2:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous brings up a good point about the starting line-up after the draft. Although I do not agree we would have the best linebackers after drafting Chris Long, (Baltimore has the best) could Joey Porter possibly play on the inside with JT and Long at OLB? Has Porter ever played inside linebacker at Pittsburgh or in College?

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree that conditioning is what brough Miami down last year. How many times did we see the defence just fall apart in the second half.

2:20 PM  

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