If You Forget About Tony Sparano and the Dolphins, You May End Up Sleeping with the Fishes
Two years ago, the Miami Dolphins surprised everyone in the NFL with a new offensive package called the “Wildcat” and it led them to the top of the AFC East. Then last season, the Dolphins went in reverse and finished with a disappointing 7-9 record and a third place finish in the division.After a disappointing 2009, the Dolphins went out and made some significant changes to the roster and the coaching staff. Mike Nolan came in to run the defense, Karlos Dansby came from the desert to be the quarterback of the defense, and Brandon Marshall was brought over from Denver to give Chad Henne one of the best receivers in the NFL to throw the ball to.The Jets seem to be the hot team in the AFC East after what they did last year in the playoffs and the additions they made in the offseason and the Patriots look like a team playing with a chip on their shoulder. But the Dolphins are heading into Tony Sparano’s third year with the best roster they have had in years and will certainly have some say in who wears the crown this year in the AFC East.
Tony Sparano joined WQAM in Miami with Joe Rose to talk about how he feels about the team so far in the preseason, what he has seen from Chad Henne, whether or not he has a good idea of who will make the 53 man roster at this point, how frustrating it is to deal with some of the injuries he is dealing with right now, and what he likes about his two first round picks.
On whether or not he is going to extend the playing time of the starters based on the struggles last game:
“It wasn’t just the offense last game, but I’ve considered expanded playing time for all and any. We’ve got all hands on deck this week and right now there’s really no timetables. We’re just gonna show up and play and get the work that we need to get done. I will be the judge and jury there.”
On Chad Henne’s development:
“He’s been really good I think. He’s been getting better and better each week. I thought during the course of the ballgame this weekend, he made some really good throws in that game. Missed one or two during the course of the game and maybe had a poor decision on one play, but for the most part, during his time in there, I thought fairly efficient at what it was that he was trying to get accomplished. Of course earlier in the preseason that one first game there was a hard evaluator with all the rain, the mud, and those things. He’s been really consistent, he’s been getting better each week and he works really hard at it.”
On the frustrations with some of the injuries right now:
“It’s frustrating Joe a little bit, but you gotta trust in the process. We’ve been very fortunate here that our doctors have been really good with some of these rehabs when you look at the Pat Cobbs, the Ronnie Browns and these types of people. They have really done a good job on some of these rehabs. The frustrating thing is just not really being able to put your finger and pinpoint a timetable. I’m always asked the question do you think coach and how long? It’s just really hard and that’s the frustrating part. I don’t know how the kids’ body is and at the same time I don’t think you can really put a timetable on some of those things.”
On how excited he is about Jared Odrick and Koa Misi, the team’s first two picks:
“Yeah I really am. I see improvement in both these players. The thing you have to realize with both these young guys, they are both playing positions that they haven’t played. With Jared playing in a different defense and with Koa really this is completely different for him. I like the progress they are making and I thought Koa was more productive this week than he was in the previous game even against Jacksonville. He made some plays, he had some plays that he left there on the field that he learned from and he is a very good study in the classroom and effort and energy is never going to be a problem with him or with Jared. Jared is a guy that of course he is going to get measured on tackles and sacks and all those things, but when you’re slugging it out in there doing what he’s doing against some of these people a large part of it is what we call unsung heroes is when you’re giving up yourself for those linebackers in the back of you too and he’s done a good job of holding the point and some of those things.”
Listen to Tony Sparano on WQAM in Miami with Joe Rose