Tony Sparano may have lost his job as head coach of the Miami Dolphins this season, but he’s getting another opportunity very quickly here in the off-season. Sparano was brought in to be the New York Jets new offensive coordinator replacing Brian Schottenheimer. Schottenheimer along with Mark Sanchez have taken the brunt of the criticism for the Jets struggles offensively and Rex Ryan is hoping that Sparano can take care of everything offensively, so he can focus on the defense. Mark Sanchez has been on the hot seat lately in New York and Tony Sparano is now left with the task of restoring his quarterback’s confidence.
Tony Sparano joined ESPN New York with “The Michael Kay Show” to discuss his impressions of the New York Jets offense, the New York Jets offense throwing the football more often, the upside of Mark Sanchez, the possibility of Todd Haley joining the New York Jets coaching staff and his concerns with the state of the New York Jets locker room.
What do you think of this team right now coming in with the quarterback you inherit and the offense you inherit?
“I’m really excited about being a part of the entire Jets organization here and getting a chance to work with Rex [Ryan] here and work for Rex. I’m really excited about that opportunity too. Being on the other sideline against the Jets here for the last several years. I certainly know an awful lot about this football team, our division and a lot of players on the team that way. It’s what intrigued me about this opportunity is to be a part of that with some of these players here and getting a chance to work with them. As far as Mark goes I am very excited about getting a chance to work with Mark Sanchez. When you are in the other locker room he causes you so many problems in your preparation because of the way he can move and escape and extend plays and make all the throws. This guy has won a lot of games in the 4th quarter of games, so those type of things are the things that excite me.”
Will you air the ball out? What type of coordinator do you see yourself being?
“My backround is I have been part of this whole run thing, but when you look at us here in Miami whether or not I was in Miami or Dallas or any of those places even back into my college days, I have a lot exposure throwing the football, coached tight ends in three different places in our league…so when you are coaching a tight end you are trying to get him the football, so you don’t want to run it that way, but I do recognize playing games in our division and you have to be able to run the football and play in games in the month of December here. You have to be able to run the football. With that being said, plus 20-yard plays are things we need to be better at certainly. It’s an area we’ve improved on in Miami as we were one of the top teams in plus 20-yard plays and then when I was in Dallas as well.”
Do you think there is a lot of upside with Mark Sanchez?
“I absolutely do. I can’t wait to get him back and get him going again. Right now all these guys need a little bit of rest, but when the time comes and the league allows us to be able to do that we are looking forward to getting him and getting him going. You are absolutely correct when you talk about looking at the numbers and looking at the three year numbers and those type of things I think when you put all the numbers together on the table you see an arrow up here for Mark. I really liked this kid coming out of the draft. I spent a lot of time with him and again I can just tell you what it is like on the other side of the line when you are playing against him and he causes you problems.”
We’ve heard rumors that the Jets could also bring alongside Todd Haley to work with you. Are you cool with that?
“I won’t get into specifics there, but Todd and I had a relationship in Dallas and spent an awful lot of time there and again we were part of something special there the year or two we were involved in putting together this offense. Todd was working with me and Chris Palmer at the time and we had a really good group at that time. We’ve had good times and done some good things from the football standpoint and been in close contact here over the last couple of years as he was a head coach too.”
Do you have any concern walking into this situation with the state of the locker room?
“I’ve had absolutely no concerns walking into that situation. Again I have been a part of a bunch of different teams in our league here and the thing is when you don’t win the way you expect certainly nobody is happy. That’s understandable on anyone’s behalf. From our end here there are expectations here that we have and I’m learning here certainly as we go along. The 8-8 wasn’t good enough so that obviously leaves a sour taste in your mouth, but once we all get back together again and you are coaching ball and starting to play again and everybody is working towards one thing here. I think everyone will be pretty excited.”