MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 04: Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson shakes hands with Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano after a game at Sun Life Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The Miami Dolphins beat the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, with a final score of 34-14. The win has ramped up the debate between firing head coach Tony Sparano and keeping him at the end of the year. In an effort to continue the debate, I give you the official transcript, as provided by the team, of Sparano's Monday press conference:
(On what he seen from his defense winning four of the last five games and until the fourth quarter going 11 quarters at home without allowing a touchdown): "I actually wasn't too aware of that. I don't pay attention to a lot of that stuff. What's happening with them? We're playing good, we're playing really good. There's guys running to the football. There's guys making plays when the ball is in the air. They're contesting balls, changing the line of scrimmage. There's some really good effort plays out there. Kevin Burnett's interception yesterday, the amount of blocks that took place on that play were tremendous. Karlos (Dansby) had a really big block, (Will) Allen had a really big block, #24 (Sean Smith) had a big block, I think Vontae (Davis) was involved somewhere in there. There was these guys are just starting to feed pretty good off each other. Good Pressure. The pressure has gotten better as of late. Starting to get to the quarterback a little bit better and I think that's caused some problems too."
(On everything coming together on the defense): "Of all those things getting off the field on third down has been really big. Getting the offense back out there, at bats, field position, those kind of things I think they've done a really good job with. It's funny in the meeting a couple days prior to the game I had talked to the team about the red area and how important the red area was in this game. And I told the defense, I said look, you got handed the short end of the stick. A week ago in Dallas where the ball was on the five yard line and they scored in one play. I said now we can be okay with that, we can point the finger or we can figure out that two other times we got the ball on the five yard line against us and we've stopped teams and it's made a difference in games. Those guys didn't bat an eye. They just go out there and they're playing good and the coaches are doing a good job."
(On the change in regime factoring into the team being fresher): "I think that they're fresher. I mean going into that game pretty healthy for the most part. Minus Vernon (Carey) as healthy as you can be. I think in week whatever it is 13 everybody is banged up. I got some pretty good, pretty high character guys over there that play through some nicks and bumps and do those kind of things. I mean they played fast yesterday. They played fast on both sides of the ball yesterday."
(On John Jerry after watching the film): "He did some really good things. Three, four plays that John will watch today and he'll learn from because he hasn't been out there for that extended period. But the one thing that John does very well is for a big guy he can move his feet really well and he has power. He moved some people yesterday in there at times. He did some good things on the perimeter, on the edges at times. I was pleased with what he did. I mean stepping in there, that's what you're asking those guys to do. Whether you're number six or number seven, you get a chance to go up in there. Nate Garner played 28 plays yesterday and had two or three minuses. Really did a good job of coming in the game there at the end too and played well."
(On the decision playing John Jerry over Nate Garner): "He's just more of a natural guard."
(On if there was a feeling-out process with Kevin Burnett on how to use him): "No I don't think it was a feeling-out process. I think Kevin getting what we're used to defensively with no offseason and missing the first however many days those guys missed of training camp, getting used to playing with Karlos (Dansby), all those things. But Kevin is an every down linebacker. Karlos is an every down linebacker. So we had one of them in the building and it wasn't really a whole lot different that way. I just think it was more Kevin getting used to doing some of the things that we were going to ask him to do which were a little bit different maybe than some of the things he's done in the past. Not a lot different but a little different and just learning our terminology and just some of the things that Mike (Nolan) has asked him to do."
(On if Matt Moore's ceiling is changing in his mind on how good he can be): "I had a pretty high opinion of him. That's why he's here. You said I've been around him for a long time but I really haven't. The truth is I've been around him for a training camp. I know as much about as Jason Garrett knew about him in our game week. I really didn't know that much. I just watched him, I watched him. Because I knew him and I had that kind of knowledge of him. And I watched him in Carolina and I watched him do some of those things and I just always felt like this guy was really a good leader and moved the team well. Now I have some different knowledge because Karl (Dorrell) had him. Karl had him in college and recruited him. Of course he went to Oregon State there after that so we had a little bit more knowledge of the kind of guy he was. But he's done a nice job. He did a nice job in the ball game yesterday I thought of extending plays and making some hard bodied throws, couple to (Anthony) Fasano, one to Brandon (Marshall). They were really difficult throws to make and he did a good job that way."
(On if Matt Moore's mobility is underrated): "His mobility is honestly better than I would have anticipated that part of it being, throwing on the run, doing those things. I really didn't have that kind of experience with him. I would say that part of it is good. There's a lot of things that can go wrong when you're doing that and Matt's done a pretty good job of taking care of the ball that way. There was two plays yesterday in the red area back-to-back I think they were, well, they were kind of in the fringe area. He ran the ball down in there for 20 yards and then we had a penalty and then he ran it again down in there. And we ended up being able to kick a field goal at that point. Those were things where he could have made a different decision at that point but he took care of the football, got us in field goal range and got us points down there. I thought those were signs of good maturity coming from Matt."
(On when does preparation against Philadelphia begin and what problems does Philadelphia present): "The Philly (Philadelphia) stuff has already begun. The good news is that we had the game on Thursday or Friday. Now, I mean, of course we didn't take our team out there and practice against Philadelphia. We're worried about the Raiders, but the team will be ready to go on Wednesday as soon as they walk through the door. They won't spend a lot of time talking about Oakland and they won't spend a lot of time talking about Oakland to you guys (laughing). We'll talk about Philadelphia and what problems do they present? Well, they present a tremendous amount of problems for a lot of reasons. One, obviously both quarterbacks are very mobile, okay. So we're preparing for them not knowing who's going to play. You're still preparing for that kind of quarterback. Two, the running back is one of the best players I've seen in a long time. This dude is a good player. And the receiver and the tight end are really good players. Every year, you study chunk plays in the league and they're always at the top. I believe they're the best team in the league right now. Maybe I'm wrong by one spot right now, but a large of it has to do with improvising of some of those. They make 20 yard runs with the runner, but Michael (Vick) can extend plays and he can run and he can do all the things that create plus 20 yard, 30 yard plays, chunk plays. And these kind of games coming up you can't allow those kind of things to happen so we have our hands full we know that. It's a hungry team. We'll have two hungry teams playing. It'll be fun."
(On what he has seen from Reggie Bush): "I mean, you have to ask Reggie (Bush) that. I'm thinking in my mind when we took Reggie, in Reggie's mind, that he's being handled right now is the way that we felt like we can handle him. Run him between the tackles, get him on the perimeter get him involved in the pass game put him in different spots. To Reggie's credit, he has to learn all that, okay. And he's a sharp guy. He's done a good job of that. His coaches, I think Nix (Jeff Nixon) has done a really good job with him there because you're asking Reggie to do that, but you're not really asking Daniel (Thomas) to play in all those spots. It's a different player so really even though you're in the same room you're coaching two players a little bit differently. With Reggie in the pass game and what you're doing there with him, and Daniel in the run game, protection game, Reggie in the protection game. I've been really proud of what Reggie has done right now. I mean, he's getting better at protection, running in between the tackles. We ran some hard ball hitting plays yesterday now. And I think this guy stuck it up in there and made some hard yards. And then in a couple of cases I thought the best run the guy had yesterday was the one that got called back on our sideline. It wasn't a whole lot there. We got out on the perimeter and he shook a guy and when we got out there and then all of a sudden turned it into a 25 yard gain. So he's been making big plays for us. I really think that's obviously the reason we brought him here."
(On Vontae Davis' growth as a complete cornerback): "Well, yeah I mean he got the sack yesterday which was great. And Vontae (Davis) is a good tackler so I mean to get him involved in some of these pressures. And we had him involve in pressure before and he's been close. Coming from where he has to come from to make a sack there has to be a lot of people doing something right. The other people in the back end have to be doing their end of the deal there if you're turning Vontae lose off of the corner. But when Vontae comes now he's going to come and tackle you because he's a good tackler. So I was happy obviously to see him get the sack, get the minus play. We created about nine minus plays yesterday during the course of the game. Those were big plays. Vontae's finding a way to contribute in different ways right now which it's been really good for us."
(On feeling a bandwagon from the local fans due to the recent team's success): "I don't listen a whole lot. I watched film this morning and moving on to Philadelphia. We're going to win as much as we can win right now. Count them all up at the end and see where we are and worry about winning one game at a time and seeing how good we can play maybe this week."
(On what finishing the season 8-8 this season would mean to you personally): "I can't do that. I don't want my team to do it. I'm not going to do it. I mean, if you ask what 5-8 means then I can answer that question, okay. 5-8 would excite me so just get the next win and get another win at home. That game was fun yesterday. These games have been fun, this team is fun. They're doing a great job. I told you before they were fun when they were 0-6, 0-7, 0-5, whatever it was. I just think at that point you just didn't want to believe that. This is a fun group of guys. Not worried about anything that happened before or anything will happen later on. Just worried about what's happening right now."
(On Reggie Bush's push-ups, did you like that): "You know what, I didn't see that until last night at some point. That was pretty good (laughing). Yeah, I did like that a little bit. I like it so just the (Jared) Odrick thing going on out there (laughing). I told him in one point of the game late, hee was going to hold me to that. I don't want Reggie (Bush) to hold me to push ups (laughing) so I would be embarrassing for me."
(On guys having fun, are Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett being the ring leaders): "Yeah, we have some different ring leaders. But (Kevin) Burnett, (Karlos) Dansby, Y.B. (Yeremiah Bell) can be fun guy. Vontae (Davis) is fun. He's a different personality out there when he gets going, there's different people. It can be (Brian) Hartline. It can be Brandon (Marshall). It can be (Mike) Pouncey, it can be these guys or I mean (Richie) Incognito it can be. It's a bunch of fun, pranksters, jokesters, and they like having a good time with each other, but when they're out there on the field and they get going a little bit. It's something that they feed off. J.T. (Jason Taylor) has been really good about that. To be honest with you, to see a 32-year old like he is right now, okay (laughing). Make sure you write that down, okay (laughing). Coach Sparano called him a 32-year old alright. To see a 32-year old running around the way he's been running around and having fun and before the game he was having a good time with Koa (Misi). I think it makes the environment a little bit looser. These games are hard on these guys and I think the looser they are and the better they feel going into these things the better off we'll be."