As we all know by now, this new regime in Miami is very tight-lipped. And new head coach Tony Sparano isn't an easy guy to get a hold of. So it's big news when he is made available, which he was on Tuesday morning at the Owners Meetings during the "AFC Coaches Breakfast." Though we weren't told what exactly Tony was eating, (I wouldn't be surprised if he was enjoying some rusty nails for breakfast...the dude is tough), he did supply us with some opinions. Below are some of the highlights:
Let's start out with this nugget, courtesy of Ethan Skolnick. Skolnick says of Sparano:
...Best line? When asked if he had soft spots for small college players, because of his history at New Haven, he said: "I have very few soft spots."
...He said he planned to be involved in every phase, even if it requires staying at the office past 1 a.m.
...On the roster composition: "It may not be the best 53. It will be the right 53."
...Again, he's harping on competition at every spot. "At some point, every player on our team, no matter who they are, will have to show me."
So, basically, Sparano is a big fan of Herb Brooks, who said when assembling the 1980 U.S. hockey team, "I'm not looking for the best players. I'm looking for the right ones." Personally, I love that attitude.
But more importantly, what jumps out is the huge difference between Sparano and Cam Cam. Sparano is a no-nonsense guy who is going to work hard. I think back to his introductory press conference, when Tony said he looks forward to challenges. He's here, and he's in it for the long haul. I'm excited more and more every time I hear the man speak. And I think having Sparano leading the practices will make even the mini-camps much more interesting.
Clearly, Tony Sparano has the right mindset and right work ethic to turn this franchise around. But we all still need to withhold our enthusiasm until we get to see how he handles himself on gamedays. Keep in mind that he's a first time head coach, and with that comes the potential for game management mistakes. I just hope the fans give him the time he'll need to really thrive.
Below are some of what Sparano had to say in regards to the players currently on the roster, taken from Armando Salguero's blog:
"We'll see how the thing goes right now but I think in our minds Ronnie should be ready for training camp," Sparano said.
Good news for now. But we've been burned before my knee injuries, so I'll believe it when I see it. and just having Ronnie back on the field by camp doesn't mean he'll be as great as he was last year before the injury. So I'm holding off on my excitement until I get to see him run with my own two eyes.
Yikes? I'm not at all against Drew Mormino coming in here and competing for the starting left guard job. He's had just about the past year to bulk up a bit and get stronger, something he needed to do to play at this level. Sparano is a former offensive line coach and I'm confident that if Mormino has to be the starter at LG, he'll be able to play effectively. As for right tackle, I'd be betting on a rookie (probably taken in round 2) to be the guy who starts come opening day.
That's one thing I've been wondering about, so it's good to hear that Sparano seems to have a plan for Lorenzo Booker, or LoBo (as he's become affectionately known as). He's got "game-breaker" potential and I'm very interested in seeing how he is used by this regime. I think training camp will give us our first clue at his potential role for the 2008 season.
As for Ginn, I'll admit that I was one of those who questioned his pick on draft day (one of the many, I might add). But since seeing him play, I'm a big fan of his. I think he has the ability to become a legit #1 receiver, something this team hasn't had in years. And don't tell me Chris Chambers was. He had the talent to be, but he disappeared too often and dropped too many passes on critical downs to be a true #1 receiver. Teddy, on the other hand, seems to have terrific hands. If he has improved his route running, as Tony leads us to believe, then he'll be a very key player for this offense for years to come.
That's all for now. I suggest heading over to Armando's post to read the other tidbits from Sparano. There's a lot of good info in there.