The Miami Dolphins posted their first victory of the season yesterday, ending a ten-game losing streak, stretching back to last season. Following the game, Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano met with the media for his customary post game press conference.
Obviously, the main topic was the Dolphins' victory. "The guys played good and the coaches coached good," Sparano stated. "Those guys kept believing in the locker room. They were pretty daring today, to come into a place like this and win a football game-that's a really good team out there-credit to the people in the locker room and to those coaches.
"You can call it whatever you want. I'm going to say my team played good. There have been enough weeks where other people have told me about my team, you can call it whatever you'd like.
"I'm just happy for the guys in the locker room, I really am. All I've wanted to do for seven weeks is to see these guys smile. I'm happy for them, happy for people in the organization and happy for the coaches."
The topic then turned to the team's preparation and the offensive and defensive changes the team made to find that first win of the season. "We did some different things in practice, kept them fresh," Sparano said. "I've been really trying to do that, but this is all about the players. These guys did a super job all week long of putting all the garbage behind them, not listening to you guys, not listening to anybody else...I say that will all due respect but that's the fact. They put it behind them and those guys came out there and they worked their tail off and were focused the entire week. We came up here and we wanted to start fast. We talked about starting fast and finishing strong and we got off to good start and obviously finished."
For the offense to find some big plays, Sparano stated, "The amount of man coverage that we were seeing, we just felt really good about if we could throw it well, we might be able to do some things there. After a while, we started getting a little bit of zone coverage because we were having some success, the Charles Clay ball that he catches is a zone beater and he catches kind of a slim post, some of those types of things. But the [TE Anthony] Fasano ball was a man coverage play and right after that, that kind of stopped a little bit of that and then we were able to start to get into a lather of running the football. It wasn't pretty yards but it was good, efficient yards.
"Everybody made a big play:
With regards to the defense's performance, Sparano said, "We got to [Matt Cassel]. I think we sacked him [they] told me maybe five times, we hit him a few times, there were some big hits out there, [Karlos Dansby] had a big hit early in the game, [
The coach talked about quarterback Matt Moore. "He threw it well. He threw it well all week honestly. In practice this week we completed 74% of our passes, that's hard to do. I thought he threw it well and the line protected well, that's a good group out there. We want to take swings at those guys when they don't do well, but they played a pretty solid football game up front."
When speaking about the game itself, Sparano stated, "We came out in the second half and we had the ball. It was 14-3 or whatever it was, and we didn't generate a first down there, that kind of was what happened last week...We had the ball coming out, we didn't generate a first down but the defense made a nice stop, got them off the field and then offensively we made a couple of big plays and then next thing you know we're in the end zone and we're getting points again. So instead of kind of hanging around and waiting for those guys to screw it up on the other side, for a change, our team just put it in their own hands and that's what I've been waiting to see and that's the daring part of a good group of people. We are a 1-7 football team, but it's the best bunch of kids I've ever been around."
And, with the game starting to get chippy at the end, Sparano added, "Guys were playing hard. I want to be smarter, obviously, but I don't want to take their aggressiveness away. We are in a hard place here, a hard environment and that's a tough football team out there that they are playing. If you watch those guys on film they're a tough team, their coach is a tough guy and that's just the nature of the way the game went."
Finally, Sparano talked about the pressure on the team, and on him, during the team's 10-game losing streak. "Pressure on me I'm not really worried about, but pressure on the guys in that room, it validates some of the things we've been talking about, about how hard work pays off and about how believing in each other and sticking with each other pays off. We get to go home for two weeks now; we're going to enjoy this plane ride home. I don't know, I might play hostess on the plane ride or whatever the heck that is, we'll see."
Once the team was back in the locker room, Sparano gave them off until Wednesday. At the end of his comments, he added, "I didn't give out any game balls right now, we'll give them out Wednesday when they come back to work. I think the loudest roar was that they have victory Monday. They were really good. I just told them two things...that today they were daring and that I was happy to see them smile."
With the fans getting to see the Dolphins win for the first time since December, the players weren't the only ones smiling.
If you would like to watch the entire press conference, you can find the video and the transcript on MiamiDolphins.com.