Interviews Archive

DolfansNYC Podcast, Episode 5: Tony Sparano

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Last week, DolfansNYC attended Web Weekend, an annual event hosted by the Miami Dolphins for the team’s top fan websites. Prior to Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans, Coach Tony Sparano addressed the crowd and spoke about a number of key topics, after which we he took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for our podcast.

Below are the main portions from the group Q&A, followed by our exclusive one-on-one interview with Coach Sparano, in which he talks about his football playing career, the decision behind hiring offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, and his thoughts on New York and DolfansNYC.

On under-the-radar players to watch for:

I think a guy that you should watch out for, predicated on what I’ve seen throughout training camp – and I don’t like singling any players out, as I’m sure you guys know – I’ll tell you that Reshad Jones is a guy I would watch.   This guy had 13 tackles (against the Patriots), and has had a really good training camp, has really good range and ball skills back there.  I think he’s a guy that could have a really good year as a young player for us.

I’m hoping that Jared Odrick will continue to get better.  He needs to play, and he obviously hasn’t played in a long time.  So, Jared would be a guy that I would say the same thing about.  And then maybe a young guy like Daniel Thomas.

On the roster decision-making process:

The first thing we identify, is where the need is – obviously, just because there’s a player out there, he might not satisfy our needs at that particular time.  There were a lot of good players out there when free agency hit at the end of the lockout, but we had a particular plan in mind, knowing what we had coming back and knowing maybe a little bit about what we needed.

This year, business was done a little bit differently, only because the draft was done before free agency.  So, in the draft, we got to fill some needs like Clyde Gates, in getting speed, or Mike Pouncey, in finding a center, and Daniel Thomas, in finding a (running) back.  At that point, it became, “okay, we’ve got Daniel Thomas – what’s the next piece?  Well, there’s this Reggie Bush that might be out there.”  That was a scenario there where (it was) a hunch on our part, only because Reggie had made a lot of money where he was, (and could have been) a cap casualty.  And we had all of those things – our scouting department has a list of players that we think are going to be released, a list of players that are free agents, and potential cap casualties.  And this was a scenario where we were able to get a good player in that situation and bring him to our team.

But the way the process works, is identifying the problem first, then Jeff (Ireland) and I will sit down and go over the possibilities.  We’ll have what we call a “short list,” a list of players in that area, that we’ll start putting together, we’ll go through, and if we feel like there’s a chance that we can strike a deal with somebody there that might be a good deal for us, then we’ll push towards that.  So, it’s mutual, both of us together, but most of the time, it’s about me bringing a need first.

On his thoughts about bringing back the Wildcat:

No, no real thoughts about the Wildcats right now.

The reason the Wildcat originated, was that at that particular time, we didn’t have the personnel that we have on our football team right now.  You look at Brandon Marshall, and Davone Bess, and Brian Hartline, and Clyde Gates, and Reggie Bush, and (Anthony) Fasano, and these types of people that you can get the football to – we didn’t have that necessarily; we had Ronnie (Brown) and Ricky (Williams) at the time.  So, (with) Ronnie and Ricky, how can we get them on the same field at the same time and maybe get the ball in their hands enough times?  That was kind of the reason why we went with something like that.  I don’t know that the Wildcat is something that we’re really too interested at this time.

(After audience applauds) You weren’t clapping way back when – it was genius at that point.

On the biggest difference in Chad Henne this season:

I would say that the biggest difference isn’t necessarily in Chad – the difference is in how the team perceives Chad.  Chad is the same Chad that I know from the previous years.  The difference is, if the lockout was good for anything from my end, as a football coach, the lockout was good because Chad had to be out there running these workouts on his own.  He had the keys to the closet and he was the only guy that really knew about the offense, contrary to popular belief out there.  The players needed him – they had to come to him for the answers.  So, in these player-only workouts that took place out there, Chad had all the answers for them, so obviously he got them lined up, he organized the practices, he did everything from that standpoint.  So now, when Chad says something, it isn’t, “well, let me go find somebody else to get the answer,” it’s, “I got it, Chad.”  At the quarterback position, he drives the bus, and at the end of this thing, it really sets on his shoulders.  So he needs to have that respect, and I think that Chad clearly has the respect right now.

DolfansNYC Podcast with Coach Tony Sparano:

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Music Credit: Solo D, “DolfansNYC Anthem”

Coach Sparano, in which he talks about his football playing career, the decision behind hiring offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, and this thoughts on New York and DolfansNYC.

DolfansNYC Interview: Kory Sheets

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Miami Dolphins running back Kory Sheets has an opportunity to step into the spotlight next season. The 5’11” dynamo, who was signed off the San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad in October 2009, was expected to serve as Miami’s primary kickoff returner before a torn Achilles’ tendon suffered in training camp cost him the entire 2010 campaign. With both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams no longer expected to return to South Florida, Sheets is ready to compete with the team’s second-round pick, Daniel Thomas, for the starting tailback job.

Kory was kind enough to take time out of his offseason training schedule to talk about his rehabilitation process, his goals for the 2011 season, and his gameday routines.

Dolphins RB/KR Kory Sheets1. You missed the entire 2010 season with a torn ACL. What did the rehab process entail and are you now fully recovered?

The rehab process was long and difficult. At one point, around December, I hit a wall, and I wasn’t progressing (anymore) – it wasn’t getting worse, it wasn’t getting better. With my workout that I was doing, I needed to make my calf muscles bigger and stronger, so once I was able to do that, to make that stronger, I felt more production. From there, it just kind of took off, and started healing. As of right now, I’m 100% – there’s no pain, I got my strength back, and I’m running at full speed.

2. What have you been doing during the offseason, with no contact permitted with team officials?

A bunch of us are working out over at Nova (Southeastern University) – we had been going every day until the lockout (temporarily) ended. Right now, I’m just taking a break and a week off, maybe two. I think I’ll probably get back at it around the end of the Fourth of July (weekend).

3. Has anyone on the Dolphins served as a mentor or role model for you?

I wouldn’t say a role model, but a few guys talked with me, asked me what I wanted to do, and helped me study and just become a better pro. Lousaka Polite sat down with me on multiple occasions, helped me watch film, and showed me things that I needed to work on in my own game, how to read off of him and block.

4. Last season, you were expected to be the primary kick returner. Is that something you plan on doing in 2011?

Depending on whatever happens with Ronnie and Ricky – if they don’t come back, then my main focus is going to be (being) the starting tailback.

5. If Ricky and Ronnie don’t return, as expected, is the plan for you to pair up with rookie Daniel Thomas in the backfield?

Yes, that’s the (team’s) plan, but my main focus is to going to be the main guy. If there’s something else they want me to do, I’ll gladly do it with no problem.

6. What do you feel you bring to the team when you step out on the field?

Speed – in the NFL, most guys are fast, and just watching it all last season, (there’s) a lot of warp speed out there. I think I’ll help bring a lot of speed to the offense.

7. Would you say that you’re the fastest player in the NFL?

Oh, no. (laughs)

8. Where would you rank?

I don’t even know, because there are a lot of guys out there that are fast. There (are) a lot of 4.2 (40-yard dash time) guys coming into the league.

9. Is there a current player in the NFL who you feel most closely resembles your skill-set?

I’ve been compared to Reggie Bush coming out of college. I don’t feel that I play like him – we have similar things that we can do, but I honestly don’t know who (I played like). I’d (have to) sit here and think about it.

10. Which teams and players did you follow growing up, and which players did you most admire strive to be like?

I followed the 49ers growing up. And players, I watched Barry (Sanders), I actually watched Ricky a lot. Who else … that’s pretty much it. I really didn’t watch football too much.

11. Can you take me through a typical gameday? Do you have any pre-game routines or superstitions?

I usually don’t like to eat before a game. I don’t know, growing up, I just never ate – I don’t know if that was (because) I was just nervous or I just didn’t like to eat before a game. In high school I didn’t eat; in college, I wouldn’t eat before the morning of the game. After the game, I’m usually hungry.

12. What music do you listen to before a game?

Usually, it’s whatever is on my iPod – there’s no set list or no person that I like to listen to more. Maybe an hour before the game, I’ll sit in the locker room, and listen to probably some R&B music and just kind of relax.

13. Is there anything you’d like to say to your DolfansNYC fans?

When the lockout is over, we all will be ready to play ball!

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