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Dolphin Coach, T. Sparano

Head Coach Tony Sparano on defending against Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson and the possibility of him throwing the ball 

“He’s tremendous at it, he really is. The number of touchdowns, it’s a hard deal to prepare for a guy like this because, first of all, you know if he gets an inch, he can go the distance. He’s shown it time and time again to be able to finish runs in this league. All of sudden you start to crowd the box a little bit on him and you do get people flying to the ball because you know you need to tackle this guy and then he throws it over your head. We have to be disciplined in the back end of the coverage without a doubt, but most importantly, I think you’ve got to get people around him in a hurry. That’s the only way I think you can do it.”

Head Coach Tony Sparano on the win over New England –

“It’s emotional and I’m just really happy for the guys in that room. I know how hard they work. They deserve this and they deserve for good things to happen. I’m proud for them, I’m proud for our owners and I’m proud for everybody in this organization. Most importantly, I’m proud of the players. I love what they did today. Their effort was tremendous today. I thought they flew around the entire day.”

On how important was the performance of the defense in the win over New England –

“That was really important. I think that the defense played very, very well. Again, I said after the game, I thought that the gameplan was executed really well; I meant both sides of the ball.  Certainly, I thought, defensively, we executed really well. What we didn’t want to do was allow big plays; we didn’t allow big plays. We controlled the line of scrimmage, I thought, in the run game for the most part. There was a run that came out of there maybe early second half, I believe it was, that popped out of there. Again, that was one of these fundamental issues that way that we needed to get squared away. Other than that I thought we did a pretty nice job, specifically on first and ten putting them in some long situations.”

on reaping the benefits of practice –

“It feels pretty good. You like to see what you practice and you like to see that stuff out on the field and see the results. It lends credibility to everything that you’ve been telling the players all along. I think that right now they understand that.  We had a good, solid week of practice.” 

on the feeling of getting his first win as an NFL head coach –

“It feels pretty good. The biggest thing out of this whole thing is to win a game like that and win a game in your division. I think that’s really what the most important thing is; that this was a division game. To have a chance to do anything at all in this league, you’ve got to win division games. To win one like that on the road says an awful lot about the guys in the locker room.”

on if the rotation of players on the field is a way of preventing injuries –

“Yeah, from a rotation standpoint, particularly in your interior - your defensive line – and your secondary, those are the guys. The amount of running that a secondary player has to do during training camp, or a defensive lineman, the amount of banging that it takes with him during the course of a training camp, if you have guys that you can rotate, and we talked about this, you start to develop a little bit of a play count in your head. You see it in practice; you see it start to happen a little bit that way. I’ve kept my eye on that pretty closely, particularly with our bigger guys. How any plays is it before I do start to see a dropoff? Before I do start to see fatigue? Those type of things. I think that’s where you get hurt. You get hurt when you’re tired. You get hurt when you’re not concentrating.”

on giving opportunities to players in regular season games –

“In my mind, again I’ve said this before, as an assistant coach, I’ve been in involved in some situations where at the end of the year there were some players on my team that I thought we had opportunities to play that we just didn’t play. We didn’t put them in the games that were out of hand one way or the other. We won a lot of games in Dallas by a lot of points. At the end of the year you didn’t know any more about the players than you did when the year started.”

on what is the right balance between the run and the pass in order to be successful on offense –

“We’re looking for whatever it takes to win. In an ideal situation you want to be balanced. In a realistic situation, you want whatever facet of the game is going to help you win at that moment in time. You want to be able to call upon that. In some situations you want be able to call upon your passing game when you’re facing a run defense that doesn’t allow you to run the football. In other situations you want to be able to call upon your run game when they’re playing a lot of coverage and they’re giving you a lot of run looks to be able to run the football and pound it in there.  We want to be versatile enough to where we can call upon those at anytime, and then every once in a while you hit those games where it does all come together, the stars and planets line up and you’re perfectly balanced and everything works out.”

on if developing an attitude of winning is something that is very difficult to do and is that sort of what he is in the process of doing with the Dolphins –

“Sure, we are. It is a process; it is not something that happens overnight. But it’s something that from the time that I walked in the door here we’ve been talking an awful lot about. You’re trying to change an entire culture. One of the things we had to do, it started with training camp, OTAs really and rookie camps, into training camp. That is going to be a process and we are still doing that. We are trying to get over the hump here and we are going to get there.