Tony Sparano had a very insightful visit with the media after practice today to talk a bit about Sunday’s finale at New England and a good amount about off-season plans. When talking about off-season evaluation of what went right and what went wrong, Sparano said he would take “a good part of a month” to break everything down, from players to schemes, and everything else.
Talking about the difference between this season and 2008, when the Fins finished 11-5 and won the AFC East, Sparano pointed out that yardage has not been the big issue. As much as those guys have been picked on this year, Sparano pointed out that the team is only averaging 17 less yards per game now than they did in ’08. He said it was more than just about yards and that you have to dig deeper (scoring, turnovers, special teams, and dropped INT’s are all things that come to my mind).
Sticking with offense, Sparano talked about Chad Henne making a nice play on Sunday against the Lions, feeling pressure, stepping up in the pocket, and hitting TE Mickey Shuler down the middle for a big gain. He said it’s a good example of how big plays are made in this league. A couple of weeks ago, he did a study of the teams with the most 30+ yard passing plays on the season: Green Bay and Atlanta. After watching the film, Sparano said that many of those plays happened because Aaron Rodgers and Mike Vick were running around a la Fran Tarkenton, allowing guys to get open downfield. A relatively simple, but powerful observation.
Lastly, Sparano spoke about the advances in special teams as the season has gone on. He said that one of the big reasons for improvement is that the core of young guys aren’t so young anymore. Another simple but strong point.
UPDATE: Here is video of the coach talking about how he’ll evaluate himself in the off-season as well as the kind of work that Brandon Marshall and Henne will be putting in together this off-season:
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