Sparano Soundbites

Tony Sparano once again addressed Matt Roth's situation after Tuesday's morning practice, but also touched on many other topics as well when he met with reporters. Here are some highlights of Sparano's press conference.

On Ernest Wilford playing both tight end and wide receiver: "Right now, he is really still working at both positions. Depending on the packages, Ernest will work both positions. Early on in camp, we are pretty much [running a] base offense until this morning. So he has really been just at tight end, hasn't really played much receiver. Down the road, as we start to weed this thing out, he will play a little bit more receiver as well."

On if Ernest Wilford has the size to play tight end: "Obviously you would like them a little bit bigger, but some of the tight ends that came out in the draft this year, that were picked pretty high, were 235 pound guys. Ernest weighed 232 pounds the other day at the weigh in. He is getting a little bit bigger and a lot stronger."

On both Gibril Wilson and Yeremiah Bell being able to play both strong safety and free safety: "It fits in very well with this defense, in that, from a quarterback standpoint, it is pretty easy to, with the amount of studying you do, take a look back there and see what safety is [the free safety] and which is [the strong safety]. Most teams do not have the ability to interchange who plays in the middle of the field and who plays down in the box. Well, both of these guys have that ability. From our end, it will help us disguise some things and to put our best [players] in the right spot. Depending on the call, who we want down and who we want back, we are not caught where you have to have [a specific guy] in the middle of the field, so this is all you can do. These guys give us a lot of flexibility."

On Matt Roth's status: "No further clarity. Matt went out here today and we sent him to get a look at this groin. We are investigating it just as we said."

On if Matt Roth has mentioned the groin injury: "It was mentioned and [we are investigating it] on our own."

On Lionel Dotson: "One of things I really like about Lionel, and I talked to [General Manager] Jeff [Ireland] about it last night, he is a guy who is motoring pretty hard all the time. That helps inside. He doesn't necessarily carry 300 pounds, 295 pounds from a body weight standpoint, but he plays hard and he is pretty relentless. I think the kid has some value in some of the packages that we have right now as we go on with this. I was pleased to see his pressure today and we will see how consistent that is."

On when the team will have its first intrasquad scrimmage: "Saturday. We like to call it a stand up scrimmage, but we will be in full pads and we will be out here and have a pretty good go. I usually like, depending on the bodies and how we [plan it out], to last between 90 and 115 plays. We do that at the end of the first week, so that will happen Saturday in the PM practice. It will be outside, I hope, [because] last year we had to do it inside because of weather. Hopefully it will be outside and we get another crowd like the other day."

On Randy Starks' value: "I see Randy as a guy that is competing for one of those spots up front as a starter. I have nothing set in stone in my mind, other than who is going to be playing [over] the center in the first game. So other than that, Randy is competing out there no different than [Phillip] Merling, [Kendall] Lankford, [Tony] McDaniel and the rest of those guys. As far as him coming off the bench, if that is where it is, he has a lot of value. He has value in that he is big and strong enough to play first and second down out there. He gets us a pass rush on third down. I thought that is something he really did a nice job of a year ago and he has some flexibility to go and play [over] center, so that is a lot of flexibility from a player."

On if LB Matt Roth maintains that an illness is the reason he failed his conditioning test on Sunday: "As I said to you yesterday, I'll say it again; going into the conditioning test, in my mind he was healthy. I think in everybody's mind he was healthy. At the end of the conditioning test, I didn't go well. He and I sat down, we talked, we talked about him being sick and then brought him back up and we talked about him being sick again. Probably, that was at the end of the practice that he ran, that practice was our first practice, I guess. I brought him back up and explained to him we were going to kind of have a plan, a running plan in place, and do those things, and again just talked about not feeling good and not feeling right, and he was sick, and that's really what the conversation was. As I said yesterday, I believe Matt Roth telling me that he was sick."

On where Ricky Williams is physically and where he will fit in this year:"Physically, I would say, and Ricky would tell you this, that he's at the best that he's been at in an awful long time physically. This is two offseasons in a row here he's had a tremendous offseason. I mean the guy made all 46 workouts, 100% of the workout time. He's here, his body weight is down, he's lean, body fat, all those things are down. His endurance I think is up, I mean when you watch this guy run, and running conditioning or running out there, there's still burst to him, so I see the strength and I see all those positives that have come in the offseason, and I just hop e we can translate those things into yards when we get out there on the field. The thing that Ricky does is that he runs pretty hard when he gets the football, so he is going to make yards."

On if he thinks Williams is ahead of where he was last season: "I really do. At the end of last year, I mean again, last year you remember he had that shoulder [injury], so he had to get through that a little bit, and then you know, we got through it easily, and he made good gains. This year, coming into the offseason, not having to rehab and injury period and just being able to kind of get going and start over again, I think it was really a positive for him and a positive for us."

On how the team is holding up from a conditioning standpoint — four practices and 2 ½ days into camp: "I think they're holding up really nice. I mean, we took them in [side] yesterday afternoon; we'll take them in again this afternoon, get out of the heat. The reason for that is simply we are going two [practices] and two in a row, and really that first day we ran that conditioning test in the morning and practice, so it's almost like three two-a-days in a row here. So, we kind of got them out of the box and make sure they knew it was really dark out and there was no light at the end of the tunnel, and that was about it. But, I think they are holding up really well right now. I like what I have seen, you know, I just see a stronger team out here, and a better conditioned team."


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