Tony Sparano says he's not vengeful toward Dolphins
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Tony Sparano's game plan Thursday to discuss his return to Miami was to downplay the revenge angle and put a lid on his emotions. But the Jets' offensive coordinator, who was fired as the Dolphins' coach last season, is a passionate and tough football man, and those qualities surfaced in a sparring session with reporters.
Sparano described Sunday's visit to Sun Life Stadium as "a business trip. If I want to go to vacation in Miami, I can go to vacation in Miami. That's not what we're going there for. We're going to play a game."
Asked about Mark Sanchez's poor performance in Pittsburgh, Sparano bristled. "The game's over," he said. "If you want to talk about Miami, I'll talk about it. If you want to talk about that game, I'm not going to talk about it . . . I can't help you with it. It's not my job."
Of course, Sparano's job is to make things work between Sanchez and his receivers and between Sanchez and backup Tim Tebow, who runs the Wildcat offense Sparano developed in Miami. Everything clicked against Buffalo, and it went the other way in Pittsburgh.
Sparano did say the offense must do a better job than it did on third down at Pittsburgh, must control time of possession in Miami and be more efficient in the passing game.
Asked why he used Tebow and the Wildcat for only three second-half plays, he said, "We averaged almost 6 yards a play in the first half. So that's not going through my mind when things are going well."
Sanchez found Santonio Holmes with a touchdown pass early, but Holmes was targeted 11 times resulting in only three completions. Their chemistry has been off since last season, but Sparano sees progress.
"They get along real well on the field, off the field," he said. "I see them in the film room a lot. I see them during the kick periods when they're on the other field throwing. That's the kind of thing that makes what's supposed to happen, happen.
"We had some real close ones the other day that coulda, shoulda, woulda, but they weren't. That comes with a little bit more time together and continuing to work this system together, which is different than the system they worked before."
Sparano would love to see it come together in Miami, which dumped him after he was 4-9. But he said he has no bitterness toward management and only respect for his former players.
When someone mentioned that Rex Ryan said he wanted to "kick their butts" the first time he faced his former team in Baltimore, Sparano ended with a laugh, saying, "You're not going to get that one from me."