SPARANO: What Preseason Is All About

Transcript of offensive coordinator Tony Sparano's news conference following the Jets' Monday afternoon practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center:

On why Tim Tebow played until the end of the game…

He played 29 plays.

On why he played into the fourth quarter…

Is that a rule?

On his overall assessment of the offense…

At times during the course of the game, if you really watch the film and you go through the tape you will see a lot of real positives. Offensively, it is a little bit different than defensively. You can run around with good energy on defense and you can cover up some of the mistakes. Offensively, if one guy makes a mistake, that will show. We had a couple of those, obviously. We had more efficient plays in this ballgame than we had in the first ballgame.

Clearly within the run game, we ran the ball, I thought, pretty well, at least for three solid quarters. I thought at the end of the game it got sloppy running the football, but I thought they ran the ball really well for three quarters.

There were some really good things coming out of the film. The quarterback was 9-for-11. If he didn't throw the interception and maybe we don't have a dropped ball there, we are talking about him being 10-for-10 or whatever the case is. It happened and it is something we can learn from right now. That is what preseason is all about.

On what contributed to the sacks during the game…

A lot of things. A lot of things go into sacks. It is our nature here to blame it on one group. There are a lot of different things that go into sacks, meaning you could run a route 2 yards deep, or deeper than you should, and not show up in front of the quarterback. From a protection standpoint, you can be expected to chip or rub or to help or any of those kinds of things. Maybe that turns into just a fly-by because I want to get out in a route. Those are little things or details that all equal pressures, hits, sacks, any of those things during the course of the game. From our end, we have to get better at some of those details. That is what we are working hard at out on the practice field every day. Guys are getting better, so we will see.

On how he would assess the performance of tackle Wayne Hunter…

If you look at the total body of work, he played 30 plays out there during the course of the game. Obviously, he had a couple of plays there that were under the light, so to speak. Those are fundamental things more than they were anything else. On the very first sack, Wayne has a lot of weight on his outside foot. That is not going to make a lot of sense to a lot of people but when you put 330 pounds on your right foot and somebody pushes you, let me know how that feels.

He didn't play in the last game and this is really his first opportunity to get back out there and play. He has been out for a little while, so I think those are things that Wayne was back out there working hard at. I was pleased to see the way he came to work today and his demeanor out there on the practice field.

On if Austin Howard will receive reps with the first team…

We have not really talked about what we will do when we get down the road here. Obviously, we want to get the core guys, whoever they are, more plays. We will probably go a little deeper with seven guys, eight guys, I don't know. We will go a little deeper. We haven't really talked about it at this point but that is possible.

On what he thinks about Coach Ryan saying he wasn't sure Hunter would start in the opening game…

What Rex said, I mean, right now we have a long way to go. I think Wayne has come out here and has mentioned that he had to do some things better. Rex has told you that we have to get better there and we know that. To the guys' credit, and I mean all their credit, they are all working really hard up front there to get better, and they are getting better.

I mean, again, we can worry about the protection thing, we can keep guys in and we can block and do all that and not evaluate a receiver right now or a tight end right now or a running back right now. That's not what these games are for right now. I mean, last time I checked I don't think anybody wins anything when they come out of the preseason. In fact, I believe I was 12-4 in Miami in the preseason and I didn't win much.

On if the receivers are part of the reason the ball hasn't been thrown down the field…

No, we had a couple opportunities to throw the ball down the field during the game. In fact, there were probably three or four real glaring opportunities that we had to throw the ball down the field, and for one reason or another the ball just didn't get down the field. There were a couple of them that we missed and didn't see, a couple that we got pressured on.

Again, not different than the sack, the guy running the route down the field can be affected, too. That play can be affected by other things like pressure. So I think that part of it was, a little bit of the coverage they played the other night really doesn't dictate that the ball going down the field. I mean, the Giants played a lot of split safety the other night, occasionally played a couple of snaps of post safety where the ball could have gone down the field, and traveled down that way. We had some shots at some balls down the field and we just didn't see them. I call them green-lighters, and when we see those green-lighters come up, we have to be able to execute them. And we've seen them today on film and I hope the guys will learn from it.

On not converting on the short-yardage runs…

Well, it's a combination of things. When you get into the short-yardage situations like that, these are plays that we've been running for a long time here or I've been running for a long time. I think that some of the looks can get a little mucky in there, if you will.

What I mean by that is just that there's a lot of bodies and who the identifications are and who we identify tells us who we're going to. And a couple of those things, there might have been a communication thing or two, some things that we haven't really seen with that particular play yet. We've seen a lot of things from our defense but that might've been some of the cause.

Some of it, quite honestly, was just you've got to give credit to the Giants. I mean, they did a good job. But at the same time, our guys, we talk about being the last man standing on the goal line or the last man standing in short yardage. And in some of those situations, we didn't finish a block.

On being comfortable with Stephen Hill's progress…

I really am, yeah. I'm OK with where he is right now. I thought he had a good practice out there today, did some good things, got the ball down the field a few times. Stephen is really, he's one of the few guys, if you look at the position right now, he, Pat Turner, these guys have taken a lot of reps. And he's benefiting from the amount of reps that he's getting right now. And I think he's starting to learn to play with Mark [Sanchez] a little bit out there, I think Mark, Tim, both those guys, being in and out of the huddle like that. But with Mark, Mark's starting to learn his body a little bit, where he can put the football with him and those types of things. So that's been really good that way.

I think he's coming along nicely. We've done some different things with him inside and outside. Once we start to get some of the troops back here and we start to get a full group out there, we'll be able to use him a little bit differently.

On how not having Santonio Holmes has affected the growth of the offense…

Look, Santonio, he's a really good player. I think a lot of teams with these A-players that are out there, obviously, that allows you to do some different things, A, with him, but B, with some of the other parts. And when he's not out there, I think that obviously doesn't help us.

What I've liked right now is I've liked the way the other guys have stepped up. It's given me an opportunity to really get a chance to see Pat Turner or to see Stephen Hill take the reps that he's taken. Or even Jordan White or [Royce] Pollard right now. And that's what this thing's about right now. For us, we've got to find players here as well. You take a look at a lot of these young players and they're getting quality reps out there with the first group.

Now sometimes that can hurt you a little bit because you're young and maybe you miss a sight-adjust and your quarterback gets hit or you do some of those things. I mean, there's some different things that happen. For the most part, these kids have done a really good job, I think, of rising to the occasion that way.

On building confidence in the offense…

No, I mean, this group isn't really short on confidence. They're a pretty confident bunch of guys. I would say this: Obviously like anything else, you want touchdowns because you want to see the kids smile. You want to see the smile on their face. You want to see some validation on what it is that we've been doing and how hard they've been working. I think that's the most important thing is that these guys work really hard. You want to see us punch the ball in the end zone.

Sometimes, and this is going to come off the wrong way, but we get in the red zone twice the other night and we have two big penalties. We have a holding penalty on a screen that puts us down there on the 15- 16- or 14-yard line, somewhere around there. Then we have a holding penalty on the Tebow run down there on about the 15-yard line. Those are two penalties that take you out of there and put you on the 30. My point is, all along here though training camp, you're trying to learn some of the things that can hurt you, too, and some of these red zone things. If anything good comes out of not scoring, which there's not many good things that come out of not scoring, but at least there's something there for us to teach and to say, hey, these are the reasons why we're saying what we're saying. It kind of makes it a little bit more special here at the end of this thing.

Obviously, we want to get the points down there and we don't want field goals. We want to score touchdowns and we want to see these kids feel really good about themselves that way. I think when they watched the film, and today we watched it a little differently. The way I presented the film to them today was not an in-game fashion. It was broken down into critical errors and then broken down into what could be considered as average plays — they can go one way or the other, they can be really good or they can not so good, for different reasons — and then really good plays. It's starting to give them a picture of really what it's supposed to look like up there when you end with the good plays and you see the critical errors. I think that for our group has been a really good lesson for them to learn here.

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