Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano was quite relieved to finally be talking about football Friday after a tumultuous offseason for himself and all of the Dolphins players.
Sparano was nearly fired in a very public flirtation by owner Stephen Ross with Jim Harbaugh. Ross eventually was rebuffed by Harbaugh and came back with his tail between his legs to give Sparano another chance.
For Sparano, he didn’t let it get to him and parlayed the incident into a contract extension. Now, all he’s focused is on finally getting down to business on the field.
“We’re just excited to be back out here on the football field,” Sparano said. “I hadn’t seen lines out there on the field in a while; it kinda looked like a chipping green.”
While much of the talk has surrounded the quarterback position, Sparano has settled on Chad Henne for the time-being. He was peppered with questions Friday about the Fins’ newest acquisition, running back Reggie Bush.
Sparano repeatedly said that Bush gives the team the ability to be less predictable. The coach then said, surprising most media members that Bush can carry the ball on first and second down.
“He gives you a different dynamic,” Sparano said. “Predictability and speed is something I want to get away from and get a lot of.”
But, even though Sparano believes that Bush can carry the load for the Fins, rookie Daniel Thomas is there for a reason.
“There’s no question he (Bush) has to have a caddy, that’s why Daniel (Thomas) is here,” Sparano said. “That being said, I really have the strong belief this guy can carry the ball on first and second down. For Reggie, it’s our job to figure out what his style is and make it work.”
Sparano said that Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long isn’t practicing and that won’t be changing until the coach is fully confident in Long’s recovery from offseason surgery.
“I know what Jake needs to be ready,” Sparano said, “and I don’t plan on putting him out there before that.”
But perhaps the biggest question mark for the Fins will be wide receiver Brandon Marshall. The talented wide receiver has the most skill of almost any offensive player, but his off-the-field problems have been a problem ever since his days in Denver.
Sparano isn’t worried about the offseason issues and believes Marshall is ready for the season ahead.
“I believe this guy’s (Marshall) mindset is 100 percent focused,” Sparano said. “I think he’s got a clear mind right now and the one thing I know is that he’s in tremendous, tremendous shape.”