Coach Sparano Turns the Page to St. Louis

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Opening Statement: **"Got the guys back out there today, after a couple days off. It was good to see them and pretty fresh out there today. Got a good little workout in, short, fast and getting on here to St. Louis, so, I'm looking forward to it."

Q: Did you work on St. Louis at all today or was today just getting back out there?

Coach Sparano:"No, today was pretty much all St. Louis."

Q: How did you think Rod Streater looked out there today?

Coach Sparano:"I'll have to watch the tape. It looked like he ran around pretty good. I know he was pretty excited to get back out there, so, we'll see. We've got to be patient, we didn't really do a whole lot out there, but he looked good doing what he was doing. We'll have to see where he is here, just be patient with it."

Q: Gabe Jackson was limited last week and was not out there today…

Coach Sparano:"Gabe was just excused for a personal reason today. Gabe will be back Wednesday."

Q: Is Latavius Murray still undergoing protocol?

Coach Sparano:"Yes, undergoing protocol right now."

Q: Has he passed any of the tests that he has to take?

Coach Sparano:"Yeah, I'm going to keep that one to us, but right now he's involved in the middle of it, so we'll see where he is by tomorrow and have a pretty good idea of what's going on for Wednesday. As you know, these things can take time or they can be very fast, just depends on the player and the severity or any of those type of things."

Q: Does the play calling change at all when Latavius Murray is in the game or are the plays called the same as the ones when Darren McFadden or Maurice Jones-Drew are in the game?

Coach Sparano:"Same plays. Calling the same plays, doing the same things. Short of two weeks ago, I think I mentioned there was a play there that was really well blocked. It was a different play, it wasn't for Latavius necessarily, it was just a play that shows up maybe a couple times in there, you might find that kind of play showing up a few times a season and happen to be there and we ran it and Latavius was the benefactor there."

Q: What do you think has gone into the secondary unit as a whole to be able to play so well together with moving parts like Larry Asante and Brandian Ross coming in?

Coach Sparano:"I mean I think one thing that's happened is, again, our approach to things has been to simplify and to get these guys to, really, we didn't game plan today for example. We went out there and practiced, we had an idea of what we want to do, so we just looked at some things but the players didn't receive a game plan. We actually watched the Kansas City film today but went out there and practiced for whatever it was, an hour and a half, and had some good work against them because there are some things there that obviously our guys know. To simplify some things, it helps when you're moving parts in and out. Now how we do it and how we get to it or any of those type of things could look a little differently, but it's just really trying to do a lot of the things that you feel like you're good at. Every once in a while we have to have a tweak, you have to have something there defensively, some different type of pressure or something that maybe is a little different in attacking people, but that's all part of the game plan process. Same thing offensively, but for the most part, you're trying to do things that you feel like you're good at so when you have, when you're mixing and matching there and putting some different people in some different areas, there are things that they've heard before." 

Q: What do you think of Brandian Ross as a slot corner?

Coach Sparano:"Yeah, he's played well. The one thing that I like about him right now, the guy is fearless. He goes in there and he competes, whether he's in the back end, whether he's inside. I think when you're playing inside you have to have that kind of mentality. You have to be one of those guys inside that's fearless and that has a short memory, because they get attacked in there and there are a lot of moving parts in there. I've been impressed with how he's handled those things. Now, I mean, we'll see how it goes here, we had TJ [Carrie] back out there today. We'll see how TJ feels. They'll have a day off tomorrow and then we'll be back at it on Wednesday, so hopefully we should be no worse for the wear there, but that'll be good to get TJ back if we can get him back and then see what happens from there."

Q: Brandian Ross stepped in for Tyvon Branch when he got hurt so early and struggled. When you got him back from Miami, was he a different guy or did you see anything different in him?

Coach Sparano:"No, I think sometimes, and honestly, I actually had this conversation with him once, just brief. I really think a guy like he, a guy like Larry [Asante], these type of players, when all of a sudden you're out of it, you've been cut a little bit, it can kind of humble a little bit and you understand that I've got to make the most of the opportunity when it arises again, and this guy has done a great job. Now fortunately for him, he came back to a system that he was familiar with which helped him immediately, and then he's taking good advantage of it. I don't know, the one thing with him that has shown up that maybe didn't show up early on, is that he was kind of always around the football so to speak, you'd see him around the ball, but when it came to the factor plays, plays at him and how they handle those things, what I've seen is an increase right now in him winning those factor plays. That's what I've noticed. The guy is really competing hard and he's playing this thing like every day, and it's a good way to approach it, that every day is my last day. It's the way we should all be approaching it."

Q: Some of the veterans said after the game that the win was nice but they want more. Did you see that kind of focus coming back?

Coach Sparano:"Yeah, I hope so. It's contagious. Yeah, I've seen good focus today. Normally, you bring a team in here on Monday after a couple days off, you see lack of focus, lack of attention to detail. They were very focused today, very good in meetings and very good out there on the field. I think this team, they got a taste of something good and they want more of it and that's natural. That's a good problem to have. You can get into a funk of feeling that other feeling and we don't want to feel that other feeling. As I said to them today, one of the things you've got to do, it's OK to close your eyes and think back to the locker room a couple days ago and think about what that feeling is all about because you want more of it. It becomes something that possesses you a little bit when you win a football game like that. You want to be able to go out and try to get as many of those as you can right now, and teams that are making progress start to play well at this time of year and we're a team that's making progress."

Q: What has been the issue with getting Marcel Reece more involvement? is it because he is a fullback?

Coach Sparano:"I mean, I can only speak of the time that I've been here and the time that I've been here we've been either, again, either you've had Marcel used as more of that 'F' type of a player, and it's a little bit of a hybrid position, the 'F' position, he [Mychal] Rivera, those type of guys. He is a fullback, but he can flex out, he can play outside which we've used him out there in some situations. He can play extended, which I think is what a lot of people worry about when he's out there on the field, is where will he line up. Then he can play in the backfield but he can also carry the football. The thing that I've noticed is that he's a guy that when given the opportunity to run the football, makes yards that way, no matter when. It's not just my experience with the Jet game, but we've handed him the football in some other things and he's made yards. So, that's another way to get him the touches right now and to get him involved a little bit. I think Marcel's play count was somewhere up like 38 [33] plays in this past game, which is pretty high for him and then all of a sudden he had a few special teams plays [6] in there, so he's in the mid-40's, and for a fullback, that 'F' position type player, that's a good amount of plays to be played."

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