Tony Sparano On The OLine

Tony Sparano spoke to the media today about an area that has many Jets fans concerned, the offensive line.  Here is what Sparano had to say:

On his assessment of Austin Howard…
I thought that he played about 75% good, which is right around maybe where he was grade-wise which is pretty good up front. He’s telling me that three out of four times it went pretty good. He played with tremendous power in the game. I realize that it was said out there that we didn’t push anybody but I would urge you to pick a phone up and call the people down there (in Cincinnati) and ask them that question. I believe Coach (Ryan) might have said something about bringing a film in. He should do that. There were a lot of people pushed. I thought our double teams were tremendous and Austin (Howard) was a part of that but there were several times there where Austin really just did a hell of a job out there. There were a couple of plays that I know Austin wished he had back and those are the things that we have to get better at. In other words, I’ve spoken to him about that – just the consistency thing. Over a course of a 70-play game, in this case I think he played around 38 plays, you don’t want to have five or six that don’t go the right way.

On if Howard can push for a starting job…
There’s competition all over the place right now. Right now he’s out there and obviously Wayne (Hunter) hadn’t been out there practicing so Austin was playing right tackle. When Wayne was there, Wayne was doing a very nice job so we were up here talking about Wayne at that point. I’m just anxious to get Wayne back and see the competition go at that point. Austin doing what he’s done right now, quite honestly, it’s becoming a little bit of a habit in that the competitive drills that we’ve had, scrimmages, and this scrimmage (preseason game) here, he’s kind of done the same thing in those competitive drills. In other words, he’s flashed and peaked and played good for a little while and then he’d have maybe a play or two where it’s not so good, but then (afterward) he’s played pretty good. That’s a good sign. It’s a show-me game and I’m getting a chance to see it with my eyes.

On rotating Howard and Wayne Hunter during practice…
We just had Wayne out on a little bit of a (play) count right now. Just getting him out there today was good. It was good to get him back in.

On pass protection against the Bengals…
Not breakdowns. There was one protection breakdown. That happened to result in a turnover when they hit (Greg) McElroy (on) the (play that was reviewed.) That was a protection breakdown. The who is not important. That was just a protection breakdown. Other than that, the first one was a pressure that they came with that we really hadn’t spent a lot of time on. Obviously, we hadn’t spent any time on (it). It was the first time that they had seen it. Another one, it was a shame because Dustin Keller, on two of these pressures, was running completely open (with) nobody guarding him. We just didn’t get him the football (at that point). Another one (play) we went in there and instead of staying up in a five-step drop, we cut (blocked). That’s a heck of a cut. We knocked the guy down on the ground, but in a five-step drop (or a) seven-step drop, you can’t do that. It gives them too much time to get up and make the play. So these are the things that when you don’t practice live, and we’ve had that once or twice but not in that situation – one of them was a goal-line deal, but when you don’t practice that way, you don’t understand it so it’s good to get it in the game.

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