Questioning the Enemy: Dolphins

With the Ravens preparing to take on the Miami Dolphins this weekend, two members of the enemy team answered a few questions about their squad. gives you head coach Tony Sparano and linebacker Joey Porter.

Head Coach Tony Sparano

What stands out about the Ravens' offense on film?

Tony Sparano:"I think that they're very physical. Their offensive line [has] big, strong people. [I have] a lot of respect for what they're doing up front there. Ben Grubbs, I think, is an outstanding player. I think they have two backs that carry the ball extremely well. [Le'Ron] McClain, he's a powerful guy. [Willis] McGahee is a powerful guy. You've got to wrap these guys up and tackle them. I think both receivers are guys that can make big plays. That is something that certainly has hurt us over the last several weeks."

Do you anticipate the Ravens attempting to establish the run, given that they start a rookie quarterback?

TS:"Certainly, rookie quarterback or no quarterback, I think that just seems to be what they want to do. They want to establish the run and come in and move the ball that way. I'm sure they watched our film last week. They've seen them having success against us throwing the football, as well. Arizona had success throwing the ball against us a little bit, so I'm sure that they're going to test the water that way, as well."

Where did the "Wildcat Offense" come from, and where is it going?

TS:"Well, I don't know exactly where it's going. It came from David Lee, my quarterback coach here, and he had experience with it when he was in Arkansas. It's something that we work on during our spring drills, and it just was the right time a couple weeks ago. We've done it, and it's become a little bit of our personality, but just a little bit."

Did you willingly accept the "Wildcat" or did you have to be convinced?

TS:"We were a 1-15 team a year ago, so I was willingly accepting anything that I thought would help us win games. This was a situation where I felt like [it could work], depending on the personnel. Of course, it's all about personnel. If you don't have the people, it certainly wasn't going to be something that we did. It might've taken a little bit of arm-twisting, but I thought that, at the end of this, we had two good backs, and it was a way to get them both on the field."

Are you surprised by the success they have had in the "Wildcat" alignment?

TS:"Well, I'll be honest with you. To me, an efficient play in our league is a 4-yard play. So, at the end of this, [am I] surprised to gain four yards? No. Surprised that there were some bigger plays that came out of it? Maybe so. When we put this thing in, it was just a way to get the right personnel on the field and to gain four yards, and we've had a couple of big plays come out of it. I think that might've surprised me a little bit that way." 

LB Joey Porter

You've had some memorable run-ins with guys like Todd Heap and Ray Lewis. How is it going to feel to see them again?

Joey Porter:"I saw them last year. It was a football game. I don't know what you all are looking for, what kind of story you're looking for, but I thought you were going to call me and ask me what type of game plan or something like that, something on that page. But it doesn't sound like that's what you all are trying to talk about."

What type of game plan do you have going this week?

JP:"Same game plan. We're going to try to take away the run. We know they want to run the ball against us. We know they have a young quarterback in [Joe] Flacco, so it'd be in our best interest to try and stop the run and put the game in Flacco's hands."

Do the Ravens' offensive line injuries play into how the Dolphins' defense will attack them?

JP:"When anybody is banged up, it doesn't matter if it's the offensive line or a running back situation or any situation that's banged up, you want to come after that. So we're going to try to look for advantages against the offensive line if we see some. But that's not going to change the way we attack the Ravens' offense."

What is the difference in Miami between this year and last year?

JP:"We have a whole new team. Last year was last year. This year is this year. We have 25 different players on the team. We have a whole new front office, whole new everything. It's a whole new culture around here. It's just a different team. You can't even compare the two."

Do you lick your chops at the thought of trying to rattle a rookie quarterback?

JP:"Hopefully we just go out there and throw some things at him that we watched Pittsburgh do to make him want to hold the ball and just try to get after him. Our biggest thing is that we know they're a good team that wants to run the ball, and we don't want them to come into our house and think they can run the ball. So we want to take away the run and put all the pressure on the young quarterback."

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