Exclusive T. Sparano Column: All Our Goals Are Still Sitting
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Q. You are obviously a very passionate and caring man. How difficult was it to make this change at quarterback?
TS: It was really difficult. Having to weigh all the factors with where our team is right now was tough. We didn’t sign up for this deal to come in fifth place or eighth place or 12th place. We signed up to try and come in first place, so it’s my job to do everything I can, everything that is necessary, for us to come in first place.
I understand that the quarterback is weighed differently than when you change a cornerback or a defensive tackle. But at the end of the day, it really is similar. Those are the decisions that have to be made. It was even more difficult because the kid (Chad Henne) is a wonderful guy and a really competitive guy. I really do believe this player is getting better and has a bright future.
Q. Now that the decision has been made, what are the things you expect to see from Chad Pennington?
TS: I expect to see Chad’s leadership and awareness to the situations that occur during the course of the game. From a physical standpoint, he obviously hasn’t been getting the number of reps that Chad Henne has been getting at practice up until this week. I expect him to make a quick improvement and I feel like he’s experienced enough to get a feel for the game in a hurry.
Q. What has practice been like this week with Pennington taking the snaps?
TS: It’s been a good week. On Wednesday the guys came out and were really focused. As good as Wednesday was, it was even better on Thursday. It’s easy to see that the players have a lot of respect for Chad Pennington.
Q. You were obviously very disappointed in your team’s performance at Baltimore. How did you handle that in the days following that game?
TS: Day one following the game my job was to tell the players everything that I saw, which is what I did. I clearly spelled out some of the areas where the team needs to improve and that we weren’t good enough in. I also had to move forward. I wanted my players to understand that we’re all kind of in a pile now in the AFC. It’s a little bit different than in the NFC right now. In the AFC, we have 6-2 teams and 5-3 teams and 4-4 teams and they all have to play each other at some point. We are smack in the middle of it. I wanted them to be aware that all our goals are still sitting here.
I actually told the players a story about the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, who were 5-4 after nine games and won the Super Bowl.