NEW YORK -- For the first time since the Jets hired Tony Sparano, players have been able to study the new offensive coordinator's playbook and meet with him about the new offense. And after the first week of the offseason program, at least two offensive players -- fullback John Conner and receiver Patrick Turner -- have liked what they've seen.
Conner said the players have been meeting with Sparano every day after workouts at the facility. They have started to install his new system.
"Tony is a no-nonsense kind of guy, straightforward, which is great," Conner said today in Brooklyn, where he and Turner were present to support the Public Schools Athletic League girls varsity flag football tournament. "I think heís great for the team, great for the offense. Guys seem to be responding to him really well. I think heíll be a great addition to the team."
Turner played one season under Sparano with the Dolphins in 2009, when Sparano was Miami's head coach. He called Sparano a "good coach" and said he's "putting the pieces of the puzzle together" to build a physical offense that takes advantage of the weapons on the roster.
One of those weapons, of course, is new addition Tim Tebow, the back-up quarterback who will also run a package of Wildcat-type plays, and could be used at other positions like running back, fullback and H-back as well.
"Coach Sparano did a great job of running the Wildcat in Miami, and having a player like Tim Tebow, who is a threat on the ground as well as throwing the ball, it fits this scheme and that package," Turner said. "To have that wrinkle each week is an added advantage for us. Thatís why the decision was made, and we feel like heís a really good football player. We want guys who are good football players on our team, and we feel like heís a good teammate as well. We look forward to it."
Turner indicated that Sparano will use the Wildcat and direct-snap package in some different ways than in Miami. The Dolphins' Wildcat offense was driven by running backs, and the Jets' will be run by Tebow.
"With different guys, you have to use them differently," Turner said.
Conner called Tebow a "great addition" and said it was a "great decision" to bring him in. He didn't elaborate much on how or if Tebow possibly being used as a fullback would affect him, saying only, "anything to help the team." But Conner knows the team will get back to its ground-and-pound roots under Sparano, which he is excited about.
"We are a team thatís built for that," he said. "I think bringing Sparano in will be great for us, help us get back to our swag, and just help us get out there and do what we do best."
Turner's familiarity with Sparano should help him absorb the new offense. He also said that he gave quarterback Mark Sanchez some pointers on things like route depths after Sparano was hired to replace Brian Schottenheimer.
Turner, who was Sanchez's college teammate at USC, trained with Sanchez in California this offseason and also was at the workouts in Orlando, Fla., arranged by Sanchez and Santonio Holmes earlier this month. He has seen firsthand Sanchez's work ethic since last year's disappointing 8-8 season ended.
"He's been praised, heís been criticized, and everything around that," Turner said. "But I feel like this offseason, heís really worked hard to try to achieve the goals he has set for himself. And I feel like it will pay off, as well as every other guy in this offseason program. ... Guys are there early, late, and we feel like that's really going to pay off for us. Once you have that, and everybody working as one, and guys playing for each other, and traveling to work for each other, sacrificing, thatís when itís special, and guys play for each other."
Turner also doesn't think the addition of Tebow will throw off Sanchez this year.
"There's always quarterbacks in the room," Turner said. "And Tebow, he has a lot of attention that he's gained due to his play. He's been successful, and he's done a good job. I really donít think itís a huge factor in the psyche (of Sanchez). (Tebow) is an additional teammate. Ö I wouldnít really have much to say to how it affects his psyche, I think heís just going to play ball like he always does."
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Conner and Turner visited with the more than 20 New York City PSAL girls flag football teams competing in today's tournament. The Jets have donated more than $50,000 to support the new varsity flag football league, which debuted this spring.
Can anyone out here please explain why there are not any significant articles interviewing coach SPARANO and what he plans on doing!!!!!!
...because that doesn't rile up the angst and drama the way that demanding a qb controversy or dreaming up a new impasse between team and #1 corner would. Our pals in the media don't have much interest in stuff that's actually going to happen on the field this year, they're much too busy dreaming up the next soap opera narrative, and how to get the facts to align with it.