Sparano praises beleaguered Bills LT Peters

December, 5, 2008
12/05/08
8:39
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

Last year, Buffalo Bills fans loved Jason Peters, the undrafted tight end who developed into a Pro Bowl left tackle.

But when Peters decided to boycott all voluntary workouts, minicamp, training camp and all four preseason games, fans were furious. He ended his holdout just before the season opener, and fans embraced him all over again.

All was forgiven -- until everybody realized the offensive line wasn't as good as advertised and feelings toward Peters settled into a general disdain.

Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano, however, clearly is impressed by recent film of Peters while preparing for Sunday's game against the Bills in Toronto.

Sparano, an offensive line coach from way back, noted at Friday's news coneference how much more Peters stands out compared to Oct. 26, when the Dolphins beat the Bills 25-16.

"Jason Peters, he is definitely playing better right now. A lot better. He's finishing blocks at the second level. He's controlling the line of scrimmage. He's making a different line of scrimmage, doing all those things. I think he's playing an awful lot better right now than he has been. He's giving [Bills running back Marshawn Lynch] some space, but Marshawn doesn't need a lot of space. He's making some big runs off of very little space right now.

Don't get me wrong, [Peters] played pretty well against us the last time. There was a stat about him giving up several sacks or whatever before the last ballgame. Coaching the offensive line, I kind of think some of that is garbage in some situations, to be honest with you. To the naked eye, you really don't know who's giving up [the sack]. You kind of look and say, "It's the tackle. It's the offensive line." It could be the tight end. It could be the back. It could be the quarterback. We're not sure who really gives up these things.

What I do know is that right now the guy is playing at a high, high level. When you watch him, he's downfield. He's the first guy downfield making extra blocks down there, controlling the line of scrimmage, does a good job with his hands. I've seen him work really hard right now. It looks like he's worked really hard on his short-set and getting people right away. Then he's so athletic, and he really is a physical guy. He muscles it up pretty good."

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