AFC East: Bobby Jackson

Rex Ryan goes to Gibbs, Moore for advice

May, 27, 2011
New York Jets coach Rex Ryan has spent part of the lockout flipping through his Rolodex in search of advice on how to improve his team.

Ryan has met with coaches he respects, including former Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore and former Miami Dolphins running backs coach Bobby Jackson about ways to improve production.

Ryan also has reached out to Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs for tips on dealing with labor troubles.

"When they went through some work stoppages, the last two times the Washington Redskins won two Super Bowls," Ryan said on "So I figured that would be a good guy to call."

Gibbs led the Redskins to Super Bowl titles after the 1982 and 1987 player strikes.

"He said 'Take this time to get better. Take time to gain an advantage on your opponents and whatever you think that is,' " Ryan said. "He gave me some ideas and I followed them to a T."

Ryan made the comments Wednesday at a business event in Manhattan.

He also said one of the Jets' priorities is to improve their red-zone offense.

"For a top team, it doesn't add up," Ryan said. "We do everything else well except when we get in the red zone. We absolutely struggled in the red zone. We are going to change our practice schedule. We are going to practice more red zone, and we are going to practice two-minute."

That's where Moore's input has been significant.

"Over the last six-year period, the Indianapolis Colts have been by far and away the most efficient offense in the red zone," Ryan said. "And this man has been the coach. It was interesting picking his brain. He's really helping us."

Unlike Cameron, Sparano won't beat around bush

October, 18, 2008
Posted by's Tim Graham

DAVIE, Fla. -- You're about to read Exhibit H why Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano is a better communicator than his predecessor, Cam Cameron.

  Vladimir Cherry/US Presswire
 Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano doesn't fail to communicate.

Cameron was fired after a 1-15 season, his first year as an NFL head coach. Now the Baltimore Ravens' offensive coordinator, Cameron will make his first return to Dolphin Stadium on Sunday.

On Friday, I was able to ask Sparano how he and his staff call their plays during a game. The questions came toward the end of his daily news conference, just something to discuss in an attempt to learn how he, offensive coordinator Dan Henning and quarterbacks coach David Lee interact.

I asked Sparano two questions, and he gave two insightful answers. They were two of the longer responses I've heard from him on any subject. I got the impression he would have chatted longer if he had the time.

Partway through Sparano's second response, I had a flashback.

One of the storylines during Cameron's tenure developed in early December. Cameron also handled offensive coordinator's role, but I found out he'd handed over the play-calling duties to tight ends coach Mike Mularkey.

Quarterback Cleo Lemon confirmed the tip to my Palm Beach Post colleague, Edgar Thompson, and revealed the process. Mularkey usually called the play from the press box. Cameron had veto power. The call was radioed to injured quarterback Trent Green on the sideline. Green sent the call into the huddle to rookie John Beck.

Cameron was asked about it. And asked about it. And asked about it.

Here is how Miami Herald reporter Jeff Darlington described the news conference:

[Cameron's] explanations during a 13-minute news conference about the process -- including how plays are called and who calls them -- were often vague and generalized as he answered 17 questions about a procedure that typically requires little justification or clarification.

"It's a collective effort," Cameron said when initially asked about Mularkey's new responsibilities. "I can't, at any time in my coaching career, remember where I called every play."

But three minutes later, during another response on the topic, Cameron said, "There is not a magic play-caller here other than me. I'm the guy that calls the plays and is accountable to the plays that are called."

I keep all of the team's transcripts on file. So I pulled this Cameron quote from the same news conference. He was asked how a play call originates:

"It varies. It's not done the same way every time. Like I said, it could come from [offensive line coach] Hudson Houck. It could come from [running backs coach] Bobby Jackson. It could come from a variety of people."

Cameron was maddening to deal with on several subjects. For instance, tired of hearing him avoid questions about Bill Parcells being hired late last season as executive vice president of football operations, refusing to even utter Parcells' name, I couldn't help but ask Cameron if he was in denial about what was coming.

With that in mind, here are two questions and two educational answers from the straight-talking Sparano:

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