NFL Post: Tony Sparano praises Randy Starks
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Tony Sparano praises Randy Starks
by Aaron Wilson
Randy Starks recorded a career-high seven sacks and 56 last season for the Miami Dolphins, starting every contest.
Now, the Dolphins are shifting him from defensive end to nose guard.
It's a meatgrinder position in the 3--4 defense, but the Dolphins feel like Starks is well-suited to play inside at 6-foot-3, 305 pounds.
They'll need him to hold up as a stout defender at the point of attack, especially with veteran nose guard Jason Ferguson suspended for the first half of the season for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy.
As the Dolphins concluded a weekend minicamp today, Starks drew a lot of praise from coach Tony Sparano.
“A lot that Randy has done in there is nose tackle and we were talking about it the other night as a staff," Sparano said in remarks distributed by the team. "II said this before, he’s a hard guy to block and especially when the game is going sideline to sideline a little bit, he’s a tough guy to block, tough for the guards on the back side to get a hold of, those type of people. It’s not only his speed but it’s his strength. You know, he can pull through gaps, do those types of things and hold the point.
"So, I’ve been impressed with what he’s done out here in holding the point of attack with no pads on, so, I’ve already seen this guy when he puts pads on, so, I don’t really worry about that, so, I’ve been impressed that way. The blocking scheme recognition inside is something that is still a little bit of a work in progress, but he’s gotten so much better in the short time that we’ve been out here at feeling those things, it’s starting to become kind of old hat for him to get.”
A lot of times players are resistant to moving inside, especially if they're somewhat undersized.
According to Sparano, Starks, who previously played for the Tennessee Titans and the University of Maryland, has embraced the change.
"No, you know what, it’s interesting because, I just kind of known that Randy had obviously come off a really good season playing defensive end," Sparano said. "But I knew that this guy was really a team guy and I really think that when he understands when you sit down and you talk to him about how valuable that piece is in there, and how much value he can bring to the team that way. But, it was really a great quick conversation, I mean, he just, honestly said to me “Coach, I am all for it. I’ll do whatever you want me to do."