With Dolphins coach Tony Sparano, every minute counts. And every snap, too.
"If he thinks it's important, he's going to be on top of it. Period," offensive coordinator Dan Henning said.
"The amazing thing is there are many, many things he thinks are important."
Attention to detail? When Sparano sought to improve the coverage units, he revised the practice schedule to extend special-teams work from eight minutes to 12.
It wasn't a casual decision.
"Everyone in this league is up against it getting their team ready to go," he said.
"The use of four minutes and how we use it, the use of two minutes and how we use it ... I'm a stickler for that."
Newly signed safety Gibril Wilson has seen the value of that approach. He won a Super Bowl in 2007 under New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin, a veritable drill sergeant. Wilson won only five games last season with the aimless Oakland Raiders.
"The Raiders, that's why they're where they're at and the Miami Dolphins are where we're at," Wilson said.
"It's huge going from a place that's structured to a place that's not and coming back to a place that's structured."
To maintain that structure, Sparano keeps an ever-growing pile of information in the one place he knows it will be safe - his head.
After a recent media briefing, Sparano didn't hesitate when asked if he knew what his team would be doing at 9:28 a.m. three days later, when Miami would be preparing for its exhibition opener against Jacksonville on Monday at Land Shark Stadium.
"I absolutely know," he said, without referring to any notes.
"We'll be in Team Run (rushing formations), we'll have 12 plays on cards vs. Jacksonville."
A savant-like ability to recall the number of snaps - or
"reps" - of each of his players is another example of Sparano's single-mindedness.
"He watches that game film four or five times a night," guard Justin Smiley said.
"This is his life."
That is how Sparano was able to recall recently that backup safety Tyrone Culver had a team-high 329 scrimmage snaps. And that fullback Matt Quillen, who quit the team last weekend, received 27 snaps in the team's first scrimmage.
These numbers aren't trivial to Sparano.
Even though rookie free agents such as Quillen are long shots, Sparano wants to be able to make fact-based decisions when he and his staff compile their 53-man roster and eight-player practice squad.
"I don't want to be in that room and making an evaluation on somebody and feel like I don't have enough evidence, and evidence in different situations," Sparano said.
Sparano maps out every minute of every practice. His goal is to create specific matchups, run plays out of certain formations and get players a precise amount of action.
This way, Sparano knows exactly what to look for each day.
When guard Donald Thomas returned from injury recently, Sparano didn't want to miss one snap he played.
"This kid is going to have 24 reps, so I need to have my eye on him for all 24 reps," Sparano said.
The coach leans on his assistants, too. Among other things, he receives a daily snap count from each coach every night. Unlike some head coaches willing to delegate responsibilities, everything goes through Sparano.
"I don't care what it is - personnel, practice, offense, defense, special teams, reps, the state of the field, what's going on in the weight room," Henning said.
"He is fastidious. He is relentless. It amazes me some times."
This is no small compliment coming from Henning, who is entering his 30th NFL season and has coached with Don Shula, Joe Gibbs, Marv Levy and Bill Parcells, who have a combined 17 Super Bowl appearances and seven wins.
Henning said Shula, who won back-to-back Super Bowls with the Dolphins, had a hands-on style like Sparano. His coach on the field, quarterback Chad Pennington, said he appreciates the devotion to detail.
"There is going to be a rhyme or reason for everything," Pennington said.
"Sometimes a player, you might not understand it right at the moment, but I put my trust in him and I know and believe that he is going to get us where we need to go as a team."
Still, Sparano knows he's not for everybody.
When Quillen became the fourth player in a week to quit, Sparano quipped,
"It might be me."
But even a free spirit like running back Ricky Williams has grown to appreciate the Sparano way.
"His message for better or for worse, usually for better, gets hammered into us because we hear it on a daily, daily basis," Williams said.
"We have a very high standard here and it pushes us to do better."