New Dolphins quarterback David Garrard will have the opportunity to vie for the Dolphins’ starting quarterback spot this offseason. The former Pro Bowler recently joined The Finsiders to talk about battling back from injury and what his transition to Miami has been like.
On making the transition from North Florida to South Florida:
“Just staying in the state of Florida is great for my family, I know, and it’s great for me too because this team, I’ve always looked at them as a good organization, an organization that has had a lot of tradition and I know they’re trying to get back to that.”
On his health:
“I feel great, I really do. Last year was a tough year for me, being released but then also being released and not 100 percent healthy to get back on with another team and then having to go through surgery it was just tough. There was a point there where I didn’t know if I would ever get back to being healthy enough to play football again and finally around Christmas things just kind of started making a turn for the better and right after New Year’s I started feeling great again and started working out and really I’m only just a couple months into really being able to run so up to this point I feel great”
On competing with Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore as a veteran QB:
“There’s nothing wrong with healthy competition, and I’m always going to do my best to make sure all my teammates- receivers, tight ends- everybody, even quarterbacks are up to date and have the knowledge of what going on because if the starter goes down the next person has to step up and they have to step up for the team. You always got to make sure the guys are ready in that position, but I also think if I have the knowledge to play this game than that should be enough for me and even if I impart knowledge on another player and if that makes him great and he just blows up and is way better than me then the proof is in the pudding. There’s nothing you can do about that but to just go out and keep working your butt off to be the starter and if he’s just that much better and you fall in the backup role, if that’s clear, then that’s just the case. I’m never going to shy away from trying to help somebody else out. I don’t want to help them out enough to make them steal my job but like I said, that’s just competition. I’m never going to just hold somebody back and not give them the knowledge that I have for them to be held back because I want the team to be better and sometimes that means being a bigger man and saying ‘you know what, this kid is better than me,’ or ‘I still have the power, I still have the juice, and I can go out there and play myself.’ I’m never going to shy away from competition or helping somebody else out.
“If this was four or five years ago, I’m just trying to fight to stay in the game myself. I don’t have time to be giving somebody else wisdom. I’m trying to get wisdom myself, but like I said, I’m still going to be a great teammate regardless. I think some of that is being lost in today’s sports. I’m just going to be one of those guys you can always count on if you need some help.”
On the Dolphins’ offense:
“All the plays I’ve seen plenty of times, they just call it something different, but it is remarkable how fast myself, that I’m picking it up. I remember early in my career when we changed coordinators I was like ‘wow, this is going to take forever to pick up,” but I just I’ve been around a few different coordinators now. I’m kind of picking up everybody’s little different things. Really, once you just figure out this name goes with this play, it’s pretty easy.”
On feeling rejuvenated after returning from an injury:
“It’s funny, I started getting that fire halfway through the season last year. I started watching offenses go down the field and I saw some that would sputter, some that would struggle and then I just saw some that would take off and I was trying to figure out what were the differences in these two offenses and their productivity and with the offenses that were just going up and down the field, it really wasn’t just big plays all over the place, it was completions here, a three or four yard run here, completions on third down- that was the biggest thing. The completions on third downs, those completions on first and second downs, even when you’re just checking it down to the back, that just keeps your drive moving and when you have those second-and-long and now you’re into third and extra long because of a sack or something it just makes it tough. I realized that a lot last year because I was thinking ‘man, when I get back out there, I see the things now because I’ve had this time to just kind of digest the different games, different offenses moving up and down the field and the ones that were kind of stagnant at times.’”
On the Dolphins’ west coast style offense:
“A lot of it is the play action that the keepers, the boots, the necks, that kind of thing- a lot of stuff that the Texans do and they’re very successful with their offense and a lot of it is their boots and keepers, but you have to be able to run the ball. With this offense you have to be able to run the ball so that you can set up the play action and take that shot down the field. It’s not just all quick game. You have to be able to do that. You have to stay ahead of down and distances. So if you can just stay ahead- third and medium, third and short- those kind of things, then you give your offense a great chance to go down and score.”
On the pace of practice:
“Well usually in my years past, you’d might have one period where you called organized chaos, where when I first got here, it seemed like all the way through practice, it was run here, run there, tempo, tempo, get this ball snapped over here. People were flying everywhere. Now that we kind of have an understanding of what they want, we’re still not going as fast as what they want us to and I’m thinking ‘man, when we’re actually going tot heir tempo and their speed it must just be faster than a two minute drill because it seems like we’re just rolling and rolling. Like you said, I’ve never been in this kind of system where it’s that kind of tempo, but it’s going to give a lot of defenses a lot of problems because they’re never going to be able to look to the sideline and get their signals in. We’re going to be snapping that ball at 33 seconds every time. It’s going to be non-stop, and defenses will be tired because they won’t even get to put their hand on the ground. You’ll see a lot of D-lineman just standing up, just trying to do the best that they can.”
On rookie QB Ryan Tannehill:
“He seems to be a great kid. It’s the first time I’ve been in a room with a rookie quarterback that actually has more knowledge of the offense than all the other quarterbacks in the room. It’s still tough for him because he’s still got to come into the NFL where the pace of practices, the pace of the different players on defense, all the different defenses that are going to be thrown at him- much tighter coverage than college. It’s funny, we watched some of their plays and I’m like ‘I love how everyone is just so wide open!” They’re playing 12-yard cushions off the receivers- it’s awesome. There’s a lot of things that he still has to continue to learn, but the group of guys that we have in our room will make sure that everyone is on time with everything and up to date with everything. Like I said, he seems to be a great kid so that’s going to be fun for everybody to work with him and work with each other. He might be giving us a little bit more knowledge with things too.
The speed of the defense and the tighter coverage, that’s what he needs to get used to and it takes a lot of time.”
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