Harrington Q&A

New Dolphins quarterback Joey Harrington addressed the South Florida media on Thursday for the first time since the trade that brought him over from the Detroit Lions. Here's what Harrington had to say.

Q. What appealed to you about Miami?

A. "First of all, I liked the coaching staff. More than anything, I wanted to come to a place that was going to be honest with me, that was going to be up front, look me in the eye and tell me where I stood. And that's what you get from Coach Saban and everybody on the staff. I respect that and I appreciate it. Obviously, nobody knows what Daunte's situation is. It's not like I had people beating down my door to come and be the starter. But I did have chances here, Cincinnati, Cleveland, to come in and either compete for a starting spot or take some snaps while somebody was injured. And I just liked the coaching staff, I liked everything I've heard about the team, I liked the direction the team was going. I'm in a situation where I need to be prepared to play if I need to, but I also need to be prepared to be there for the team if Daunte is healthy and ready to go. It's just a chance to come in and be a part of a great organization."

Q. What went wrong in Detroit?

A. "How much time you got? One thing ... how much time you got?"

Q. Was it bad from the beginning?

A. "I really believe that in order to change results you have to change your attitude. It's funny, I was criticized when I came in because I was too positive, I was too upbeat, I was too optimistic. That always really confused me — why would you criticize somebody for trying to change the way that things have been. In my time there I don't think the attitude ever changed. I really do think that Coach Marinelli is going to be great for that team, I really do. He's a very tough, hard-nosed kind of guy and he's somebody who's going to change those attitudes that need to be changed. I wish them nothing but the best."

Q. Did you have any issues with the way Matt Millen handled the whole situation?

A. "No, Matt and I have always had a great relationship. He was honest with me through the whole process. He said he was trying to get something of value for me. He knew that come June I would be free to go, but in the meantime he was going to try and get the most value for me that he could. And while I wanted obviously to get here as soon as I possibly could and get started and start learning the offense, I understood where he was coming from in taking his time. I wasn't necessarily happy about it, but that's how the league works. I'm here now, and I'm ready to take advantage of any opportunity."

Q. Was part of the appeal of the Dolphins the fact they don't have a dink-and-dunk offense but rather throw the ball downfield?

A. "Offensively the attraction for me was they give the quarterback answers. We go over in meetings, if this happens, then you go here; if this happens, then you go here, as opposed to situations in the past where if it gets kind of cloudy then you might want to think about throwing it here and letting him make the yards for the first down. As a quarterback, I've always played better in systems and situations where they give you answers. And that's what I like, they'll give you answers."

Q. How do you know, you just started here?

A. "I can see it from the meeting, the way they prepare, the way they cover the bases. Coach (Jason) Garrett is very thorough in the meetings. There's no stone left unturned and every time I have a question for him he has an answer for me. And if he doesn't, he goes and gets it and comes back, so we can solidify it, as opposed to leaving it up to chance."

Q. If Culpepper is healthy, will be content with a backup role?

A. "Am I going to be content? I don't think any player is content when they're not on the field. But I've been in this situation before. I was in this situation with Jeff last year where I was forced to be a backup and be ready anytime. Our season last year showed that as a second quarterback on the team you have to be prepared, you have to be ready to get in and play, and play at any moment during the season. Of course, I want to be out there on the field as a competitor, but as a teammate I'm going to do everything I can to be ready for this team. And that means sitting for a season or two, then I'm prepared to do that."

Q. Can you put into words what the trade being made means to you?

A. "A huge relief. It's a huge ... I don't want to say a burden off my shoulders, but it's a rest to the uncertainty. The last four months have been very up in the air for me. My future has been resting in the balance of a couple of general managers trying to work a trade. It's nice to have things ironed out, it's nice to have a place where I can go get a driver's license and register to vote and find a place to live. That's the biggest relief for me is now I have something that's solid."

Q. Is your confidence shaken at all after what happened in Detroit?

A. "No, why would it be? Why would my confidence be shaken?"

Q. Your confidence is not shaken at all?

A. "No, it's a learning experience. I learned what kind of people and what kind of players I want to surround myself with. I learned how I want to attack certain situations. I've learned what to do when things don't always go well because, you know what, in college and in high school ... in college, I lost three games when we were there. We didn't have a whole lot of adverse situations and I've learned how to handle those because, you know what, especially in this league those are going to happen. It's such a long season, you're going to have bumps, you're going to stumble along the way and I've learned how to deal with those situations. So I think I'm a better player for it."

Whose idea -- yours, your agent -- was it to publicly announce you wanted to play in Miami?

A. "It was all of our idea; this is where I wanted to be. This is where I felt comfortable, I felt like the coaches had confidence in me. I felt like it was a team that I wanted to be a part of. And in my situation, I was lucky enough to be able to dictate in some sense where I'd be able to go and I thought it would be a good time to say that."

Q. How much is your head swimming right now on the field?

A. "A bit. Quite a bit. I don't want to say it's uncomfortable, but it really is because I've picked up and moved from a place that I was comfortable and I was settled, had a house, it's now on the market, I knew where the grocery store was, I knew where the DMV is. I gotta get a new license, everything is just going in circles right now, and on top of that I've got to go play football, go do my job and learn a completely new offense. There are a lot of things going on right now that are making it a little confusing. But as far as football goes, I'm feeling good, I feel like I'm throwing it well."

Q. What would you like to improve on most?

A. "I don't know. It's a different situation for me. I'm learning everything new again. It is honestly a complete fresh slate, and I love it. My drop, they're coaching differently, which I love. I'm getting back to the things I used to do. All the things that they changed in Detroit, we're changing again. But we're changing it back to things that I was really comfortable with. And so, to say there are certain things I want to work on, there's a lot of things I want to work on right now, first of all learning the offense. I don't know how else to answer that question, sorry."


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