Dolphins: Garrard Ready To Challenge

Dolphins news and notes, including; QB David Garrard's eagerness to compete,DB Yeremiah Bell's free agency interest and a former Jets LB looking to play against his old team.

Garrard looks forward to competing
The Sports Xchange

   New Miami Dolphins quarterback David Garrard might be 34, which is ancient in NFL years, but he literally dares anyone to call him old, or say he's done.

   Despite sitting out last season because of a surgically repaired herniated disk, the former Jacksonville Jaguars starter Miami signed to an incentive-laden one-year deal that will pay him $3.35 million, feels he's got plenty of football left in him.

   "I think I've proved a lot of things as a starting quarterback, but I just want to go further than I've gone before. I want to go deeper in the playoffs. Get a taste, a shot at winning a championship," said Garrard, who has thrown for more than 16,000 yards with 89 touchdowns and 54 interceptions.

   "Those are things I want to prove to myself," said Garrard, who has a 85.8 passer rating for his career. "I want to make sure that when my career is done that I poured everything I had into it. That was one thing I was thinking about all season last year when I was sitting home on the couch, not knowing if I'll get a chance to play again that I really didn't empty my tank."

   Garrard believes he has a few more seasons left in him, and hopes he can return to the Pro Bowl level he played at in 2009.

   The Dolphins' plan is for Garrard to compete with Matt Moore for the starting job next season, "as would any other quarterbacks we might add at a later date," general manager Jeff Ireland said, possibly referring to a rookie quarterback like Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill, Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden or Michigan State's Kirk Cousins, who are all players the Dolphins might select in the 2012 draft's first few rounds.

   "I've kind of been chasing him since Chad (Henne) got hurt last year. He does a lot of good things that you want in a quarterback." Ireland said of Garrard, who received a $1 million signing bonus and has bonuses tied to playing time, touchdowns scored, and the win totals. "He's athletic, he has arm talent, he's got veteran experience, and he brings great leadership."

   Garrard said he believes the west coast offense the Dolphins plan to install fits his skill set because he's the type of quarterback who likes to get the ball out of his hands quickly. He's also fairly accurate, which is evident from his 61.6 career completion percentage.

   According to Garrard, he was part of an offense similar to the one new head coach Joe Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman plan to build during his early days with the Jaguars.

   Even though Garrard is presently the highest paid quarterback on the roster, edging out Moore's Moore $2.75 million salary, he's not looking for any handouts. All he seeks is a shot to prove he can still win games for an NFL team.

   "They said it is going to be a competition," Garrard said. "A healthy competition is great for everybody."

Bell Drawing Interest
  --Recently released Miami Dolphins safety Yeremiah Bell has drawn interest on the free-agent market, but Drew Rosenhaus, his agent, acknowledged there's a chance Bell could return to his former team.

   Rosenhaus expressed disappointment in the timing of Bell's release, but said "(He will) will land on his feet."

   "There is interest, and maybe there's a chance he'll come back to the Dolphins," Rosenhaus said in an interview with WQAM Radio. "I certainly will not get into the way that I feel. Let us just move on."

   Rosenhaus began his interview by saying he does "a lot of business with the Dolphins," and will follow the "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" approach when addressing Ireland's handling of Bell.

   Ireland acknowledged he informed Bell and Rosenhaus that they were safe - wouldn't be released, and didn't need to restructure his deal - back at the NFL Combine last month. However, the Dolphins released Bell a week into free agency, after all the teams looking for starting safeties had signed one.

   While the move can be viewed as smart strategy, there are ethical concerns about the way Bell, a team captain, was treated by Ireland and the organization.

   Numerous players on the team were disturbed by the message the organization sent.

   "I certainly think he's one of the top strong safeties in the game and I do believe he will land on his feet and continue to be a fine player," Rosenhaus said of Bell, who has led the Dolphins in tackles for four straight seasons. "He has a lot of good football left in him."

   The Dolphins haven't closed the door on re-signing Bell, but it will have to be at a reduced rate. Miami created $4.3 million in salary-cap space by releasing Bell. It's possible that Reshad Jones could move over from free safety and fill the void Bell's departure creates.

Westermann Moving Across Rival Lines
  --Jamaal Westerman, a 6-3, 255-pound defensive end the Dolphins signed in free agency, crossed the rivalry lines by leaving the New York Jets.

   "It's kind of crazy seeing the rivalry from both sides," Westerman said. "A lot of you don't get to see it."

   Westerman, 27, played 36 games with three starts - all last season. He compiled 32 tackles, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble during his three seasons.

   It's uncertain what position he'll play, but the Dolphins envision using him as a "pressure player," and it is likely that he'll compete for the starting spot opposite Cameron Wake. He joins Wake, Koa Misi and Jason Trusnik as the only veteran outside linebackers on the Dolphins roster.

   "They told me my role would be defensive end, outside linebacker and my ability to play a lot of different spots on the defense to move around a little bit and show my versatility and my athleticism," Westerman said. "I'm going to try to work with coach Coyle and the D-line coach (Kacy Rodgers) and really getting after it this year."

   QUOTE TO NOTE: "I get criticized if my moves don't work out, but I'm not willing to sit on the sidelines and let some other opportunities pass us by. Sometimes that entails taking chances, going out on a limb. That's why we went after Peyton (Manning)." -- Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland told the Palm Beach Post.

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