Dolphins' Harrington Becoming Game Manager

It used to be that quarterback Joey Harrington was known for throwing unnecessary interceptions, but the Dolphins' new quarterback is learning to manage the game with better talent now surrounding him.

Dolphins coach Nick Saban brought Daunte Culpepper to South Florida to win games with his spectacular athleticism and throwing arm.

Unfortunately for Saban, Culpepper's surgically repaired knee didn't allow him to do either through the first four games of the season, so in came insurance policy Joey Harrington.

Harrington has been asked merely to manage the game efficiently and, finally, after playing like he did in four losing seasons in Detroit, with seven interceptions in his first three starts — all losses — Joey Blue Skies is bringing smiles to the faces of Saban and Dolfans everywhere.

He has efficiently directed two straight victories over teams that were coming in on a combined 10-game winning streak (Bears and Chiefs).

And on Sunday, Harrington finally refrained from throwing one of his trademark no-reason interceptions as he completed 19 of 35 for 201 yards while adroitly dodging pressure. He even had a rare seven-yard scramble for a first down.

Harrington has figured out that by allowing the league's second-ranked defense to make play after play while he basically stays out of the way adds up to a winning formula.

"I feel more comfortable mostly about what I have to do to fit into this team. I know that I don't have to make plays on my own," Harrington said. "I'm learning that I don't have to be the guy to create offense. I don't have to create points. I don't have to pull them out of thin air.

"With a team that has this much talent and a team that has a defense that is playing so well — if you put the team in a position to be successful they're going to give it right back to you."

To his credit, Harrington did throw three touchdown passes against the Bears after his defense handed him the ball on Chicago's six, 12 and 24-yard lines.

"As he gets more knowledge and experience in what we're doing and what's expected of him we can minimize some of the bad plays," Saban said. "That's the difference. If we could continue to do that I think we're going to enhance our chances to being successful."

NOTES

  • K Olindo Mare made two field goals to become the 39th player in NFL history to reach 1,000 points. However, Mare missed a 50-yarder and is now just one of six from 50 or deeper. "I think he's hitting the ball well," said coach Nick Saban. "I think we have to do the little things right and all those things, whether it's timing, catch-hold and all those things."

  • TE Randy McMichael had five catches for 34 yards to become the Dolphins' all-time leader in receptions for tight ends with 258, or two more than Bruce Hardy. "It's very humbling," McMichael said. "It's something you can't take away; you can't put an asterisk by that. My name is at the top of it."

  • LG Jeno James tore cartilage in his right knee in the first quarter and will be out for at least two weeks.

  • RB Ronnie Brown tweaked his groin on the opening series but still managed to gain 89 yards on 25 carries. He will most likely practice on a limited basis this week.

  • WR Wes Welker had three catches for 46 yards, giving him a career-high 453 reception yards, surpassing last year's mark of 434.

  • LB Zach Thomas got his first sack of the season, giving him 16.5 sacks for his career.

  • SS Yeremiah Bell, who was promoted to starter last week, led the team with nine tackles and three passes defensed. He has 14 tackles, five passes defensed and a forced fumble in his two career starts.


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