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Monday, April 10, 2006

The Culpepper interview

You know that newspapers have space limititations they must deal with and The Miami Herald is no different in that respect. That's why sometimes quotes get shortened, mostly by editors (yes, I dislike that) and sometimes I can't deliver all the news I have.

Well, there's no space crunch on this blog and so I'm going to stretch out and fill the space. For that reason, I can bring you complete interviews that would never make print in the paper.

What follows is the first of those many interviews. Here is the ENTIRE interview Daunte Culpepper did with the media today:

(On how his rehab is going) – “It’s going good. I am getting a little bit better everyday just working hard. Right now I’m really on the grind. Things are looking good though. The knee is getting better everyday.”

(On what types of exercises he is doing) ­– “Right now I’m doing mostly running straight ahead, not a lot of cutting, and just mainly strengthening exercises – squats, leg extensions, leg curls, things like that. Doing many exercises on the field as well to get the strengthening in my legs.”

(On if he expects to be under center on opening day) – “Well, me personally, that’s my goal, but there really is no timeline on when I am going to be 100 percent or ready to play. Me personally, that’s my personal goal, but I still have a good picture of the whole thing and I’m real good with reality and I know that an injury like this, it’s tough to come back from that quick. That’s my goal right now and I am going to continue to work that way.”

(On how many preseason games he thinks he needs to play in order to be ready for the regular season) – “I would love to be in every preseason game if possible. I’ve never really been hurt. I’ve never been in that situation. Normally I have always played in every preseason game, but with an injury like this, we are going to be smart about it.”

(On if he will be able to develop chemistry with teammates if he doesn’t play in the preseason) – “I am really not concerned. I want to be ready for the preseason. If not, I am going to get a lot of work with the guys before the preseason even starts. As far as open field competition, it might be a little different, but I am going to get a lot of work between now and when that time comes.”

(On if he expects to have the same mobility as before his injury) – “Dr. (James) Andrews did my surgery. He said to me jokingly, and also seriously, that if he had done the surgery 100 times, he didn’t think he could have done it any better. That’s all I really needed to here. I am going to go at this thing full force. I am going to play the way I have always played with the same tenacity and the same eagerness to make plays and get it done either way, running or throwing. Whatever it takes.”

(On Kelly Campbell) – “Kelly Campbell is an extremely fast player. He makes a lot of big plays. He’s very enthusiastic and just loves the game of football. I like to play with guys that have a knack for the big plays and he is one of those guys. I am just glad to be able to hopefully link up with him again.”

(On having made mistakes trying to do too much in the past) –“Some people are saying that and some of that might be true. I have always been a guy that liked to, in a sense, if something needed to be made up here or there, I am always the one who tries to step up and make it happen. Sometimes that can hurt you. What coach (Jason) Garrett has always been talking with me about since the first day we met, just always do what you have to do. Just do your job. Don’t try to do anybody else’s job. That’s the mentality that I am trying to keep. I don’t have to do too much, just do what I normally do.”

(On the transition to the Dolphins) – “Like I have said before, I look at right now, or the even the past year, it pretty much is halftime of my career. Now, me being here and having a fresh start, this is starting the second half of my career. I feel great about it. I absolutely feel great. I have great support around me here and everybody is very optimistic and very enthusiastic about it.”

(On how bad he wanted to get out of Minnesota) – “It wasn’t that I wanted to get out, it’s just I think for both sides, it was good for me to move on – good for the Vikings too. That’s the way it happened and I’m happy right now. I’m happy with the opportunity I have here.”

(On if the transition is easier because Scott Linehan was the Dolphins offensive coordinator last year) – “That helps. It helps to come into a quarterback-coach meeting and a lot of the terms that they already used last year are the same terms that I used my last four years in Minnesota. That helps a lot. It gives me confidence to know that I’m not just stepping out there blind. I pretty much got my feet wet with a lot of the terminology.”

(On what Charlie Baggett brings to the situation) – “Coach Baggett is a great coach. He has a lot of years under his belt coaching. I was lucky enough to be coached by him in Minnesota and I am very excited to be back with him with him on the coaching staff. I am very familiar with him and his style and what he expects out of players. He’s a great coach. I can say a lot of great things about him. I am just happy to be working with him again.”

(On what specifically he likes about Baggett) – “Just his experience. His experience he brings to the game, to what he brings to the receivers. He really likes to get the work ethic out of receivers. He talks about the small things, doing the small things right. That’s what, in turn, makes the big things look easy.

(On what he things of the Dolphins skill players like Randy McMichael, Chris Chambers, Marty Booker) – “I feel absolutely great with the guys here. I haven’t had a chance to play with them in a game situation, but as far as working right now, working to get better, all those guys are guys that are leaders on the team and expect to go out and be good, be good players and do what it takes to win. That’s what I like about the overall idea about everybody out there. We are working hard everyday to get better.”

(On the reaction he has received from teammates) – “I think some of the guys are kind of feeling me out, which is normal, but most of the guys are genuinely happy and excited. ‘Hey we’re glad you’re here and let’s work to get better.”

(On if he thinks the Dolphins got a steal in the trade) – “I really don’t’ look at it that way. I look at it as an opportunity for me. People are going to make their own assumptions about what they want to, but, me personally, I feel good about the situation I’m in.”

(On if feels the weight of expectations on him) – “To be honest with you, I don’t think anybody can put any pressure or expectations on me than I put on myself. That’s how I look at that and that’s how I deal with it. Ever since I was a kid, I always expected to go out and be the best I could be and perform at a very, very high level. Hopefully, we can just carry that enthusiasm over to victory. That’s really what it’s all about – winning games.”

(On if he is recognized in the community) – “I just got here. I haven’t been out in the community that much besides to stop and get gas or something. Somebody might say ‘hey man, good luck this year. We’re glad you’re here.’ People are welcoming me back to Florida. It’s pretty exciting, but like I said, nobody, I don’t think, can put any more expectations on us more than we should put on ourselves. We expect to go out and play at a very high level.”

(On public scrutiny) – “That comes with the territory. I have been going through that since high school. That’s nothing new. That’s part of being a quarterback. That’s part of being a professional athlete. You have to deal with the good and the bad.”

(On if he pays attention to the media) – “I do sometimes. Whenever it’s convenient. I am not a guy who runs to look at the paper everyday. If certain messages need to be sent to me, I’m pretty sure they’ll get to me.”

(On why he has chosen to represent himself) – “That kind of goes all the way back basically to the Pro Bowl in 2004. I sat down and looked at my whole situation – faith, family, football, finances and future, not in that order – that’s pretty much hot I categorized everything and it got to, with football, I looked at my whole situation, I felt more comfortable with just me controlling everything. Just me. Even though when you have an agent, they pretty much just go in and get the deal done for you or whatever, I feel like I don’t want a middle guy right there, or right now, in my life, in my career. I feel like I have been in it a while and I understand. If I need advice, I’ll go to the top people in the whatever category I need advice in and get the advice I need and make my own decisions.”

(On if he asked for help during the negotiation process) “Oh yeah. I got help. I definitely got help. I didn’t feel like it was too much to handle. It’s my business. Anybody who is willing to handle their own business should never feel that way.”

(On Brad Childress’ comments about him and the Vikings being on the Dolphins’ schedule) – “People say what they want to say and people are going to make their own opinions, but people who know me know the type of guy I am and know what I am made of. As far as the Vikings on our schedule, that’s just another game on the schedule. I am going to take it one week at a time. Every game, that’s the most important game, that next game. When that time comes, when we play the Vikes, I am going to take it just like I do every other week.”

(On wanting to prove something in that game) – “I just want to win the game.”

(On if his rehab is going on at the Dolphins Training Facility) – “It has transitioned here. I am going here every day.”

(On if he really thinks there are not external pressures on him) – “Like I say, I have always been a guy that looks at the situation and – I am going to try to just, in a sense, carry my water and do my part. I am going to be a leader and do what it takes to lead by example, things like that and keep moving forward. That’s my main goal right now, keep moving forward, gain the respect of all my teammates. There were a lot of things said, a lot of things that might have hurt, but until they get to know me and see me, that’s how I hope that they would make their assumptions about me – from what they see and how I work with them and how we go forward.”

(On if anyone has had a conversation with him about what they have seen) – “No, most of the guys know a lot of the stuff that they hear is mainly not true. I think that, for the most part, that guys are getting to know me. The guys are getting to know me and I am getting to know them. Everything is meshing very well right now.”

(On if has met Vince Young) – “I met him today. I don’t know him personally, but as a player, he’s a great player. He’s worked very hard to get where he is, obviously, and I wish him the best of luck. That’s what I told him today, ‘best of luck in everything you do.’ I know I’ll be seeing him and just keep doing what you do.”

(On if Young is similar to him in size) – “He’s a guy about 6-5, about 220-225. He’s a great specimen. He looks good. I had a pretty good conversation with him today. I think he is on his way.”

(On why he changed his jersey to No. 8) – “Mainly because everybody down here in Florida knew me as No. 8. I just kind of wanted to get back to my roots here in Florida and move on. Everything in Minnesota, just leaving it up there and starting over and starting over fresh.”

(On how difficult it is for a new quarterback to become a leader) – “The thing is, I’m not a guy that is going to be blurbing my mouth and saying different things in the locker room. If something needs to be said, I’ll say it, but I’m the type of guy who tries to lead by example. I’m am going to try to be one of the first guys at every drill, one of the first guys in the meeting rooms, stuff like that just to let guys know what it takes to be a winner and what it takes to be the best that you can be.”

(On his impressions of Nick Saban and Saban’s banking on him as his quarterback) – “I’m very excited about that. I’m glad that he feels that I’m the guy for the job. I totally accept it. Coach Saban is a guy that looks me straight in the eyes and looks every player straight in the eyes and just tells them what he expects out of them. He’s a very straight-forward type guy. The bottom line is winning and that’s what he wants to do. He’s willing to do what it takes to win and what I think all the players have to fall in line and follow that. I am willing to that.”

(On his next big goal in rehab) – “Right now, I am still pretty much on the ground just strengthening my legs. We have mini-camp in May. Hopefully, I’ll be moving up a little more. The training staff has a plan of where we’re going. I am actually going to meet with Dr. Andrews this week and he’ll have his plan and what he thinks. Things are looking good. I am not going to predict, rush myself or be unsmart about anything about it. I know it’s a very sensitive injury. Only a couple people have ever had it and come back from it. I am just glad to be making the progress that I am making. Hopefully it continues.”

(On if he has talked to anyone who has had a similar injury, like Willis McGahee) – “I haven’t talked to him, but I did some research on it. He can back and he’s doing fine right now. It took him a little time, but he’s a different position. He’s a running back, I’m a quarterback. I don’t take the type of abuse that most running backs do so hopefully we can maneuver around that kind of stuff and get me back 100 percent.”

(On what the days were like before his trade) – “It’s like this, all I could do is worry about the things I could control. All I was doing was rehabbing my leg and keeping my head to the grindstone. I really wasn’t worried about it as a player that much. Me, representing myself, I had to do what I had to do – have certain conversations with certain people. I’m just glad it all worked out the way it did and everything is the way it is now.”

(On if he feels vindicated that the charges against him were dropped or if he is worried he might be charged again) – “Everybody can do what they want to do up there, but I felt like I went through the process. From the beginning I said that I was innocent and I’m glad saw it that way after he saw all the evidence and I’m moving forward. They can do what they want to do. I don’t care.”

(On how he felt the charges affected his reputation) – I would rather not say. That’s neither here nor there. That’s all behind me now. I’m here now looking forward and I’m glad to be here in Miami.

(On his fumbling) – “That’s part of football, but you have to look at fumbles and lost fumbles. Check my fumbles and check how many I’ve lost. I might have fumbled here and there, but I am going to do whatever I can to get on it. I try to do what I can not to fumble it too. That happens in football. I don’t worry about it. I play the game, try to play as smart as I can as a player and make plays.”

(On what he can do to work on fumbling) – “Just be real cognizant of the ball when you are about to get hit and protecting the ball a little bit more.”

(On if he feels like he has to do anything to defend his name) – “I feel like I am just going to be myself. I am not going to sit here and worry about somebody thinks this or thinks that. If anybody really wants to know, they can just ask me or ask my teammates that I played with, or ask somebody who really knows me what type of person I am. They’ll know it. I am not going to worry about anything that was said. Everybody has got to be careful.”

(On if he sees enough talent around him to succeed) – “I think that with the players we have right now, we have a great opportunity to a good football team, even to be a great football team. Not just with the players, but with the coaching staff we have in place. I think everything’s in first. Everybody needs to file in line and get to work. I am very excited about what we can do right not, not two or three years later.”

(On how the offensive firepower in Miami compares to Minnesota’s) – “I played with some great offensive players in Minnesota too. I was lucky to play with some great, great players there and I feel just as lucky now with the type of players we have here. The same caliber players, guys that are very special at what they do. I just thank God to be in the position I’m in. It was great in Minnesota to play with those guys and I think it will even be greater here.”

(On Mike Mularkey) – “Coach Mularkey is a guy who has been in the business a lot time. He has a lot of experience. He knows offense. He has been a head coach, but he knows offenses. In my meetings with him thus far, he’s kind of learning this offense too, but he put some of his things in and he seems to be pretty sharp, very sharp.”

(On if he would compare Chris Chambers to Randy Moss) – “To compare to him to Randy Moss – I wouldn’t say you can’t compare him, they’re both great players if you want to compare them like that. Both have different styles. Both are very fast, and both are playmakers. When you factor that in, I felt great playing with Randy and I feel great playing with Chris. He’s a great player and he’s shown that. I’m pretty sure, with his work ethic that I’ve seen, he’s going to continue to show it.”

(On if he has spent time with anyone off the field) – “Not much. Most of my dealings with everybody have been here because we get here early, about 7:00 and we don’t get out until about 11:30-12:00. We get some hours in everyday get the camaraderie, messing with the guys, seeing what type of guy he is, what type of guy he is. It’s kind of like feeling your way around on your first day of school.”

(On if feels the legacy of Dolphins quarterbacks like Bob Griese and Dan Marino) – “I understand that there has been a very high level of play at quarterback. With that understanding, they didn’t just step out there and make it happen. It was every day being here early in the morning and leaving late – getting ready, preparation. I do understand that and I am willing to do that so I can continue that high level of quarterback play that is expected here.”

(On his draft day) – “It was one of the happiest days of my life. To have a life-long dream of being a professional athletes and pro football player, then to be drafted, it was a very special day to me. I am glad it happened. I am glad for my experiences I had up there, but I am extremely happy about the situation here now and this opportunity that I have and I am looking forward to great things.


Blogger Finsfan said...

Wow, this stuff is great. Very indepth. But I really stumbled on this blog. You should make it more accessable.

8:21 PM  
Blogger wvdolphin said...

Hey, Armando! This is spectacular stuff. I love the personal analysis you bring in your columns as well as your new blog. As a lifelong dolphins fan all the way up here in west virginia, I am constantly on the prowl for as much dolphins news that I can get my hands on. Now, your new blog brings an insight that I was previously ignorant of. Thank you and keep up the great work.

10:18 AM  
Blogger wvdolphin said...

Hey, Armando! This is spectacular stuff. I love the personal analysis you bring in your columns as well as your new blog. As a lifelong dolphins fan all the way up here in west virginia, I am constantly on the prowl for as much dolphins news that I can get my hands on. Now, your new blog brings an insight that I was previously ignorant of. Thank you and keep up the great work.

10:18 AM  
Blogger wvdolphin said...

Hey, Armando! This is spectacular stuff. I love the personal analysis you bring in your columns as well as your new blog. As a lifelong dolphins fan all the way up here in west virginia, I am constantly on the prowl for as much dolphins news that I can get my hands on. Now, your new blog brings an insight that I was previously ignorant of. Thank you and keep up the great work.

10:18 AM  
Blogger SuperDolfs said...

This is great stuff. Armando, you da man!

12:39 PM  

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