Joey Harrington met the South Florida media today. What follows is the transcript of the exchange:
By the way, he had a great answer for the Tony Siragussa comments of a couple of years ago when Siragussa suggested Harrington isn't one of the boys and is soft and that's the reason he's failed, because his teammates don't see him as a leader.
Tell me what you think when you read Harrington's reponse.
On what he liked about the Dolphins organization to prefer to come here) – “First of all I like 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 (Culpepper) situation is and it’s not like I had people beating down my door to come and be their 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, everything I heard about the team, I liked the direction the team is going. I am 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 part of a great organization.”
(On what went wrong in Detroit) – “How much time do we got? 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. It 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 that 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. He is somebody who is going to change those attitudes that need to be changed. I wish him nothing but the best.”
(On if he thought Matt Millen handled his situation oddly) – “No, Matt and I have always had a great relationship and 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 to get the most value for me that he could. While I wanted 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 am ready to take advantage of any opportunity.”
(On if Miami’s downfield-type offense attracted him) – “Offensively, the attraction for me was that they give the quarterback answers. We go over in the 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 here and letting him make the yards for the first down. As a quarterback, I always played better in systems and situations where they give you answers and that’s what I like, they’ll give you answers.”
(On how he knows that already) – “I could see from the first meeting. The way they prepare, the way they cover their bases. Coach (Jason) Garrett is very thorough in the meetings. There is no stone left unturned, and any 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 as opposed to leaving it up to chance.”
(On if he will be content being a backup if Daunte Culpepper is healthy) – “Am I going to be content? I don’t think any player is content when they are not on the field, but I have been in this situation before. I was in this situation with Jeff (Garcia) last year where I was forced to be a backup and be ready at any time. Our season last year showed that as a second quarterback on the team, you have to be prepared and you have to be ready to get in 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 am going to do everything I can to be ready for this team and if that means sitting for a season or two, then I’m prepared to do that.”
(On what coming to Miami means to him) – “It’s a huge relief. It’s a huge – I don’t want to say 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 general managers trying to work out 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. The biggest relief to me is now I have something that’s solid.”
(On if his confidence is shaken) – “No, why would it be? Why would my confidence be shaken. 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 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. I’ve learned how to handle those because, especially in this league, those are going to happen. In such a long season, you are going to have bumps, you are going to stumble along the way and I’ve learned how to deal with those situations. I think I am a better player for it. ”
(On if he thought there was any truth to DrÃ© Bly’s comments about him) – “Of course I don’t think there was any truth about it. If you have ever been part of a team, if you have ever been in a team situation, it was an incredibly selfish statement to make. Of course I was hurt because for four years all I’d done was work for those guys. All I’d done was sit in the film room, prepare and be ready for every situation. I’m not saying I played well every game because I didn’t. That’s not what I am trying to say at all, but nobody in that locker room did. There is nobody in that locker room who can stand up in front of the mirror and say, ‘I played great every single game that Coach Mariucci was there. We all felt terrible for him losing his job because he’s a person. I think what people forget is we’re not just dealing with puzzle pieces you can just toss in and out. Coach Mariucci was a person and a good person. You saw the emotion that he went through when he was fired.”
(On if he is more certain that the Dolphins have the pieces in place to be successful than they did in Detroit) – “We obviously had pieces in Detroit.Â That wasn’t an issue.Â I don’t necessarily think we had the direction.Â And that’s what I loved about this situation, is the control that Coach Saban has over this team.Â He has everybody in there focused on the same goal and looking in the same direction.Â That’s what I want to be a part of.Â I want to be a part of a team again.”
(On if he’s gotten any sense of the number of snaps he will be taking in practice with Daunte Culpepper’s status uncertain) – “I’m just ready to take them when I can get them.Â We’ve been going pretty much exactly even between all the quarterbacks right now and I’m ready to take snaps when they want to be in there.”
(On him saying that Miami is where he wanted to be and if that was his idea or his agent’s) – “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. In my situation, I was lucky enough to be able to dictate in some sense where I’d be able to go.Â I thought it would be a good time to say that.”
(On how much his head is swimming with everything he has to learn) — “Quite a bit. I don’t want to say it’s uncomfortable, but it really is. I’ve picked up and moved from a place where I was comfortable, I was settled, I had a house that’s now on the market, I knew where the grocery store was, I knew where the DMV is – everything is just going in circles right now. On top of that, I’ve got to go play football. I’ve got to 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.Â I feel like I’m throwing it well.”
(On how much pressure there was on him as a high draft choice to turn around a team that hadn’t been successful in a while) – “One person is not going to turn around an organization, especially one rookie. I don’t care who you are. You could be the greatest quarterback in this world, but if you don’t have people working towards the same goal, you’re not going to win football games. I don’t know that I can think of a sport that depends more on complete and total team play, and complete and total trust in guys around you.Â There are ten other guys on that field that if one makes a mistake, everything may go downhill.Â To say that one person, especially one young player like that, is going to come in and change the face of an organization is an extremely unrealistic thing for the public to ask. That being said, people are drafted at the top of the draft for certain reasons. They’re obviously talented players, and surrounded by a good cast and surrounded by an organization that’s supportive and focused in the right direction, I think they can be tremendous players in this league.”
(On what part of his game he would like to improve on the most) – “I don’t know. It’s a different situation for me now. I’m learning everything new again. It is honestly a complete, fresh slate, and I love it.Â My drop, they’re coaching differently, which I love.Â 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 back to things that I was really comfortable with. To say there are certain things I want to work on, there are a lot of things I want to work on right now, first of all, learning the offense.”
(On if he looks back at Detroit and say he is going to approach things differently as far as the things he says, especially with the Tony Siragusa incident from a couple of years ago) – “I think more than anything, Siragusa was trying to call me soft. If you look at my career, how many games did I miss? How many hits did I take? How many times did I get up? I don’t think you have to look at whether a guy is going to go out and get drunk and have too many beers out at local bar to say he’s a tough guy. I think you look at him on the field. I think you look at how many times he gets up, and how many times he takes a shot in the jaw and gets up and gets back in the huddle for his teammates. I didn’t take the Siragusa comments too personally. I know who I am as a person and I know who I am as a player, too.”
Thanks to the Dolphins media relations department for transcribing the interview.