David Garrard was named the No.1 quarterback on the Miami Dolphins depth chart earlier this week and after the Hard Knocks premiere it’s not hard to see why. The former Jacksonville Jaguar looked comfortable in Miami and appears to be a favorite of head coach Joe Philbin.No.9 has never had it easy in the NFL, fighting for every minute of playing time he has received. A sudden back injury derailed Garrard’s time with the Jaguars last year and he’s out to prove he has what it takes to be a starting quarterback once again. David Garrard joined ESPN Radio with The Scott Van Pelt Show to discuss his back injury last year that derailed his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the importance of football in his life, the importance of being the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins on opening day, having no privacy in training camp with Hard Knocks being filmed and the skills that Ryan Tannehill possess that will make him a great starting quarterback.
How has the last year played out for you? “Just thinking about last year around this time I am just getting ready for the season [with the Jaguars] and everything should be rolling like normal, but it doesn’t. I start having some back issues in camp and then I get released the day before the 53-man roster. We’ve already had our luncheon where we announced the team and everything. It was interesting timing. Then I am out of football and I am waiting for calls from teams and I am getting then, but they’re just kind of putting everything on hold a little just letting their seasons get started. I start having even more back problems. My legs start giving out. My calf muscles go numb. I can’t do a calf raise anymore with my left calf. I am starting to think something may be seriously wrong now. I have some MRIs and they show my disc hernia in my L-405 is pushing on my nerve and it’s basically blocking the nerves that go down to my leg. I knew at that point in time the doctor said I needed to have surgery to remove that disc off that nerve and once I did that and I had the surgery I was actually able to do a calf raise that same day.”
What did you realize about the importance of the game of football in your life when you are away from it?
“I definitely thought I may be done at some point in time, but then seeing all the ball games that went on that year and just watching and thinking I can be somewhere helping somebody out. It just seemed like there were so many quarterbacks last year that went down and every time they went down I would get a call and I was like man my abilities are still wanted in this league. I gotta go out there and give everything I have because when it’s over and you’re done, you’re done. It’s just not like you can keep coming back and fourth even though some people have done that in the past. You’re done.
If you can play football again professionally it’s like you better get everything out of it that you can because it is a short time in your life, a short window and if you still have the ability to go out and play then why not?
So that’s how I felt. I felt I can help somebody out in some kind of way or form or fashion. I’m down here with Miami now and I’m loving it. I’m excited about this team and what we can do. It’s still right here in the middle of training camp, but it’s exciting though.”How important is it for you to be the starting quarterback when the season starts?“It’s important. That’s been my goal ever since I have been an NFL quarterback is to be a starting quarterback. It didn’t start that way in my career. I had to wait my time and once I got there I tried to seize the moment and I am kind of back in that situation, so hopefully with my play throughout preseason it will show that I should be the starting quarterback and that’d be great. If not and I am beaten out by somebody else?
Then hey I’ll be the best whatever else they want me to be.”What’s it like with the cameras on Hard Knocks?
Is it odd knowing everything could be on TV?“Yeah you have no privacy really. In our quarterback room there is a camera that is always there and it’s usually always on. We call it ‘WALL-E,’ from the movie. It’s always there, so you feel like you can’t do anything. Normal stuff that quarterbacks do like joke around. You feel like you always gotta watch yourself because you never know who is watching. It might be a head coach watching after he is reviewing things, so you don’t want to say any kind of comments or anything that might put you out there. You are always kind of checking yourself a little bit. If somebody is starting a conversation that is heading in the wrong direction we’ll just call out WALL-E’s name and everybody just gets quiet. There’s not a whole lot of privacy, but it’s a great way for fans to see the in’s-and-out’s of what we go through and it’s not Sunday every day there.”Ryan Tannehill will be the future in Miami eventually.
What have you seen in him so far?
“He can be a special quarterback. He has all the tools. He needs everything you have to have at the quarterback position. His number one thing I have seen so far is just his ability to handle everything. Usually as a rookie they come in and get overwhelmed a lot and they make a lot of dumb mistakes, but he doesn’t do that. It doesn’t seem like the game is bigger than him. Right now it seems like he can come in and handle the situations that are in front of him. I think what really helps him with that is that this system was with him in college, so it gives him an edge to handle those things. He’s a very talented guy pretty much.”