Aug 27, 2007, 4:27:17 PM
Q: Are you going to play on Thursday night?
HUARD: “I’m not sure. I’m feeling better and feeling good.”
Q: Any problems being ready for Houston?
HUARD: “Oh no, I’ll be fine.”
Q: How does it feel to have your own team now?
HUARD: “I’m excited, this is a great opportunity, I’m looking forward to the challenge and getting started here. Certainly we have our work cut out for us with three of our first four games on the road, but it’s a challenge that we’re up for and we’ll go out there and try to win some ball games.”
Q: Do you feel that you’ve earned the right to be the starter?
HUARD: “Absolutely. You go out there and you work hard and this is why you play football, to be the starter. Certainly I’ve worked hard my whole career and I’m looking forward to this opportunity.”
Q: What was your feeling when Herm told you that you would be the starter on Opening Day?
HUARD: “I was certainly excited. Like I said, this is why you play the game. We have a great football team, a veteran offense, a lot of guys that I’m comfortable and familiar with and we’re in a system that I’ve been in for four years. There are a lot of things working in my advantage and now it’s just a matter of going out there, making plays and helping this team win football games.”
Q: What do you have to do in these next 10 days to getting everyone on the offense up to speed before Houston?
HUARD: “I think it’s just a matter of getting everybody on the same page. We’ve got RB Larry Johnson back here, TE Jason Dunn is healthy and our offensive line is getting healthy. I think it’s just a matter of working all together, getting reps and plays and going over our game plan that we are going to be using in Houston. We have two weeks to do that and over the next two weeks that’s what we’ll work on.”
Q: Did you ever think that you’d never get this opportunity?
HUARD: “I think that I’ve always believed, hoped, that someday I would get this opportunity. You see a lot of quarterbacks develop later on over the course of their career. Brad Johnson, Steve Young, Rich Gannon; there have been a number of guys who have gotten their opportunity later in their career and made the most of it. You play to be the starter and that’s kind of what I kept plugging along all these years. This is a great opportunity for me for sure.”
Q: You never once doubted that this day would come?
HUARD: “No, not by any means. I don’t think you ever want to get caught in the rut of, ‘hey, I’m just a backup. That’s who I am.’ I don’t think I would have lasted as long as I have in this league if I had. You want to be the guy and you want to play. I think everybody thinks that who plays this position in the league. If you don’t have that mindset, you won’t be ready when your number is called. At the quarterback position guys get hurt and go down every single year. You’ve got to be ready at a moments notice to come out of the bullpen and do your job. Every quarterback must prepare to be a starter.”
Q: Did you get any calls from anyone in the league after it was announced that you were the starter?
HUARD: “Yeah, a number of friends and former teammates. I definitely got a number of phone calls; people were excited that I got this opportunity.”
Q: Did Tom Brady or Dan Marino call you?
HUARD: “Yeah, some of those guys. I’m not going to sit here and elaborate on who called me. Seriously though, a lot of my friends and former teammates left text messages and voicemails. They wished me well and told me that they’d be rooting me on.”
Q: Doesn’t that make you feel good?
HUARD: “Yeah, absolutely. The longer you play this game, the more friends and connections you have around this league. Everyone has been pretty excited for me.”
Q: Is there still, in your mind, a competition to keep the starting quarterback position?
HUARD: “Absolutely, there always is. I don’t know if there is anybody, other than a handful of quarterbacks in this league that never worry about the guy behind their shoulder. I think you always do and certainly if a team struggles, it’s the first place you got to pick them up or pick up the pace. I know that Brodie is a great quarterback who is going to push me from behind and whom the organization has a lot of belief in. Certainly you want to go out and keep the job.”
Q: Do you feel that you won the job by default?
HUARD: “No, by no means. You might judge that on a couple of series in preseason games, but we’ve been battling since the spring and since last season ended. I think the competition has been fair and we’ve both had the same number of reps, except for in the games.”
Q: How come neither you nor Herm think that it is that important for you to get many reps in the preseason?
HUARD: “I don’t know. It’s one of things where most of the time you’re in the huddle with guys you’ve never played with. It’s important to get in work, but we do so much work on the practice field against our number one defense. Practice like you play the game and I think that you get enough out of it.”
Q: What excites you about this particular offense?
HUARD: “As you look at our weapons, the running game is a quarterback’s best friend. Certainly with RB Larry Johnson, RB Michael Bennett, TE Kris Wilson and RB Priest Holmes, we’ve got a lot of weapons there to get the offense going. Then you throw in the best tight end in football. I think we’ve got a lot of weapons on offense. You’ve got veteran leadership with WR Eddie Kennison split out on the end with our first-round draft pick and WR Samie Parker. We have guys who have been here with a veteran offensive line. I think that across the board it’s a pretty good group. It’s just a matter of coming together and doing our thing, going out there having great balance and competing against Houston.”
Q: When you went out to the New Orleans game and knew you weren’t going to play, did you feel that if Brodie Croyle played really well he would have been named the starter?
HUARD: “No, you can only worry about yourself, getting healthy and helping your teammates on the sideline in whatever role or capacity you can. I never really thought about that.”