by Chris Shashaty, Phins.com Columnist
Better late than never.
After the pounding the Good Guys gave the Broncos, can there be any doubt as to who the Dolphins’ starting quarterback should be?
As I have previously written, it isn’t in a rebuilding team’s best interest to play a 34 year old veteran quarterback unless that veteran is clearly superior to his competition.
As of 12:59pm ET on September 11, Gus Frerotte hadn’t successfully proven his case. His Dolphin body of work up to that point was a collection of missed opportunities and uneven play.
In other words, generally uninspiring stuff.
And nothing Nick Saban was saying to justify his faith in Frerotte mattered. Essentially, Frerotte was being panned by outsiders as Jay Fiedler 2.
“Zzzzzzz”, said the faithful. The number of no-shows at Dolphin Stadium certainly underscored the sentiment.
My friends, legitimacy and respect in football comes from only one thing: making plays. That’s how you show you belong. That’s the only way to end the debate, especially at the most crucial of positions.
24 completions from 36 attempts, 275 yards passing, 2 touchdowns, and a 96.4 quarterback rating later, the controversy is indeed over. The Miami Dolphins have a quarterback, at least for 2005.
Numbers are nice, but testimonials from your peers are even better. Be it guard Rex Hadnot or tight end Randy McMichael, the kudos for Frerotte keep rolling in.
Certainly, one game does not make a season. That’s the prudent reminder that Saban offers anyone within earshot.
Still, what gets people thinking ahead are the new found possibilities that stem from having a dependable player who makes the big throws needed to win games. “Wad ball”, the term Saban uses to describe the run philosophy of the past, is, well, in the past.
Case-in-point: Frerotte to Marty Booker for a 60 yard touchdown, right on the heels of a Bronco score that brought them within 10 points of tying the game with 9:24 left to play.
As many have correctly opined, the previous regime would have been more likely to run-run-run…the ball and the clock…to keep from losing the game.
Not this bunch. The philosophy has changed. Now, they play to win.
Big difference, folks. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan dialed it up, but Frerotte delivered it!
During the preseason, Frerotte didn’t deliver it. He overthrew it, underthrew it, and the Dolphins punted.
Not Sunday. Game,
Perhaps the knowledge that A.J. Feeley would no longer be a factor is what settled Frerotte down. As Saban observes, high performance expectations and high anxiety are a bad combination.
You figure it would
be normal for Frerotte to have had a case of the nerves, given what he and his family
sacrificed for a run at the
Of course all of that is in the past now. Last Sunday, Frerotte finally earned his captaincy. With that kind of quarterbacking, a playoff berth can now be widely viewed as a truly achievable goal.
Yes, I remember…it’s was just 1 of 16. A rotten egg against the most hated rival, the J-E-T-S, could instantly send many spiraling back down to the depths of 4-12.
Don’t count on it. It is all too clear now that this team is good enough to get it done. That competitive product we’ve been looking for is there and Frerotte is a big reason why.
No, he’s not about to make us forget You Know Who. Not even close. But Frerotte proved he can still bring it at a level that forces other teams to take him into consideration.
Suddenly, that dangerous corps of wide receivers is something that defensive coordinators have to respect. And McMichael becomes a bigger pain in the neck to guard.
Quick! When was the last time an opposing defensive coordinator was truly concerned about handling the Dolphins’ passing game?
Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams might be the giddiest of all with the prospects, by land and by air.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins still have a long term quarterback problem to solve. Many believe the heir apparent is still plying his trade in college.
That may be. As Saban
says, he isn’t
But in the Not For Long league, getting what you need in the here and now is always a good thing. You get the feeling that Saban will eventually solve his long term QB problem.
Today, thanks to Frerotte, that’s the least of his worries.
“Can Frerotte keep it
up?”…that’s the million dollar question. Again, you’ll need
For now, everything is just dandy with the Dolphins as the loyalists are proclaiming something about a Dolphin QB we haven’t heard in quite some time.
“In Gus We Trust.”