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  Future at Quarterback Still Uncertain
    | Home | News Wire | Roster | Depth Chart | Schedule | Links |  
         

by Chris Shashaty, Phins.com Columnist

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One day, Dolphins quarterback John Beck is going to throw his first touchdown pass and get his first win in the NFL.

 

That day may not come in 2007.

 

Against the Buffalo Bills, Beck suffered a major setback in his development. Looking tentative and completely overwhelmed from the first play, Beck struggled to do anything right.

 

In less than one quarter of play he threw two passes, completing one for six yards, suffered three sacks, and even tripped once coming away from center.

 

Then, the bottom fell out.

 

In the snapshot of a moment illustrating this sorry season, Beck comically fumbled the football as he brought his arm back to pass. As the ball floated in the air, Bills DB George Wilson collected it in and dashed 20 quick yards for an easy touchdown and an insurmountable 21-0 Bills lead with 4:35 left to play in the opening period.

 

For the struggling Beck, it was the kind of gaffe that can shatter self-confidence and cost the respect of teammates.

 

Mercifully, Cam Cameron lifted the shell-shocked rookie before things could get further out of hand. Beck, standing alone on the sidelines looking stunned and embarrassed, was in way over his head. His teammates knew it, and so did Cameron.

 

True, the offensive line didnít help matters. They offered Beck little time to work as they failed time and again to pick up the line stunts the Bills were running.

 

To make matters worse for Beck, his opposite number, fellow rookie Trent Edwards, piled on by throwing four touchdown passes. The clincher, a 70 yard strike to the swift Lee Evans, ended any hopes of a Dolphin comeback.

 

Just remember that Edwards had time to throw. Beck didnít.

 

Still, these past two weeks have raised doubts as to whether or not Beck is truly the quarterback of the future of the Miami Dolphins.

 

Yeah, heís been that bad.

 

Look, I know it is easy to overreact where rookie quarterbacks are concerned. The introduction to the pro game is almost always a rude one, and Beck has gotten the full treatment. Experienced NFL defensive coordinators, like Philadelphiaís Jim Johnson and Buffaloís Perry Fewell, are well-versed in the art of rattling rookies like Beck.

 

There have been moments where Beckís poise and maturity have helped him to deal with the confusion. Against the Eagles and Steelers, he stood up to the challenge under difficult circumstances and didnít turn the ball over. However, over the last two games, those moments have not been nearly as evident.

 

Has Beck regressed, or is he just pressing too much?

 

The simple answer is that Beck isnít ready. Maybe, if this team had a couple of wins under its collective belt, they could afford to let Beck go through the school of hard knocks.

 

Alas, with only three games standing between the Dolphins and a date with 0-16 infamy, this is no longer possible.

 

At this point, the Miami Dolphins have a responsibility to themselves and the fans to do everything they can to avoid being hung with the ďworst everĒ tag that comes with going 0-16. Therefore, until the Dolphins win at least one game, veteran Cleo Lemon should be the starter.

 

Unfortunately, this comes at the cost of Beckís continued development.

 

This is problematic for the future because the team would like to have some solid conviction about Beck before the 2008 NFL Draft. Given what little theyíve seen from Beck thus far, it looks as though they will have more questions than answers.

 

Through 3ľ games of action, Beck is 47 of 86 for 424 yards, with 0 TDs and 3 INTs, together with 10 sacks and a dismal passer rating of 53.6. His performances against the lousy Jets and the very average Bills were awful.

 

At BYU, Beck was one of college footballís best passers. He had the second highest QB rating in college 1A ball (169.06) and the third highest completion percentage (69.3%). He was also fifth in passing yardage and hard to get to, taking only 15 sacks; this was second lowest among QBs attempting 400 or more passes.

 

The Beck weíve seen in the NFL has struggled to complete 55% of his passes and doesnít seem to display the same feel for the pass rush he showed in college. Is this part of the overall learning experience, or an inability to carry his game to the pro level?

 

This uncertainty puts the Dolphins in a very difficult and worrisome situation regarding the upcoming draft. There are many other pressing needs to be addressed, especially across defensive line. They donít want to have to spend another high pick on a QB if they can help it.

 

But what if Cameron and GM Randy Mueller are fired, and their successor(s) want to go in a different direction?

 

What if they can draft a better prospect than John Beck? For the first time in franchise history, they will have the pick of the QB lot. Unlike the 2005 draft, this one has some outstanding prospects.

 

Do the Dolphins feel strongly enough about Beck to pass on such an opportunity? Ask yourself, is BCís Matt Ryan better than Beck? What about Louisvilleís Brian Brohm or Kentuckyís Andre Woodson? The loser in a competition with Beck would still have significant market value in a trade.

 

And you thought passing on Brady Quinn was tough!

 

Just remember, until the Dolphins find their QB of the future the losing will continue. They donít need the second coming of You Know Who, but they need a winner.

 

If Beck isnít that guy, this would be the Draft to act.

 
     
   
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