Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Beck Era Begins This Sunday

A new era of Miami Dolphins football will officially begin on November 18, 2007 when John Beck takes his first snap from under center as the starting quarterback of the Fins.

Cam Cameron announced his decision today, and he said the plan going forward is for Beck to start for the remainder of the season, barring any injuries. From here on, he will be getting 80% of the snaps with the first team in practice.

I previously stated that I would not have had any problem with Cameron choosing to sit Beck for the rest of the season. After all, I still trust his ability to judge and develop quarterbacks. Thusly, I fully trust Cam's decision to hand over the team to Beck with seven games remaining on the schedule. If Cam and the coaching staff think that he's ready, then I'm betting he's ready.

And I don't want to sound like a sensationalist, but this truly does mark the beginning of a new era for Dolphins football. So much of Miami's struggles can be directly linked to the organization's inability to find a competent successor to Dan Marino (the greatest NFL player of all time - yeah, I said it). The last time that the Fins actually invested one of their own draft picks into a rookie quarterback was all the way back in 2001 when they used a 6th round pick on the legendary Josh Heupel (if your response to that was "Josh Who??," you are not alone). Heupel never made it onto the field.

Instead, the team has thrown its valuable draft picks away in return for the cast-offs of other teams. Naturally, the QB situation has rotted.

Here's a look at all the draft picks that have been uselessly traded away in Miami's futile quest for a QB and the stats those players put up while wearing the aqua and orange:
  • 5th round pick for Trent Green (5 starts, 85/141, 987 yards, 5 TDs, 7 INTs, 7 sacks, 2 FUM, 72.6 rating)
  • 2nd round pick for Daunte Culpepper (4 starts, 81/134, 929 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 21 sacks, 3 FUM, 77.0 rating)
  • 6th round pick (and A.J. Feeley) for Cleo Lemon (5 starts, 134/234, 1,335 yards, 5 TDs, 5 INTs, 15 sacks, 2 FUM, 71.8 rating)
  • 2nd round pick for A.J. Feeley (8 starts, 191/356, 1,893 yards, 11 TDs, 15 INTs, 23 sacks, 10 FUM, 61.7 rating)
  • 2 6th round picks for Cade McNown (didn't get on the field at all)
  • 7th round pick for Sage Rosenfels (1 start, 20/48, 314 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, 3 sacks, 2 FUM, 51.9 rating)
So, that's 2 second-round, a fifth-round, 3 sixth-round, and a seventh-round pick for 23 starts with 25 TDs and 32 INTs and a cumulative rating of 68.15 (I just vomited a little). None of those players lasted for more than half a season as the starting QB.

But finally, the team wizened up and used a high draft pick on a QB prospect. John Beck is finally the player that every Fin-fan can rally behind. He's our own. He is going to grow up and develop under the auspices of this team, and if all goes according to plan, he will flourish with this team.

Developing home-grown youngsters from the draft is the proven way to win in today's NFL. Beck's first start is just the beginning of this transformation, but it's also the most important piece of the puzzle.

For Miami, the future begins on Sunday.

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