Thursday, September 18, 2008

Reader Question: Thoughts on John Beck

I received a follow-up question from my last response about the Henne/Pennington situation. It has to do with the notion of John Beck seeing some starts later in the season.

Here's the question (Also, feel free to send me any other questions you've got):
There has been some chatter about maybe John Beck starting a couple of games late this season so the coaching staff can get a better look at him. Any thoughts? Also, as a comparison between Dolphin QB's when did Dan Marino get the starting job?
Thanks for the questions.

To put it simply, I'm not against seeing Beck start a few games at the end of this season - under certain circumstances.

First off, in order to avoid a situation like last year, Pennington should be the only guy starting until this team gets a win. You'll remember that last year, the coaching staff abruptly switched out Cleo Lemon in favor of an unprepared Beck even though it was clear that Lemon offered the team the best chance to win.

Even if the Dolphins go on an extended losing streak, Pennington will still be the QB who offers the team the best chance to get a victory. There's just too much of a shaky adjustment period that comes with switching to a young guy midway through the season.

So Beck shouldn't see the field at least until this team has a win. Even after that, it's questionable when an appropriate time would be to turn to him. Currently, he is third on the team's depth chart, and the coaching staff clearly likes Henne much more than Beck. It is obvious that they are banking on Henne as the future starter and not Beck. Therefore, a majority of the developmental reps should go to Henne. But as I wrote on Monday, Henne needs to be protected on the bench for most of this season. What if Pennington gets hurt and is forced to miss some games before week 12 or so? That's too early in my opinion to turn the keys over to Henne. That would be a perfect opportunity to get Beck some work.

Essentially, think of Beck like a long reliever in baseball. He should be used to come in and soak up some innings (games) if the starter (Pennington) just isn't getting it done in the early innings in order to preserve the arms (in this case, development) of the more valuable bullpen guys (Henne).

Other than that, though, I don't see this coaching staff going out of its way to get Beck a start or two as they clearly don't think that much of him.

Of course, if the rumors of Beck being on the trading block this preseason are true, it might not hurt to get him some game reps and provide other teams some more game film on him that might entice them to send a draft pick this way for his services.

As the season wears on, this QB issue will certainly be interesting to watch.

And as for Dan Marino, it doesn't do much good to compare anyone to him because no one will ever match up. But for comparison's sake, Marino got his first start in Week 6 of his rookie season, after seeing some mop-up time in two prior games. The rest, they say, is history.

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