CAMP COUNTDOWN: QUARTERBACKS

As the Dolphins prepare for the start of training camp, we take a close position-by-position look at the roster, including a prediction of who will start and make the 53-man squad. Today we look at the quarterbacks.

It shouldn't surprise that we have saved the best for last. When the Dolphins start practicing again on Saturday, it will be the quarterback position that will garner the most attention -- yes, even after the sudden retirement of running back Ricky Williams.

There should be a fun battle at camp this summer between incumbent Jay Fiedler, who is back to the surprise of most fans and observers, and newcomer A.J. Feeley.

When the Dolphins traded a future second-round pick to Philadelphia in the offseason to get their hands on Feeley, it was generally assumed he would be the starter this season.

But Feeley won't simply be handed the job.

There is too much riding on this position for the Dolphins not to make him earn it.

By the same token, the Dolphins paid too big a price for Feeley (the new five-year deal included) to have him sit on the bench unless he is clearly inferior to Fiedler.

What that means is that despite the fact Fiedler is the incumbent, this is Feeley's job to lose.

The one major drawback Feeley has is he's not a good practice player, and he also has been critical of the Dolphins offense, which is sure not to endear him to Coach Dave Wannstedt.

On top of that, it's pretty obvious that Wannstedt always has been partial to Fiedler. Wannstedt wants a quarterback who will "manage" the game, and that's what he sees in Fiedler.

Whoever winds up being the starter needs to step up the play from last year when the Dolphins didn't get much from this position, with more interceptions than touchdowns. That can't happen again.

The Dolphins need to make some plays in the passing game, even though they won't become pass-happy suddenly now that Williams has retired.

From this vantage point, we think the Dolphins simply have invested too much in Feeley for him not to be the starter. So he will be the starter ... unless he falls flat on his face in training camp and the preseason.

The other two quarterbacks on the roster are Sage Rosenfels and Clint Stoerner.

It's the same old story for Rosenfels, who seems to have a lot of supporters behind him, except not anybody in a position of authority.

He will remain as the No. 3 quarterback and maybe someday will get a shot.

As for Stoerner, can you say "camp body"? Sure, you can.


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