The people's choice

There is not a week that goes by at Dolphins headquarters when Coach Dave Wannstedt isn't asked about Sage Rosenfels, more specifically about why Rosenfels isn't being given a chance to run the offense. Rosenfels has become one of the most popular players among Dolphins fans, and the reason is very simple: He's not Jay Fiedler and he's not A.J. Feeley. But the real question we need to ask is: Should the Dolphins be playing him?

The kneejerk reaction is to say, of course because he can't possibly do any worse than Fiedler and Feeley have done this season.

And while there is some merit to that, it's not quite that simple.

There are short-term and long-term ramifications to consider.

We'll start with the short-term issues. The issue here purely and simply is the supporting cast, namely the offensive line.

Make no mistake, this is not an easy time to be playing quarterback for the Miami Dolphins. The offensive line, to be very kind, is atrocious when it comes to picking up the blitz and not that great in man-to-man pass protection, either.

As a result, both Fiedler and Feeley have found themselves ducking pass rushers or getting nailed on a much-too-frequent basis.

And we hate to break it to you who just love Rosenfels based on whatever success he has had in the preseason: The guy ain't mobile.

If you think Feeley has a hard time avoiding a pass rush, we're going to suggest that would be an even bigger problem with Rosenfels.

Clearly, with this offensive line, the best option to win right now is Fiedler because he's the only one of the three quarterbacks on the roster with the mobility to not be a sitting duck back there.

Rosenfels might make more plays in the passing game, but he would get sacked very often and might wind up forcing some throws just like Feeley has done.

But the short term for the Dolphins offers nothing because this team obviously is going nowhere.

The plan should be to prepare for the long term, but that's a difficult to ask of a coach whose job is all but lost. Dave Wannstedt probably doesn't want to hear about the need to see what the Dolphins have in Feeley and Rosenfels because he's trying to win games now.

But at some point, someone (owner Wayne Huizenga? GM Rick Spielman?) needs to step in and tell Wannstedt it's time to find out about the other quarterbacks because we all know Fiedler will never be a different quarterback than he is right now.

And given the price paid for Feeley in the offseason (second-round pick, big contract), he's the first guy the Dolphins need to look at, not Rosenfels.

The investment in Rosenfels was only a seventh-round pick, so if he winds up leaving as a free agent after the season, it's not as though it cost the Dolphins a lot to have him as a third-stringer for a few years.

But even though it looks right now as if the Dolphins totally wasted a second-round in getting Feeley, they have to make sure. And that means giving Feeley every chance to succeed, particularly in a season that is lost anyway.

Of course, the risk there is that you play Feeley for the second half of the season, he stinks up the joint, never pans out as a quarterback, and Rosenfels leaves as a free agent and becomes a stud somewhere else.

That's the worst-case scenario. But another bad scenario is the Dolphins not finding out about Feeley this year, putting their faith in him for next year and not addressing the position, and later finding out that neither Feeley nor Rosenfels are starting material.

Rosenfels might have some attributes, but let's face it, how likely is it he becomes another Kurt Warner or Jake Delhomme, that type of player who goes from no-name to star because of circumstances.

Wouldn't the Dolphins have seen that in practice by now if that were going to happen?

If Feeley turns out to be a bust, the Dolphins will have to get another quarterback, either through the draft or free agency or trade. And they need to find that out sooner rather than later.

So even for the long term, Rosenfels is not the logical option. Call it a case of wrong place at the wrong time.

Rosenfels just might be the best quarterback on this Dolphins roster, but he's stuck in a role of spectator.


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