2004 Season Review: QB

With the Dolphins' dismal 2004 season now over, we take a look back with a position-by-position evaluation as well as a look forward to what the offseason might bring. Today we examine the quarterbacks.

Overview

Ugh. That just about sums up the Dolphins' play at quarterback in 2004. To the surprise of many, Jay Fiedler got the nod as the starter for the season opener, but he was yanked at halftime of Game 1 after a putrid first-half performance. After Dave Wannstedt discovered in the next two games that A.J. Feeley wasn't going to be much better, it was back to Fiedler. He held the job until Wannstedt resigned and was replaced by Jim Bates, who made the switch back to Feeley. With Feeley injured, Sage Rosenfels got his first career start in the finale at Baltimore.

Jay Fiedler: Why he won the job coming out of training camp was baffling to everyone, because the Dolphins had tried so hard to replace him in the offseason and also because of what was given up to get Feeley. Playing behind a bad offensive line, Fiedler didn't have much of a chance and he was mediocre. Then again, didn't we already know this.

A.J. Feeley: There were a lot of snickers around the league when the Dolphins gave up a second-round pick for a guy who was only the No. 3 quarterback in Philadelphia. Yes, Feeley showed some promise at times, but he also made waaaaaayy too many mistakes and also showed an alarming lack of pocket awareness.

Sage Rosenfels: He became a fan favorite this season, if for no other reason than he wasn't Fiedler or Feeley. In his one start, Rosenfels showed a good arm, but he also showed the same poor decision-making that made fans turn on both Fiedler and Feeley.

Looking ahead

New head coach Nick Saban's biggest decision of the offseason just might be what to do at this position, more to the point deciding whether he can afford to go with Feeley as the starter heading into 2005. We're not sold on Feeley in the least, but no matter what he is the only one of three who is certain to return. Fiedler's contract calls for a hefty paycheck in 2005, and he's not getting it in Miami. Look for him to be released right around or before March 1. As for Rosenfels, he will become an unrestricted free agent in the spring and he's hoping to get a job somewhere he can compete. Could that be Miami? Doubtful. We just can't see the Dolphins going with Feeley and Rosenfels as the No. 1 and 2 quarterbacks next summer. Somebody will be brought in to either compete with or supplant Feeley, and the only question is whether that quarterback will come via free agent (Kurt Warner perhaps?) or the draft (Aaron Rodgers, Matt Leinart or Alex Smith). Oh, we didn't mention late-season pick-up Jason Garrett because he's really not a factor. His contract is up, and it's difficult to envision the journeyman being brought back.


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