Jay Fiedler is always a popular topic among South Florida sports talk shows, particularly when he doesn't play well. The week following the loss at Kansas City was a perfect example, and fans and non-fans alike regularly have called for him to be benched in favor of Ray Lucas, Sage Rosenfels or anybody else who can throw a football.

Fiedler easily is Miami's favorite whipping boy, a guy who can't do anything right in the eyes of many.

But Fiedler does remarkably well is let the criticism just bounce off his shoulder and keep doing his job as best he can.

And for that, if nothing else, Fiedler should be commended.

As erratic as his performance against the Chiefs was — and there is no sugarcoating the fact he made some lousy decisions, particularly in the second half — that's how solid he was in the victory over New England.

But just like he takes things in stride in defeat, you won't catch Fiedler getting overly excited after playing well.

Fiedler always stays on an even keel. He summed up his philosophy early in the season when he found himself atop the NFL quarterback ratings, this coming a few weeks after being booed mercilessly at Pro Player Stadium during an awful preseason performance against New Orleans.

When asked if he felt some vindication or the urge to confront his naysayers, Fiedler simply said: "I'm not an in-your-face kind of guy."

Fiedler never gets too low or gets too high.

Think about it, Fiedler could be going through a four-interception game and you'd have a hard time knowing if you just caught his expression on the sideline. The same would be true if he were on his way to a 300-yard afternoon.

That attitude is why Fiedler is able to bounce back after a bad performance and not go into a funk.

"For the criticism Jay takes ... anybody would be an amazing success in any business if they could deal with things the way Jay does," said Coach Dave Wannstedt. "It's a credit to his character. He shows up every day and does not get distracted by outside influences.

"As a head coach and a member of this team, you have to appreciate that."

Fiedler has said all along that the acceptance of fans isn't nearly as high on his priority list, that what matters to him is having the respect of his teammates.

And you know he has that. A good example came late in the preseason when Ray Lucas became upset when reporters brought up the possibility of a quarterback controversy.

As for fans, some will never embrace Fiedler for no other reason than he's not Dan Marino.

But for his ability to deal with so much abuse without letting it affect him, Fiedler deserves a lot of respect, if nothing else.

How does he do it? Maybe it's his background.

"He's a pretty strong-willed guy," said wide receiver Dedric Ward. "Living in New York for so long, he's dealt with a lot of that."

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