When is Beck Time?

With the Dolphins off to a disastrous 0-4 start, we're already hearing calls for Cam Cameron to put rookie John Beck in at quarterback. But the Dolphins reiterated his support for Trent Green on Wednesday, saying that Green has played a role in the improvement of the offensive line and of Ronnie Brown and that he was "going to stay the course right now." OK then, if not now, when?

When is the right time to get Beck in there to see what he can do? Do the Dolphins have to get Beck some action at some point this season? And what Cleo Lemon, was shouldn't he get a shot?

Let's start with the third point first. Lemon has been in the NFL five years and has one career start. In short, he's clearly not the future of this organization. If there was any chance of that happening, the Dolphins wouldn't have spent a second-round pick on Beck last April.

So it's clear the Dolphins see Beck as the long-term answer at quarterback.

Beck is 26 years old, have a child and spent a couple of years in Portugal on a church mission. We say all that to make the point that Beck isn't your typical rookie quarterback.

That means that, unlike some QBs, he's not going to get rattled or have his psyche shattered if he gets some action as a rookie and things don't go well -- which is a likely scenario.

Beck is not going to be like David Carr, who was the first overall pick in the 2002 draft but never seemed to recover after getting sacked 76 times as a rookie for Houston.

The flip side is that Beck can gain valuable experience by playing, and it's obvious it would be better if Beck went through his growing pains while the Dolphins are in the middle of a last season rather than in the heat of a playoff chase.

That said, we most definitely think the Dolphins should get Beck in there at some point this season.

As for the "when" question, we would establish two target dates.

The first is a couple of weeks ago down the road -- if Green continues to struggle. As soon as it becomes apparent that Green no longer can be a consistent quarterback in the NFL, then we say move to Beck. We're getting close to that point, clearly, but probably should give Green a couple more games to see if he can snap out of his funk.

To make things easier on Beck, we certainly wouldn't start him in the Oct. 21 game against New England and we probably wouldn't put him in for the game in London.

So our first target date would be the Nov. 11 home game against Buffalo, which comes after the bye. It would give Beck two weeks to prepare for that game, it would be at home and against an injury-ravaged defense.

If Green, however, starts playing consistent football, then we would say that inserting Beck into the lineup should wait until the Dolphins are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

The thing fans need to understand is that Beck very likely will struggle in his first couple of start, because most rookie quarterbacks do. So it makes no sense to go with Beck if Green is playing well and the Dolphins still have a shot at the playoffs.

But if either of those scenarios disappear, then we say get Beck in there.


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Alain Poupart is the Associate Editor of Dolphin Digest and DolphinDigest.com. To read him every day, visit DolphinDigest.com and become a Miami Dolphins insider.