Beck And (Wrong) Call

Coach Cam Cameron ended all the suspense on Monday when he declared that Cleo Lemon would be the starting quarterback for the Dolphins for next weekend's game against the Buffalo Bills. Cameron deserves credit for not letting the situation linger, but it's too bad he made the wrong call on this one.

In explaining the decision, Cameron said he had gone back and looked at the tape and 'remembered all of the good things" that Lemon has done.

Cameron also said he didn't buy the argument that the Dolphins need to find out whether Beck is going to be the quarterback of the future because he said it's too soon for that.

Sorry, wrong answer!

It might be too soon if the Dolphins were headed for a low-first-round pick and were going to have to reach for a quarterback or wouldn't have a shot at a potential franchise QB.

But it should be obvious, to Cameron as much as anybody else, that the Dolphins will have a very first-round pick next April.

It's all fine and dandy to play to win every week; that's a philosophy we generally endorse. But it's not practical in this matter.

The Dolphins could be staring at the possibility of being to take either Matt Ryan of Boston College or Brian Brohm of Louisville or Andre Woodson of Kentucky with a top 10 pick, and they flat-out can't afford to pass up all three IF Beck isn't going to pan out.

In an ideal world, the Dolphins wouldn't have to force the issue with Beck to see what he's got. But as the first half of the season painfully showed, the Dolphins are living in far from an ideal world.

It is imperative that they see what they have in Beck before next year's draft, and not all of those answers will come in practice.

Sure, he's going to struggle at times and putting him in instead of the more experienced Lemon might cost the Dolphins a game, maybe two. So what?

What's the difference between going 1-15 and 3-13?

Besides, who's to say Beck doesn't come in and play better than Lemon.

We've already seen what Lemon can and can't do, and the bottom line on him as a quarterback is that barring a dramatic and unforeseen breakthrough, he'll always be backup material.

We've seen enough evidence already. The Dolphins obviously have as well, otherwise they wouldn't have drafted Beck in the second round this past April to begin with.

They drafted Beck because they believed he would be their quarterback of the future. Because he was a second-round pick, Beck is less of a lock to become a stud than either Ryan, Brohm or Woodson.

It would be damaging to the Dolphins' future if they were wrong about Beck. It would be doubly damaging if they were wrong but didn't find out until after next year's draft, after taking a pass on a quarterback at the top of next year's first round.

That should be override any other consideration when it comes to the quarterback decision.

Too soon to find out if Beck can be the quarterback of the future? Not at all. In fact, the time is just right.


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