Beck Working Hard

Quarterback John Beck lost two big supporters when Coach Cam Cameron and GM Randy Mueller were let go after last season, but he's working overtime this spring to impress the Dolphins' new regime. That really shouldn't come as a surprise given Beck's comment to Jason Taylor right after last season's regular season finale: "I'm going to work hard in the offseason. I'm not going to let you down."

Based on the comments of head coach Tony Sparano at the owners meetings, working hard is exactly what Beck has been doing.

"He's a hard worker," Sparano said. "He's done an awful lot right now in the offseason putting time in. He's probably thrown 1,000 balls a week, somewhere around there."

Sparano said the Dolphins coaches have been working with Beck on his release, which has been lower than ideal and led to several passes being batted down last season.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the only problem Beck encountered as a rookie. That led to Beck failing to get the offense in the end zone in his four starts, although he had a touchdown pass and a touchdown run in the finale against Cincinnati.

"We're trying to get the game to slow down for him," Sparano said. "We haven't had as much opportunity as we'd have liked to spend time with him in the meeting room and the classroom right now. But we want to get the game to slow down for him when he gets out to the line of scrimmage. Make it as simple as we can."

Josh McCown was signed as a free agent this offseason, and the assumption has been that he will be the starting quarterback in 2008 unless another veteran is acquired.

Sparano certainly isn't ready to make that declaration. What he wants to see is good competition, and that includes Beck.

One thing Sparano likes about Beck, in addition to his work ethic, is his demeanor.

"I do see that confidence in him, and what I also see is that real solid competitor," the coach said. "We brought Josh in and Josh is a competitor as well. Both of those guys know they are going to be competing for a job. That's been very clear to them and spelled out that way. I see John competing, and ready to compete. I like that.

"It's important for whoever the quarterback is for the Miami Dolphins down the road to be the guy that shows his teammates he's going to be that type of competitor. Josh or John, either one of them, at the end of this thing they'll have earned it."

It's entirely possible that McCown and Beck will be joined on the roster by a quarterback the Dolphins select in this year's draft, although it remains unlikely that will be Matt Ryan at No. 1 overall.

Sparano was non-committal about the possibility of drafting a quarterback, saying it was something the Dolphins would have to consider, but he did say he likes what the team has done at the position.

"We feel like we helped ourselves tremendously at the position by bringing in Josh and by watching all the tape that John had at the end of the year, and the way John ended the year being able to move the team a couple of times and score some touchdowns that way is a positive," Sparano said. "It remains to be seen right now until we get out on the field and watch him compete and move our team on whether or not we have all the answers, but we feel like we've helped ourselves a lot and gotten a lot closer."

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