QB Decision Not Coming Soon

Fans looking for a quick resolution to the Dolphins' quarterback competition are going to have to arm themselves with patience. Coach Tony Sparano said Friday he had no timetable for a decision and two of his offensive assistant coaches said it was too early to rank the three quarterbacks on the roster.

"When you have a quarterback competition, I think you know when you know, if that makes sense. You've got to see all the information unwind. You've got to see it in games, you've got to see what they do in critical situations, and then you get a pretty good feel and that's the way you go.

"But I don't think you can say, hey, on Aug. 3 this is going to be where we're going to make this quarterback deal. Not sure you get all your questions answered at that point. There's a lot of questions that have to be answered when you're making a decision on a quarterback. Some may happen very fast, some may take a little bit more time. We'll have to see how the preseason goes and how these training camps get on."

Offensive coordinator Dan Henning said the Dolphins had "three good candidates" in Josh McCown, John Beck and Chad Henne.

Beck and McCown have been alternating working with the first-team offense during the spring, while Henne had some catching up to do after only joining the team in late April after the draft.

The Dolphins are only carrying three quarterbacks on their roster at this time of year, which is rather unusual. But quarterbacks coach David Lee says it's a tribute to the intelligence of those guys.

"All three are very bright, and all three have a great work ethic," Lee said. "It's unusual that all three are bright and all have those kind of work habits. But they do, and it's a great credit to them. I think it's why we've been able to accelerate ourselves offensively and look fairly sharp from time to time."

But what's really going to matter is how the quarterbacks perform in games, Lee said.

"I really believe this in my heart, you evaluate a quarterback once he gets in a game, there's people in the stands and they're cursing at him and throwing ice, and that FOX camera is running over his head in the huddle," Lee said. "That's when you've got to evaluate the quarterback.

"Now, this (minicamp) is important. We're watching them and evaluating them daily. But I've had guys that could really practice and get into games and spit out the bit. I've never forgotten those guys, so with that, we've got to get these guys to a game and let them play before we go naming 1-2 and 3."

And the bottom line for Sparano is there's no rush to name that No. 1 guy.

"Not if it's the right decision and not if it takes that long to make the best decision," he said. "I mean, in a perfect situation you'd like your quarterback to be behind the offensive line and to be in the first huddle as soon as maybe you can get that done in the preseason, but I've been involved in those things before, I've been involved in some of those situations in Dallas. It's taken time to play itself out to make the right decision."

Minicamp notes: DE Randy Starks missed practice on Friday because of an excused absence. Sparano said he knew about it when the Dolphins signed Starks. ... The injury to CB Michael Lehan doesn't appear to be severe. There was no fracture or ligament damage to Lehan's right ankle, and Sparano said he was "hopeful" Lehan would be ready for the start of training camp.


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