Adam Caplan VIP Q&A Column

While the Dolphins enjoy some down time before the start of training camp next month, we checked in with NFL expert Adam Caplan to get his thoughts on a variety of Dolphins-related topics -- everything from the quarterback battle to new expectations for Joey Porter to the Jason Taylor situation.

Q. Who do you think will emerge as the starting quarterback for the Dolphins, and why?

AC: Josh McCown should have a small edge for a few reasons. From what I understand, the coaching staff was tinkering with John Beck's release point throughout the offseason and he really didn't prove much to anyone last season that he could hold down the job.

McCown has started 41 games in his career and has a stronger arm. While he's a bit turnover-prone, he's much better suited to handle the job now than Beck.

As for Chad Henne, he's seen more as the starter of the future.

Q. Do you believe Jason Taylor will be playing for the Dolphins in 2008; and, if not, where do you think he'll wind up?

AC: There's a 75 percent chance that Taylor will play for the Dolphins this season. While Miami might be unrealistic that Taylor should yield a first-round pick, he should still have two solid years left in him.

No team has offered Miami anything close to what they want in compensation, so barring anything unforeseen, he'll be a Dolphin this season.

The one thing that could happen is a team that suffers an injury at defensive end could make a decent offer during the regular season.

Q. Who do you blame in the whole Taylor episode?

AC: Probably more the front office than Taylor. While head coach Tony Sparano was in constant contact with Taylor since he took over the job (that's according to Taylor), they should have gotten assurances that he was going to report to the OTAs. And if they couldn't get any, they should have been more aggressive in trying to deal him away.

The communication obviously wasn't good enough. If it was, the ugliness of the situation could have been avoided or lessened to a certain degree.

Q. How good can Ricky Williams be after basically playing one NFL game over the last two seasons?

AC: While he's 31, Williams hasn't suffered the kind of wear and tear that he went through earlier in his career. He simply hasn't gotten the kind of work that can shorten a back's career. But asking him to have to start if Ronnie Brown can't play is probably a stretch. The front office would be better suited if they signed one more veteran to provide depth at the position just to be on the safe side.

Q. How good of an offensive lineman will Jake Long become, and was his drafting the beginning of the building of a dominant offensive line?

AC: While Long probably is better off on the right side, he still could be a solid player on the left. It's going to be more of a mind-set than anything else for him since he played on the right side in college. Teaming him with LG Justin Smiley and C Samson Satele has the makings of a solid offensive line. The right side is still a concern.

Q. Just how weak is the Dolphins receiving corps?

AC: Probably one of the worst in the league. They don't have one solid starter and most of them are unproven.

Ted Ginn is more of a developmental receiver and while he got meaningful playing time last season, he has a long way to go.

Ernest Wilford is an outstanding blocking receiver and he's a big target, but he doesn't run well. He would be a backup on most teams.

Derek Hagan still hasn't come close to realizing his high potential and he may never get there.

Q. How long do you think it will take Bill Parcells, Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano to make the Dolphins contenders, as in return to the playoffs?

AC: The hope is that in Year 3 they will challenge for a wild-card spot. The quarterback situation should be well developed by then, as should the offensive line.

The defense, though, has some issues.

Q. There was a report in South Florida that veteran kicker Jay Feely's job might be in jeopardy because of his open and forthcoming nature with the media; do you actually believe the Dolphins would cut someone just for that reason?

AC: Parcells isn't one to put up with players who spout off to the media and since he has more control with Miami than he ever had in Dallas, you could see them bring in more competition for Feely. Or at the very least, send him some kind of message.

Q. How much better can Joey Porter be for the Dolphins if he's used in more of an attacking mode, the way he was in Pittsburgh?

AC: Keep in mind he dealt with a shoulder problem all of last season, so his game really suffered as a result. According to a player who went up against him, Porter looked like a shell of his former self on tape. Teams had no problems running at him or holding up against him in pass rush situations.

The guess here is that the coaching staff will use more of a 3-4 defensive scheme this season, which plays more to Porter's pass-rushing strength.

Q. Is the secondary good enough to win?

AC: While it's very average, they played well at times as a unit last season. Top-end talent, though, is lacking at safety and cornerback, which is why the inconsistency will be there again. But an improved and more consistent pass rush would help.

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