THE QB QUANDARY

It's a topic that simply will no go away, no matter what Jay Fiedler does. A good portion of talk show callers simply don't want him as the starting quarterback for the Dolphins. But better accept the fact that he's not going anywhere — at least not now.

There have been stories that have surfaced suggesting the Dolphins are intrigued by the possibility of bringing in a Jake Plummer, a Kordell Stewart or a Brian Griese this offseason.

Plummer is an unrestricted free agent, while Stewart and Griese are expected to be released by Pittsburgh and Denver, respectively.

First off, forget about Plummer because he's going to be looking for a starting job and the Dolphins aren't about to guarantee him that.

Actually, unless he falls flat on his face or something goes physically wrong, Fiedler will be the starting quarterback again in 2003 — and he should be.

What the Dolphins are in the market for is a backup who represents an upgrade over Ray Lucas. While Coach Dave Wannstedt made it a point to say Lucas improved as the weeks went on this past season, it's clear his poor performance before then played a big role in the Dolphins missing the playoffs.

So what about Stewart and/or Griese? Well, Stewart also fancies himself as a starting quarterback, but he would represent a clear upgrade over Lucas. Remember that Stewart went to the Pro Bowl after the 2001 season.

As for Griese, he doesn't exactly have the best of reputations and while he is an upgrade over Lucas, is he worth bringing in as a backup? That's a legitimate question, one the Dolphins have to think long and hard about.

Say what you want about Lucas, but he's a great team guy.

Again, what the Dolphins need is a solid backup for Fiedler. Fiedler has a very good season in 2002, even though he did miss some throws, such as a wide open James McKnight in the season finale at New England.

The biggest concern with Fiedler has been his tendency to get injured. At some point, the Dolphins may have to decide he's not sturdy enough and may want to look elsewhere for a starting quarterback.

But he deserves another shot as the starter, regardless of what some fans might think.


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