Before the start of the free agency signing period on Feb. 28, we will examine every position on the Dolphins, grade each player's performance in the 2002 season and evaluate the prospects for the 2003 season. We begin this series with the quarterbacks.


Jay Fiedler — Fiedler continued to establish himself as a solid NFL starter, but also continued to have problems with injuries as he missed six started because of a thumb injury. In his 10 starts, Fiedler compiled an impressive 7-3 record and made many more good plays than bad plays. But, as Dolphins fans know, that still isn't good enough for a lot of the team's supporters, who are still clamoring for a bigger-name quarterback. The bottom line is that Fiedler, with few exceptions, had a good 2002 season.

Grade: B+

Ray Lucas — Lucas got his big chance when Fiedler was injured against Denver, and he quite frankly blew it. He singlehandedly cost the Dolphins the game against Buffalo, and the coaching staff felt so hamstrung with him the next two games against the Packers and Jets that the offense never attacked. In his defense, Lucas did come back with solid performances in the victories over Baltimore and San Diego, but he couldn't get anything done in the wind at Buffalo. Besides, the damage already had been done.

Grade: D

Sage Rosenfels — Acquired in a trade with Washington, Rosenfels made a couple of appearances during the season, but he was obvious he wasn't ready to handle much. It wouldn't be fair to judge him too harshly, but it's also clear this guy needs some work.

Grade: C


Accept this: Jay Fiedler again will be the starting quarterback, although it's possible the two backups could be different.

The Dolphins clearly will look to upgrade the No. 2 spot after Lucas let them down last season. The trick is finding a veteran out there who is willing to come in as a backup.

The names of Jake Plummer, Kordell Stewart and Brian Griese have been mentioned, but Plummer and Stewart likely won't settle for coming in as backups. Griese is a possibility if he has problems finding a team after he is released by Denver, which almost is a foregone conclusion.

New Orleans backup Jake Delhomme is scheduled to be a free agent, as is Koy Detmer of Philadelphia, and those are two players the Dolphins might go after.

The Dolphins also could wind up drafting a quarterback at some point, but it's doubtful they'd use their second-round pick on that position.

Rosenfels could be back next season, although it's doubtful the Dolphins trust him enough at this point to make him their No. 2 quarterback.

One thing is certain: This position should be fun to watch in the offseason.

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