Rookie Ruin

O, BY THE WAY

Last Word

December 12, 2007|By BILL ORDINE

As miserable as things are in Baltimore this NFL season, they are four times worse in Miami ... four times as in the 0-13 Dolphins have four fewer wins. The percentage comparison may not be exactly mathematically sound, but you get my drift.

So let's look in on the Dolphins -- a team that the 4-9 Ravens desperately need to beat to get out of this season with at least a shred of respectability.

Miami has a rookie quarterback who was pressed into service as the starter after the team fell to 0-9. The fans clamored for it, and they got what they wanted. After all, things couldn't get worse.

Well, they did -- at least for John Beck. The rookie from Brigham Young has yet to lead the team to a touchdown and got yanked in a debacle at Buffalo on Sunday after just eight snaps. The second-round draft pick's four starts as the latest heir to Dan Marino have been like the rest of the Dolphins' season -- a disaster.

In a pummeling administered by the Bills, Miami coach Cam Cameron dragged Beck from the wreckage and sent in Cleo Lemon. Cameron apparently will be starting Lemon against the Ravens.

Now, the sports literati in South Florida wonder whether Beck has been shattered by it all, because his play clearly regressed.

In an article at the beginning of the week, Palm Beach Post columnist Greg Stoda wrote:

"The Dolphins had no business making John Beck their starting quarterback in the first place -- he was working with a deck stacked against him -- but they did so, anyway.

"Now, a 0-9 record has dissolved into the abject misery of a 0-13 mark.

"The latest installment came Sunday afternoon in Ralph Wilson Stadium when Buffalo handed the Dolphins a 38-17 defeat and ran Beck out of his position.

"How deeply has the rookie quarterback been damaged?

"Have the Dolphins ruined Beck by testing him in too many circumstances predictable for their potential for failure?"

So, as the Troy Smith debate continues in these parts with some believing that it's time to give the Heisman Trophy-winning rookie quarterback a shot rather than continue with the up-and-down Kyle Boller, perhaps there's something instructive to be learned from experiences elsewhere.

bill.ordine@baltsun.com

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