It's Friday, and that means we're back with another tour of the AFC East. Each week, we'll be talking to bloggers covering the Buffalo Bills' fiercest rivals - their divisional opponents. We'll wrap up today's trio of interviews by diving into yet another quarterback controversy; this time, we're talking Dolphins quarterbacks with Matty I of The Phinsider:
The Phinsider: Well here's the situation as it stands right now. Despite the national media (ESPN, NFLN, SI.com, etc…) wanting you to think that Chad Henne (because he was drafted by this regime) could start this season, it's not going to happen. So don't even waste time discussing it. He's been working as the team's 3rd quarterback in mini-camp and OTAs, so barring major injury issues, I don't think Henne sees the field in the regular season in 2008.
As for the other two, both Beck and McCown are alternating days with the 1st team. To open OTAs, Beck was with the 1st team. The next practice, it was McCown. So nobody right now has a clear advantage, despite some in the South Florida media reporting McCown has a leg up because of his "experience."
When all is said and done, I think the player I want to win the job will be the one that does indeed win it to open the season: John Beck. Tony Sparano already said that he's looking at all the players with a clean slate, so last season's struggles mean nothing. This off-season, nobody has probably outworked John. He's been hitting the weight room, putting on 15 or so pounds of muscle to help him make it through a 16 game season, and has been in Davie all winter and spring working with new QB coach David Lee. Most importantly, he's looked the best throwing the ball out of the 3 so far in the few practices that have taken place.
I've already put my reputation on the line over on my site by saying this, and I'll say it again: come September 7 against the Jets, it will be John Beck under center. Oh, and he'll play relatively well, too.
Let me just say this - I, for one, am hoping John Beck is the victor of this competition as well. Buffalo had a lot of trouble defending Cleo Lemon-led Dolphin drives last season (how embarrassing is that?), but the Bills' makeshift defense had Beck flustered beyond belief in a December rout of the Dolphins in Buffalo. I haven't seen a quarterback play that poorly since, unfortunately, Rob Johnson donned a Bills uni. I actually think that the "clean slate" and swapping of first-team reps at this point between Beck and McCown is more of a PR move to promote competition than an actual competition; Miami has an agenda, and I don't think Beck is part of it long-term. I'll go with McCown as the opening day starter.
As for Henne, I thought he was the most NFL-ready passer outside of Brian Brohm entering the draft, and I think he's clearly the future of that position in Miami. Henne may start the season as the #3 QB, but he's the heir apparent - and if McCown wins the starting job and falters, which isn't exactly tenuous prognosticating, my guess is that Henne gets the call before Beck once the Dolphins hit a certain point in the season. I feel confident that he'll see the field by the end of '08.
We'll wrap up the entire activity of this week's version of Around the AFC East later on this evening.