MORE ON CAM
Before we look at what others are saying following this 3-0 loss to Pittsburgh, I wanted to just talk about Cam for a second. There's been a lot of debate on this site about Cam and whether or not he should return next year. But that isn't what I want to talk about. Instead, I want to just point out something that we really haven't talked about on this site. Has anyone realized how great the effort still is from this team despite their record? Record aside, this team is still putting forth a great effort week in and week out. And I think a lot (but not all) of the credit for that has to go to Cam Cameron and his staff. To his credit, he's holding this team together very well despite the losses and the injuries. There have been many times after a loss where I thought we could see this team fall apart in the locker room. But Cam has not let that happen. If nothing else, it's a credit to Cam's character that he's been able (as a rookie head coach) to keep this team together. Love him or hate him, you can't argue the fact that he's done a relatively good job in this aspect of the game. Sure it helps to have guys like Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas, but even so, Cam still gets "matty points" for some of this.
In his latest article, Ethan Skolnick talks about John Beck and tells us of a conversation he had with Boomer Esiason. Here's some of the excellent article:
"How can you evaluate anybody in these conditions?" former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason asked at halftime, after stepping out of his radio analyst's chair where he had watched the scary sights. "The conditions aren't fair for any quarterback, let alone a rookie quarterback. It's bad enough he had to play Philadelphia last week, but he's got to play Pittsburgh in this. As long as he doesn't make the big error, it's OK."
He didn't excel, going an eighth straight quarter without an offensive score. But he didn't crack, getting through only one turnover, a fumble.
That will have to serve as evaluation enough. That will have to qualify as success.
Do not expect, or ask, the Dolphins to draft another quarterback early next April. He needs a full training camp, and a full season, as the starter. And if he fails next season, the Dolphins will struggle enough to select early enough in 2009 to grab one of the passers certain to be attractive and available then.
So no final determination of Beck should, or can, be made this season.
"It's too early," Esiason said. "Heck, Eli Manning's played 50 games, and he threw four interceptions [Sunday] and looked like he's lost. And Peyton Manning's played more than 100 games, and he threw six interceptions against San Diego and he looked like he was lost."
But you still want to see signs. "You don't know how a team is going to respond to him," Esiason said.
Monday night, the team responded reasonably well at times. Most importantly, Beck responded reasonably well to adverse situations.
Also keep in mind that the one turnover was on a 4th down play where Beck likely remained in the pocket longer because he had to try and make a play. Even if John holds onto the ball following the sack, Pittsburgh would have taken over. So, if anything, that fumble is like 0.5 turnovers.
Boomer makes good points in saying it's nearly impossible to evaluate John. And even after his 7 games in 2007 are over, it'll be way too early to evaluate him. But one thing I feel very confident about now is that Beck is not going to be a bad quarterback. He's not going to be Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, or Cade McNown. And to me, that's more than enough to make me confident in not drafting a QB early in next April's draft. In fact, call me an optimist, but I got a good feeling that these next 2 games will be John's two early breakout games (relatively speaking). By breakout, I mean something like completing 62% of his passes for 450 yards, throwing 2 or 3 touchdowns and throwing 1 interception at most (those figures are for the 2 games combined...not 450 yards in each game). And if he does that, I'd feel very confident that John is who I think he is (thank you Dennis Green for that line).
LOOKING BACK AT PREGAME THOUGHTS ON BECK
Omar Kelly, of the Sun-Sentinel, wrote a blog entry on Monday afternoon talking about what he would be looking to see from John Beck on Monday night. Let's look back at what he said and then see if John gets a passing grade:
The Steelers aggressive 3-4 zone blitzing scheme will likely confuse Beck, and rough him up, but it will likely provide Dolphin fans a barometer for how bad it can get.
How many times will he be sacked? Can he operate in a hostile environment with bullets flying everywhere, or will he be forced into turnovers. Do the coaches trust him enough to open up the offense when the running game clearly goes nowhere?
Sure, Beck was sacked 4 times and did lose a fumble. But he did complete nearly 61% of his passes and again did not throw an interception. If this is rock bottom and as bad as it gets for John, I think we'd all be ecstatic. John showed that he can definitely handle hostile environments and adverse weather conditions. He showed he can make a good throw with a defender closing on him for a big hit. The only part of Omar's questioned that went unanswered or were negatively answered would be if the coaching staff trusts John enough to open up the offense. We all know the offense wasn't opened up on Monday night, but that could be because of the weather. I think we'll find out more about this trust issue and opening the offense up a bit on Sunday when the Dolphins return home to face the hated Jets. But for John, so far, so good.
Here's what some of the players had to say about the condition of the field in Pittsburgh following that slop-fest that happen to be a football game:
"There were a few times I even lost a cleat out there just trying to move and your foot's stuck. There were sometimes I was walking up to the line of scrimmage just trying to matt the stuff down." - John Beck
"This is the worst field we played on, worse than London. This was like a swamp, playing in the Everglades." - Donnie Spragan
"It was like we were playing the game on the beach, stuck in the mud every step. There were only certain things you could do." - Joey Porter
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Lost in all of this talk about Beck, Ricky, Cameron, and the field was that Derrick Pope, who was mysteriously hospitalized on Saturday, played in this game. So why was Pope in the hospital? It was apparently due to some Japanese food he ate on Friday night. Here's some advice from Pope:
Good advice, Derrick.