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The Aftermath...

For the first time in 2007, we get to look at "the aftermath" of a Dolphins victory!  I'm still flying high from this win, to tell you the truth.  I never thought one win in a terrible season could be as refreshing as this one has been.  And again, on this site this week, we'll have to talk a little bit about some hot-button topics like Cam Cameron's future or Cleo Lemon's play as a starter.  But whatever criticism I personally put on Cam or Cleo or whoever else, make no mistake about one thing:  On that fateful Sunday two days ago, I loved each and every player and coach on that field.  Onto some Dolphin nuggets:

As like most of you, I usually read Armando Salguero's stuff and take it with a grain of salt.  A lot of times, I think Armando just says things to stir up some controversy or to attract attention to him rather than the other south Florida sports writers.  But he does pose some interesting questions in his latest blog entry.  He ponders if this win changes anything.  And I think many of us are wondering this.  Below is the most interesting, in my opinion, of the 3 questions he brings up:

What to do at quarterback? Even going into yesterday's game, Cam Cameron was prepared to turn the job back to John Beck if Cleo Lemon struggled and turned the ball over. Now Lemon will be the starter against New England. But what does the coach do beyond that? If Lemon can't win in New England, which is likely, does he give Beck one last try in the season-finale? Does he give the rookie one last chance to build some of his confidence back going into 2008? And does Lemon's 300-plus-yard performance win him the opportunity to get re-signed by the Dolphins and compete for the starting job next year -- even though team people were privately admitting only days ago that Lemon is not the long-term answer?

First, it's interesting that Cam was ready to turn back to Beck if Cleo struggled.  That's really the first I've heard of this, at least publicly.  But Cleo did play well on Sunday.  You can't argue that.  Was he helped by some dropped interceptions and some other various lucky things?  Of course.  But you know what?  Most NFL QBs are helped by luck at some point during a season.  And considering how unlucky this team has been, it was about time we got some breaks.  So Cleo, in my opinion, definitely earned another start.  But what if Cleo struggles in New England and the game gets out of hand by, say, the 4th quarter?  Does Cameron decide to throw Beck into the fire and let him get some more experience against a top defense?  To be honest, maybe the Patriots, if they have a big lead in the 4th quarter, will even pull some of their defensive stars.  That makes inserting Beck even more tempting.  And then what about week 17 at home against a Cincinncati team that is struggling as much as that Ravens team has been the past few weeks?  One might say Cleo should start these games and play them in full so that the Dolphins can try and evaluate him and decide if they want to bring him back in 2008.  Others think John should get some more experience in 2007 and not waste time by starting Cleo, especially in week 17.

Where do I stand?  I think Cleo definitely earned another start and he does indeed give this team the best chance of success at New England next week.  And even if Cleo struggles and the Pats are killing the Dolphins, I'd still prefer to keep John on the bench.  The only way I'd want to see John out there next week would be if the Pats get a big lead and decide to pull some of their defensive stars.  Then maybe I'd insert Beck for a few series.  But in week 17, I see no reason why Beck shouldn't be the starting quarterback.  Cincinnati's defense is not very good and it might be a great way for John to build back sone confidence heading into a very important offseason.  The only way I'd really accept having Cleo start in week 17 is if he can, in some inexplicable way, lead the Dolphins to a win over the Patriots.  If he does that (which is about as likely as a snowstorm in Miami), then he's earned that final start in week 17.  Otherwise, I say let John start in week 17 and let him, hopefully, build up some confidence heading into 2008.

The one other interesting question that Armando poses is if this one win changes anything for Cam Cameron's future.  I personally don't think it saves Cam's job.  But I do think this win means Cam isn't a sure bet to be fired.  If he had gone 0-16, I do think he was gone.  So now it's just up in the air more than it was a few days ago.  But to say he deserves to come back because he won a game is crazy.  But again, I'll reserve judgement on Cam this week because his tema put forth a big effort and won.  Now I want to see how this team plays in these next 2 weeks before making my opinion of Cam's future public.

Omar Kelly begins one of his blog posts with the following paragraph:

Jason Taylor and Dom Capers had one of those slow motion exchanges you only see at the airport when family members are reunited. The Dolphins franchise player and its defensive coordinator were so elated by the franchise's first victory in over a year that mere words wouldn't do.

That's a lovely picture, isn't it?  Well, according to ProFootballTalk, the situation isn't quite as nice as Kelly leads us to believe.  PFT reports that "there's talk in league circles that Dolphins defensive coordinator Dom Capers is looking to get out of town."  That's a little hard to believe, though, considering Capers is the NFL's highest paid coordinator.  But, usually, when Mike Florio reports something, there is some truth to it.  So you would have to wonder if Dom does really want out.  And if he does, is it that big of a deal?  A lot of fans have called for Capers' head at some point this year anyway.  However, I do still believe that Dom is one of the NFL's top defensive minds and I don't really see a replacement out there who would be a better option than Dom.  We'll have to wait and see how this situation develops as the offseason approaches.

I just wanted to quickly point out one thing that caught my attention from Cam's "day after" press conference yesterday.  He really didn't spend too much time talking abou how great it was to finally win a game.  In fact, he opened the press conference by talking about next week's game against the Patriots, stating, "Obviously, we have a tough challenge next week."  That was very refreshing and is definitely a "+1" in the "positive column" for Cameron.  I could have easily seen Cam come into that press conference and talk about what a relief that one win was.  I could have seen him laughing and/or joking with the media.  Instead, he pointed out how focused they already are on the Patriots.  That's a good sign.  

And with that, here's how I will close every post this week.  Why?  Because we all need to keep the faith.  Miracles do happen once in a while!

12/23/07: YOU GOTTA BELIEVE!!!