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Mid-Week Nuggets

There has been a lot of attention put on the Dolphins' offensive line, and for good reason.  These big men up front hold the key to the success of this offense.  If they don't come together, this offense is likely to crumble.  Along this line, there have been some interesting battles and developments, but perhaps none is bigger than the battle for the right tackle job.  Everyone thought it was L.J. Shelton's job to lose, but entering camp, it was Anthony Alabi working with the first team.  Then we found out it may have been Shelton's weight holding him back.

Well it seems Shelton is making a strong push for the starting job now.  According to reports, he's down in the 330 pound area, which is what his target weight was.  And I personally think it says a lot about Shelton's character the way he's handled this situation.  He didn't mope.  He didn't complain.  He worked his ass off and now he's back in contention to start.  Here's what Cam says of Shelton:

"He's busting his rear end, doing everything he can do to be the best player he can be. He is responding like a pro and I'm very pleased with his response. But he's got some work ahead of him."

Here's what Shelton says of this battle:

"It's a challenge, but you have to deal with adversity. Instead of going into the tank, I've worked that much harder. I think I've become a better player throughout training camp. I've still got a long ways to go, but having that push, that competition there for me has made me a better player."

It's a good sign that while both Cam and L.J. agree he's improved, they also both agree that he still has room for improvement.  And I think this week, and especially Saturday's game against Tampa Bay, is going to go a long way towards deciding who gets the starting RT gig.  If I was a betting man, I'd say Shelton reclaims his job.  But may the best man win.

I need to quickly address two things that are quarterback related.  First, many are questioning how Cam could name Trent Green the starter at this point, especially because some think Cleo Lemon has out performed Trent on the field.  But I think some people are having trouble fully understanding the decision.  So here's my two cents.

Some will say that Trent won this job even before he became a Miami Dolphin.  Thay may be true, as it was never likely Green would not start after everything the team went through to get him this past spring.  But that fact aside, there are 2 important aspects that some people might not be fully understanding.  First of all, a coach needs to be comfortable with his quarterback.  And while Cam has a more recent history with Cleo, he clearly trusts Trent more to lead this offense.  And why shouldn't he?  He's a former pro-bowler with tons of experience, while Cleo has started just 1 game in his career.  Secondly, a QB must be the leader of the offense.  He must have the trust and respect of his teammates.  He must be able to point out the mistakes of his teammates.  Trent Green has that right now.  Does Cleo Lemon?  Considering Az Hakim recently called him "Leo Clemens" when talking about Lemon, I'd have to say no.  Trent's the right guy for the job.  I'm certain of that.

Quickly, I also wanted to touch on John Beck for a second.  I, like many of you, can't wait to see when Beck gets a shot to start a regular season game.  I think he's the real deal and is exactly what this franchise has been searching for.  But let's face it: we are all going to have to wait.  As much as it pains me to say this, there's only a very small chance Beck sees the field this season and even a smaller chance, if any at all, that he'll start a game.  It just wouldn't make sense considering how poor this offensive line might be.  Do you really want our starting QB of the future to get the crap kicked out of him by defenders?  Did you guys see how that worked out with Patrick Ramsey in Washington?  He got pounded, lost his confidence, and is now a backup.  We can't let that happen to Beck.

Also, keep in mind that Cameron has had 2 other rookie QBs under his coaching, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers.  Neither started a single game their rookie year.  Brees got in one game then started all the next year.  Rivers saw action in 2 games in each of his first 2 years until starting all his third year (last year).  And let's just say Cam's method has proven to be successful.  I'd love to see Beck's first season as a full-time starter end with the numbers Rivers put up in SD last year (3,300 yds, 22 TDs, 9 Ints, 92 QB rating).  So let's all try to have patience.  And when Beck's time finally does come, hopefully he's put into a situation in which he can succeed for years to come.